The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota has a pretty exciting collaboration to announce. We’re partnering once again with David Haeselin from UND’s Writing, Editing, and Publishing (WEP) program who worked with The Digital Press to publish Haunted by Waters: The Future of Memory and the Red River Flood of 1997 (2017) and, for the first time, Prairie Public Radio to produce a book version of their venerable Dakota Datebook radio program.
We chose to announce this today (although keen readers of the Prairie Public’s newsletter probably caught a little notice there), because February 28th marks the 60th anniversary of the death of UND English’s most famous alum, Maxwell Anderson (Sorry, Chuck Klosterman). What’s a bit newer, however, is UND English training editors in the WEP program. Student editors in David Haeselin’s WEP practicum are currently working to assemble an edited collection from the thousands of entries that have appeared on the Prairie Public radio’s Dakota Datebook radio show.
The daily history segment is now in its seventeenth year, so the first step was picking the best 365 entries. Luckily for us, there are sixteen students enrolled in the class, so, first, each student read through a randomly assigned year. The next step was deciding what exactly constituted the “best.” This is where the students’ more traditional analytical and interpretative training came in handy. After a series of freewheeling and impassioned discussions, the students agreed that our book should showcase the lesser-known, if not entirely forgotten, moments in North Dakota history. Lewis, Clark, and Teddy Roosevelt are the OG badasses, sure, but they passed through North Dakota. We wanted to showcase the stories of those who have made the state into what it is today by living here. And we think we accomplished just that.
We recently finalized the table of contents and are confident that our selections highlight the state’s diversity, variety, and uniqueness. In it, you’ll find all kinds of stories: tough as permafrost homesteaders who lived through the worst winters on the continent without down feather coats or even walls made from something better than dirt blobs, proud women demanding their right to vote, the family who built the first mosque on American soil, and even how Grand Forks was founded because of a keg of beer.
As the students have worked to select and organize content, we have also worked to produce an appealing page that captures a bit of a traditional “datebook” style with the bold day and month in Futura font. The text itself is set in the more traditional Janson-style font which we decided was appropriately buttoned-down for history. We tucked the page numbers on the outside margin to give us a bit more space on the page for text and to accommodate the varying length of Date Book entries.
You can download the Maxwell Anderson page here.
Keep your eyes open for more updates. We plan for a May release, with events across North Dakota. And, in the meantime, be sure to listen to Dakota Datebook on Prairie Public.