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Merrell Quentin Sharpe papers

Identifier: MS-136

Content Description

This collection contains materials primarily related to the work of Merrill Sharpe before and after his time as South Dakota governor, though there are some materials related to his governorship.


  • Creation: 1888 - 1962


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to Publish Form if they wish to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information from published and unpublished works held by ASC.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

Merrell Quentin Sharpe was born in Marysville, Kansas. He was educated in the public schools of Axtell, Kansas and taught in rural schools for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. Following his discharge, he attended the Kansas City, Missouri Night School of Law for two years and then received an LL.B. degree from the University of South Dakota, going into private law practice in Oacoma, South Dakota, where he also farmed. He served as State's Attorney for Lyman County from 1916 until 1920. He then served two terms as Attorney General of South Dakota, from 1929 until 1933. From 1937 until 1939, he was chairman of the South Dakota Code Commission and chief reviser of state laws. Elected governor in 1942, he devoted himself to the war effort. He also promoted education, encouraged tourism in the state, and was active in conservation, establishing a Natural Resources Commission and helping form the Missouri River States Committee for the development of the Missouri River. After serving two terms as governor, he lost the Republican primary in 1946, returning to his law practice. He was an attorney for Indian tribes in South Dakota for many years as well as for the Western Central Electrical Cooperative during the last ten years of his life. He served on the South Dakota Tax Study Committee in 1959 and chaired the South Dakota Heart Association in 1960-61. Mr. Sharpe died in 1962.


102 Linear Feet (180 document boxes, 5 record boxes, 4 photograph boxes, and 1 oversize map drawer)

Language of Materials


Merrell Quentin Sharpe papers
Lisa Duncan, Doris Peterson, and Megan Langley
2018 January
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USD Archives and Special Collections Repository