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Harlan John Bushfield papers

Identifier: MS-029

Content Description

The Harlan John Bushfield collection is made up of materials Bushfield composed during his tenures as South Dakota’s Governor and United States Senator.

The Manuscripts series contains a single speech What does the Republican Party Stand For.

The Printed Materials series contains printed versions of Bushfield’s speeches and addresses. Most notable in the Printed Materials are Bushfield’s Gubernatorial Inaugural addresses and his Senate Memorial Service.

The Typescripts is the largest series in the collection. It contains press releases, radio addresses and speeches given during Bushfield’s terms as governor and Senator. Also included are excerpts from Presidential Speeches that Bushfield may have used to make points within his own speeches, political papers, and speech notes.

Several of the press releases include the typed note “for Publication in South Dakota Republican Herald”. Most of these items concern issues raised by World War II and one concerns a measure that Bushfield introduced to “abolish district Indian Offices.”

The Radio Addresses and Speeches are arranged in chronological order and they are divided by political office. Many of the Radio address have handwritten notes on them indicating where and when they were broadcast. They mostly concern the political issues of the day such as Social Security and World War II.

The Speeches cover a many different of topics and were given on numerous occasions. Bushfield seems to have given a speech every year on Lincoln’s Birthday. There are several versions of this speech available. There are a few speeches he gave to the South Dakota State legislature and the United States Senate.


  • Creation: 1935 - 1949


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research without restrictions. Researchers are advised to contact the Archives and Special Collections prior to visiting. Advance notice may be needed to retrieve items for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers must obtain a signed Permission to Publish Form if they wish to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information from published and unpublished works held by ASC. Permission to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information materials from ASC does not constitute permission from the holder of copyright or literary rights. The researcher is responsible for securing permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce content from materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Harlan John Bushfield was born August 6, 1882 to John Andrew and Cora Emogene (Pearson) Bushfield in Atlantic, Iowa. A year later, his family moved to the new town of Miller in Dakota Territory. Bushfield’s father bought an interest in and later owned The Hand County Press. Bushfield worked at the newspaper during his youth. After his high school graduation in 1899, Bushfield attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD. In 1901 he transferred to the University of Minnesota and he completed a law degree in 1904.

Bushfield then returned to Miller to open his own law practice focusing on business law. He was elected States Attorney for Hand County in 1906. Bushfield married Vera Sarah Cahalan on April 15, 1912. The couple had three children, Mary Janeth, John Pearson, and Harlan J. Jr.

Bushfield was active in his own community. He served on the school board and the Selective Service Board during World War I. It was not until 1936 that Bushfield became involved in politics, when he became the chairman for the Republican State Committee. Bushfield was influential in rejuvenating the GOP party in the State of South Dakota and he successfully helped Leslie Jensen gain a third term as Governor of South Dakota. In 1938, Jensen announced he was running for the Senate seat left vacant by Peter Norbeck. This action prompted Bushfield to run for Governor. Bushfield defeated his democratic opponent, Oscar Fosheim, by 20,000 votes. In 1940, Bushfield was re-elected for a second term. 1942 found Bushfield running for United States Senate. He defeated Tom Berry with 58 percent of the vote. Bushfield took office in 1943. Bushfield continued to advance his conservative agenda in the United States Senate. Bushfield was a stanch isolationist and was against foreign aid for Europe. Bushfield served on several Senate Committees: Agriculture, The Committee on the District of Columbia, Finance, and Indian Affairs. In 1947, Bushfield suffered a stroke and it weakened him. In 1948, Bushfield realized he could not continue to serve in the Senate and announced that he would not run for another term. Bushfield died Sept. 27, 1948. Vera Bushfield served the last three months of her husband’s term.


1.0 Linear Feet (2 document boxes)

Language of Materials



The Harlan John Bushfield collection is made up of materials Bushfield composed during his tenures as South Dakota’s Governor and United States Senator.


This collection contains four series: Manuscripts, Printed Materials, Typescripts, and Miscellaneous.

Harlan John Bushfield papers
Anne Hinseth
2000 October
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USD Archives and Special Collections Repository