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Joseph Bottum To Headline South Dakota’s Annual History Conference

South Dakota native and author Joseph Bottum will be the featured speaker at this year’s South Dakota State Historical Society’s 2023 History Conference and Governor’s Awards for History. The event will take place April 21-22, at the Pierre Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center.

Bottum is a faculty member at Dakota State University looking into the ethical dimensions of the computer revolution. Born in Vermillion and raised in Pierre, he has philosophy degrees from Georgetown University and Boston College, served as an editor for “The Weekly Standard,” “First Things,” and has published several books on poetry, religion, and numerous essays on American culture. He recently delivered the graduation poem at Princeton University. Bottum will speak at the Saturday afternoon luncheon about how history and place provide our moral compass as a society.

“Great Faces – Great Places: History Makers in South Dakota,” is the theme of this year’s conference. The event will bring in speakers from across the United States and South Dakota to share about some of the most influential and interesting people of South Dakota’s past. Sessions will center on Mattie Goff Newcombe, Casey Tibbs, Oscar Howe, women suffragists, Deadwood’s Chinatown, the Lower Brule Agency House at Oacoma, Oscar Micheaux, Ben Reifel, and Gertrude Simmons Bonnin.

Dr. Ben Jones, the state historian and director of the South Dakota State Historical Society, says, “I look forward to the presentations and the awards luncheon. It’s always fun to celebrate what people are doing in our state to advance more and better history.”

A reception at the American Legion cabin on Friday, April 21, will be a time for socializing and networking and will include food, beverage, and a presentation on the history of the cabin, recently added to the National Register of Historic places.

Registration is open now and can be found at The early bird discount is available until March 31. Attendees can purchase a full registration, which includes both lunches, the Friday night reception, and all presentations, or they can pick and choose which day and events they would like to attend. The conference will be held in person. Each presentation and the awards luncheon will be available as a recording after the conference for members of the South Dakota State Historical Society.

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution since 2013, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing, and administrative/development offices. For questions or memberships, call 605-773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.