By Travis Gulbrandson
South Dakota’s longest-serving governor is being remembered in an exhibit that will be on display through April 16.
“Remembering Governor Janklow” is located in the exhibition cases on the second and third floors of the I.D. Weeks Library on the USD campus, and uses documents and mementos to offer insights into who he was as a politician and a person.
“We tried to select items that conveyed some information about Gov. Janklow that is not as well-known, as well as shedding more of an impression of what he was like as a person, as opposed to a governor,” said Joe De La Rosa, first-year law student and curator of the exhibit.
The cases are arranged on a thematic basis, covering aspects of Janklow’s life and career from such perspectives as economic development, his military service and law practice.
The exhibit came about in October 2011, when Janklow met with USD officials and indicated he wanted to place his papers at the university archive.
His gubernatorial papers were transferred from Pierre last March, and papers from his law office are still being transferred, said Dan Daily, Dean of Libraries.
The Janklow collection contained more than 600 boxes overall.
“Archivists tend to think in numbers of boxes and numbers of linear shelf feet that a collection occupies, so I think it’s 375 boxes from the gubernatorial papers, probably 100-plus boxes of personal papers,” Daily said. “As you see in the exhibit, there are things beyond the letters, reports and documents.”
De La Rosa said his favorite items fall into this latter category.
The first is an article from Forbes magazine which talks about South Dakota and Janklow’s efforts to put the state on the map.
“It has a Mount Rushmore type illustration, and so what I feel that conveys is how South Dakota, which was once only known for Mount Rushmore, now has a more interesting history to it, particularly in the financial sector through everything Gov. Janklow did,” De La Rosa said.
His favorite item is a bit more personal.
“One of the most interesting items we didn’t end up displaying because it was not in really great condition,” De La Rosa said. “I am struggling to figure out how we can make it a little more accessible, but it’s Gov. Janklow’s old graduation certificate from the sixth grade in Chicago. That was kind of a transitional point, where he’s moved back to South Dakota after that time, and his mother enrolled him in the Flandreau school system.”
Among other items on display are business cards, inaugural event pieces, photographs and clothes, including one of Janklow’s trademark windbreakers.
“The exhibit is kind of heavy on the memorabilia to give a picture of who Janklow was a as a person,” Daily said.
Janklow was born in 1939 and died in January 2012. He served as governor from 1979-1987, and from 1995-2003.
He went on to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he left after his involvement in a fatal traffic collision near Trent.
Janklow was known for his larger-than-life persona, which sometimes caused trouble when he made controversial statements.
De La Rosa said he hopes the exhibit will help visitors to see beyond that persona.
“That’s definitely something we hope will come out of this process, that people who haven’t made their mind up about Gov. Janklow will … understand that he was a much more complicated person than (they) realized.”
For more information about the exhibit and the William J. Janklow Papers, visit http://www.usd.edu/library/janklow-archives.cfm.