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Earl H. Neller Journal—South Dakota Hitchhiking Trip—June/July 1933

 Unprocessed Material — Multiple Containers
Identifier: H2020-002

Content Description

The collection consists of an 86-page, typed journal written by Earl H. Neller of a trip taken through South Dakota, and later parts of North Dakota, from June 21 to July 17, 1933. The journal accounted for the trek of roughly 850 miles, beginning in Sioux Falls (S.D.), traveling west through South Dakota to Rapid City (S.D.), sojourning through various towns and tourist stops in the Black Hills before heading north to Hebron (N.D.). The journey was accomplished by walking, hitchhiking or railroad. Accompanying Earl were his three children (Virgil, Elaine and Carolyn) and three children from the Kincaid family (Albert, Mildred and Dora). There ages ranged from 8 to 13. Both families lived in St. Louis (MO) were Earl and Charles Kincaid taught at Cleveland High School. The journal depicts the amazing journey of six children and an adult traveling through South Dakota at the height of the Great Depression. Highlights include a trip by rail through western South Dakota with a group of hobos and the groups hiking and hitchhiking adventures through the Black Hills. Stops included Mount Rushmore, Iron Mountain Road, Wind Cave, Harney Peak and Jewel Cave as well as stops in Rapid City, Keystone, Hot Springs, Custer, Deadwood and Sturgis. The group also met various Civilian Conservation Corps workers at various points in the Black Hills. The journal also highlights various encounters with people throughout their journey. Earl’s service during World War I are also mentioned. Food was an important topic as a list of both items bought and items eaten were frequently noted in the journal. In addition, the collection features nine (2 ¾ x 3 ¾) black and white images of the children at various stops along their trip. A transcript of the journal was created and saved digitally, as well as a scan of the journal and images of the families and run through the State Archives digital preservation program.

Acquisition Type


Restrictions Apply



  • June 21 to July 17, 1933



0.25 Cubic Feet

64.1 Megabytes