The South Dakota State Historical Society’s May “History Talks” series features Tempe Javitz. Javitz is the author of the recently released South Dakota Historical Society Press book, “Bighorn Visions: The Photography of Jessamine Spears Johnson.” A Bighorn rancher and photographer, Johnson’s portfolio is the focus of “Bighorn Visions,” which is written by her granddaughter, Tempe Javitz.
This free virtual event will be held Thursday, May 11, at 7 p.m. (CT) via Zoom. To register, visit sdhsf.org/events.
Born in 1886 to pioneer parents on the eastern front of the Bighorn Mountains, Jessamine Spear Johnson would grow up to document many of the dramatic changes that this region would see over the next century. After first picking up a camera at the age of 11, Johnson developed into a uniquely gifted artist, all while helping manage the family ranch. Through her photography, Johnson captured the rapid advancements occurring around her, especially from the 1910s through the 1940s.
During these years, a burgeoning dude ranch industry brought new visitors to the remote area, and technological changes reshaped the nature of work. At the same time, the Crow and Cheyenne in the region struggled with being confined to reservations as they sought new livelihoods to support their families, while maintaining old traditions and establishing new ones.
“History Talks” is a monthly program of the South Dakota Historical Society Press and the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation.
“Bighorn Visions: The Photography of Jessamine Spear Johnson” may be ordered for $29.95, plus shipping and tax, at sdhspress.com. For more information about the South Dakota Historical Society Press and its books, please visit sdhspress.com and follow @sdhspress on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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, is headquartered at two locations in Pierre. Administration, Press, Foundation, and Historic Preservation are in the Becker-Hansen Building. Museum and Archives are in the Northridge Plaza. For questions or memberships, call (605) 773-3458 or visit history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.