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History of Mount Rushmore to be Commemorated at Book Club Meeting

A unique look at the history of Mount Rushmore National Memorial will be presented at the May meeting of the History and Heritage Book Club.

Award-winning author Jean L.S. Patrick of Mitchell will tell how she used archival photographs and letters in the making of “Mount Rushmore Memories” at 7 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, May 10, at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

“The program commemorates the 75th anniversary of the completion of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service,” said Michael Lewis, president of the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation. The foundation is the nonprofit fundraising partner of the South Dakota State Historical Society and the sponsor of the History and Heritage Book Club. “People are invited to share their memories and insights about our national memorial during the meeting.”

Patrick will also provide an inside look at her research and writing methods. People are welcome to bring their questions, especially about memoir writing and preserving family history.

Everyone is welcome to attend the free program, made possible by a grant from the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Mount Rushmore Memories” features historic photos and more than 100 comments from people about what Mount Rushmore means to them.

“This book affirmed to me that Mount Rushmore isn’t just a story about the stone faces, but the story of living faces,” Patrick said. “Everyone who has visited Mount Rushmore has a different story, and most often, it’s about the people they were with when they were visiting the carving. This in itself is inspiring. It also made me think about the importance of preserving personal memories.”

A page was added at the end of “Mount Rushmore Memories” for people to add their own photo and memory about Mount Rushmore.

“Mount Rushmore Memories” is a book that many adults are enjoying, but Patrick has also written three books about Mount Rushmore for young people: “Who Carved the Mountain? The Story of Mount Rushmore,” “Face to Face with Mount Rushmore” and “Four Famous Faces.”

“I never tire of visiting Mount Rushmore. Part of it is seeing the sculpture in different seasons and at different times of the day,” Patrick said. “But I also love to ‘people watch’ at Mount Rushmore and experience the combination of hush and excitement on the observation deck. I’m also amazed at how many different responses people have to Mount Rushmore. Since the carving is a piece of art, it’s only natural that it would provoke a variety of reactions.”

“Mount Rushmore Memories” and several of Patrick’s other books are available at the Heritage Store at the Cultural Heritage Center.

Call (605) 773-6006 for more information about the program.