Gerald W. Wolff

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Gerald W. Wolff
Born 1939
Residence Omaha, Nebraska
Alma mater University of Iowa
Occupation Historian
Professor emeritus at the University of South Dakota
Years active 1969-ca. 2002
Children Brock A. Wolff

Gerald W. Wolff (born 1939) is professor emeritus at the University of South Dakota, known for his specialization in the history of Native Americans, the American West, and national politics.


In 1969, Wolff received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, and thereafter joined the USD faculty in Vermillion in southeastern South Dakota. He remained there until his retirement in the middle 1990s.[1]

Wolff's doctoral dissertation is a study of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, pushed to passage in the United States Senate by Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois. The act gave birth to the modern Republican Party, formed to halt the spread of slavery in to the territories of the United States. In 1972, Wolf used his dissertation as the basis for his article, "Party and Section: The Senate and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill," published in Civil War History.[2] In 1977, he turned his dissertation into the book entitled The Kansas-Nebraska Bill: Party, Section, and the Coming of the Civil War.[3]

Scholarly pursuits[edit]

In 1970, Wolff's "Mark Hanna's Goal: American Harmony," a glimpse of Mark Hanna, the U.S. Senator and campaign manager for presidential candidate William McKinley of Ohio, was published by Ohio History.[4]

In 1974, Wolff joined colleague Joseph H. Cash in the publication of an ethno-historical work entitled Three Affiliated Tribes, a study of the cultural relationships among the Arikaras, Hidatsas, and Mandans. The book was the first ever published by the Institute of American Indian Studies at USD.[5] The two also collaborated on books published by the Indian Tribal Series of Phoenix, Arizona, including a study of the Ponca, a tribe always at peace with the United States but forced against its wishes to inhabit Indian Territory when its lands were given to the Sioux.[6] The pair also completed a study of the Ottawa of Oklahoma[7] and the Comanche of Texas, the southwest and the southern Great Plains.[8]

In 1989, Wolff and Cash collaborated again on an article entitled "South Dakotans Remember the Great Depression."[9]

In February 1975, Wolff edited The Civil War Diary of Arthur Calvin Mellette for the South Dakota State Historical Society.[10]Arthur Calvin Mellette fought with Company H of the Ninth Indiana Volunteers from 1864-1865. He was elected in 1885 as the last territorial governor, when the capital was placed in Huron, South Dakota. He3 was elected as a Republican in 1889 as the first governor at statehood.[11]

Wolff also edited The Korean War Journal of Lloyd R. Moses.[12] Former educator Lloyd Roosevelt Moses (1904–2000), a native of Fairfax, South Dakota, served in both World War II and the Korean War and attained the rank of major general in the United States Army. He was residing in Vermillion, South Dakota, when Wolff edited Moses's wartime diary.[13]

In 1975, Wolff published the article entitled "Father Sylvester Eisenman and Marty Mission" in South Dakota History. Eisenman (1891–1948), a Jesuit priest originally from New Albany, Indiana, established in 1922 a boarding school among the Yankton Sioux tribe. This "Marty School" was located in Marty in Charles Mix County in southern South Dakota, and financed with assistance from the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eisenman worked to expand and promote the school through publication of The Little Bronzed Angel, which informed donors of the progress of the institution.[14]

From 1981-2002, Wolff was the book review editor of South Dakota History, the quarterly publication founded in 1970 by the South Dakota State Historical Society Press.[15] In 2002, Wolff received the Robinson Award, the highest honor bestowed by the historical society for his effectivenss in assigning and editing the book reviews. The prize is named for two past directors of the society.[16]

Later years[edit]

After Wolff retired from USD, he was from 1996-1999 an adjunct professor of history at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City in southwestern South Dakota.[17] For several years after 1999, he was a professor of history at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City, Iowa.[18] He later moved to his current residence in Omaha, Nebraska.[19]


  1. ^ "Catalog: Faculty". Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ Gerald W. Wolff, "Party and Section: The Senate and the Kansas-Nebraska Bil;," Civil War History 18 (December 1972), pp. 293-311
  3. ^ Gerald W. Wolff, "The Kansas-Nebraska Bill: Party, Section, and the Coming of the Civil War, Brooklyn, New York City: Revisionist Press, 1977, 385 pp.
  4. ^ Gerald W. Wolff, "Mark Hanna's Goal: American Harmony," Ohio History, Vol. 79 (Summer-Autumn 1970), pp. 138-151
  5. ^ "Institute of American Indian Studies, Overview: Our Future". Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  6. ^ Joseph Cash and Gerald W. Wolff, The Ponca People (Phoenix, Arizona: Indian Tribal Series, 1975)
  7. ^ Joseph H. Cash and Gerald W. Wolff, The Ottawa People (Phoenix, Arizona: Indian Tribal Series), 1976
  8. ^ Joseph H. Cash and Gerald W. Wolff, The Comanche People (Phoenix: Indian Tribal Series, 1976)
  9. ^ "South Dakotans Remember the Great Depression," South Dakota History (Vol 19, Summer 1989), pp. 30-36
  10. ^ The Civil War Diary of Arthur Calvin Mellette. South Dakota State Historical Society, ISBN 99940-819-2-6. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Civil War Collections". Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  12. ^ "The Korean War Journal of Lloyd R. Moses" (PDF). Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Lloyd Roosevelt Moses". Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Father Sylvester Eisenman Collection" (PDF). Pierre, South Dakota: South Dakota History, Vol. 5, No. 4 (1975), pp. 360--389. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  15. ^ "South Dakota History". Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Announcements", South Dakota History, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer 2002), p. 179
  17. ^ "Book Reviews," South Dakota History, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Spring 1996), p. 46
  18. ^ "Book Reviews," South Dakota History, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Summer 1999), p. 174
  19. ^ Internet: People Search and Background Check