Kimball native chronicles Calvin Coolidge's Black Hills 'adventures' in upcoming book
RAPID CITY — As a longtime South Dakota journalist, Seth Tupper as always wrestled with the idea of writing a book.
And now that idea has become a reality with the upcoming release of his book, "Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills." Scheduled to release May 22, Tupper's book follows the nearly three-month escapade of president Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills in 1927. Coolidge spent months living in a state game lodge in Custer State Park, an "oddity" for a sitting president, Tupper said.
While in the hills, Coolidge attended rodeos, dressed up like a cowboy and had "all kinds of adventures," Tupper said, which are outlined in the book. One of the most notable moments is the announcement by Coolidge that he would not be seeking re-election.
"For all of that to have happened in the Black Hills, Custer State Park and Rapid City which back then, and to some extent today, was the middle of nowhere for people in the rest of the country," Tupper said. "It was just a really unique, interesting period of history that never been book written about it."
Tupper, a native of Kimball who also lived in Wessington Springs, earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University. He has sinced worked at The Daily Republic in Mitchell and a newspaper in Worthington, Minnesota. He currently works at The Rapid City Journal in Rapid City, a fitting place to write a book about the Black Hills, Tupper said.
Tupper began the book in the spring of 2015, when he was approached by an editor at Arcadia Publishing. Specializing in history books of regional interest, the publishing company was scouting for topics in the Black Hills, Tupper said, when they came across the Coolidge idea. Tupper, having familiarity with the subject, was asked to write the book.
Research took a majority of Tupper's time, he said, but it was also his favorite part. A year after signing the contract, he finished the book. And now, almost another year later, the book is finished going through the publishing process.
With more than a month before its release, Tupper is unsure of what reception the book will earn, but he just hopes people give it a chance. Tupper said Coolidge had a reputation of being quiet and withdrawn, and his extended stay in the Black Hills was "very uncharacteristic."
"I just hope people will give it a chance and take a look," Tupper said. "I tried to write each chapter as its own episode from the summer as more of a story. I hope it's an enjoyable read, and I wanted to make it that way."
The book will be available to purchase May 22. Those interested can visit www.arcadiapublishing.com, where pre-orders are available, at Amazon.com or at the Reader's Den in Mitchell.