Historiography (literally "history writing"): to write, draw, describe and record the stories and experiences of the people whose lives form a culture, a region, a nation or an era. The river of civilization flows through the centuries, linking our lives to the past and the future. Clustered on the banks are people who live hardworking, family oriented lives. History is the story of what happens on the banks. BJ




COPYRIGHT, 1997. Historiography Class, Belle Fourche High School, 1113 National Street, Belle Fourche, SD. All rights reserved.

Written, edited, and published by the Belle Fourche High School Historiography Class, 1997, this site is sponsored in part by a grant from South Dakota State University`s Rural Schools and Community Renewal Project.

Printed copies of this magazine may be available from Belle Fourche High School, 1301 12th, Belle Fourche, SD 57717. Please contact the school for additional information.

Comments or questions please contact Bev Crabill Banks or Jean Helmer

Historiography Project, Belle Fourche, SD



In 1986-1987, the South Dakota Committee on the Humanities and students from Belle Fourche High School joined together in a centennial history project. This project was designed to increase the students` awareness of the diverseness and richness of their heritage. In a class called Historiography these students endeavored to document and to record some of the events, traditions and legends of the people in the Belle Fourche region. Historiography Class was an interdisciplinary course involving the English, History and Business Departments. For eighteen weeks the Historiography students conducted interviews of area residents, visited local museums and collectors, and consulted microfilm archives of old newspaper files. These students then transcribed interviews, wrote feature stories, edited oral histories and created historic fiction pieces. On The Banks is a compilation of their efforts.


Writing of history, especially that based on the critical examination of sources and the synthesis of chosen particulars from those sources into a narrative that will stand the test of critical methods. Two major tendencies in history writing are evident from the beginnings of the Western tradition: the concept of historiography as the accumulation of records and the concept of history as storytelling, filled with explanations of cause and effect. In the 5th century BC the Greek historians Herodotus and, later, Thucydides emphasized firsthand inquiry in their efforts to impose a narrative on contemporary events. The 4th century introduced the idea of world history as a result of divine intervention in human affairs, an idea that prevailed throughout the Middle Ages in the work of such historians as Bede. Humanism and the gradual secularization of critical thought influenced early modern European historiography. The 19th and 20th centuries saw the development of modern methods of historical investigation based on the use of primary source materials. Modern historians, aiming for a fuller picture of the past, have tried to reconstruct a record of ordinary human activities and practices.


Historic Fiction:

Historic fiction are pieces based on the experiences people have shared with the students during interviews. In writing historic ficiton, every attempt is made to keep the stories historically accurate while capturing the unique attitudes of the area and of the era.

Feature Stories:

Places, faces, businesses and events that give character to the Belle Fourche region

Oral Histories:

First person narratives, which began as dialogues, preserve the personality of a people and an era.


Portions of interviews with local and regional people who remember the good old days, blizzards, pranks, wars....

A typical one room country school on the Dakota prairie



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A Belle Fourche High School Project