Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




My study of the literature of North Dakota began ten years ago, when the topic for the annual writers conference at the University of North Dakota was the literature of the Northern Plains. At that conference I listened to Lois Phillips Hudson, Thomas McGrath, Richard Lyons, and other regional writers. Since that conference, I have been reading the literature of North Dakota and learning about the writers, and I have introduced the literature of North Dakota to my students in Grand Forks and Bismarck. My students, like the rest of us, have had the initial reaction, "Literature--Here?"

This study consists of three parts: an introduction and argument for the use of North Dakota literature in the classroom, a biographical sketch of each writer and some suggestions for teaching, and a bibliographical essay of other writings which could be used.

In the past two years, I have worked to compile an index of the literature of North Dakota by reading the few available studies and listings; by working with small manuscript collections at North Dakota State University, Valley City State College, and the University of North Dakota; by consulting available newspaper files; and by working with card catalogues at the following libraries: North Dakota State Library, State Historical Society, Bismarck Veterans, Minot State College, Bismarck Junior College, Valley City State College, North Dakota State University, and the University of North Dakota. The third section of my thesis, "A Bibliographical Essay of Additional Literature by North Dakota Writers," begins with a review of listings which have been made. While much has been written about the history of North Dakota, very little has yet been written about the literature of North Dakota. Appendices A, B, C, and D are listings of the literature of North Dakota which have been separated into four genres: poetry, autobiography and biography, fiction, and drama.

I have written additional information about six writers I have introduced to students: Clell Goebel Gannon, Era Bell Thompson, Et . .. Sevareid, Lois Phillips Hudson, Larry Woiwode, and Maxwell Anderson. I have introduced these and other writers to my students because I believe that the best we can do for our students and for ourselves is to help with self-understanding, because until we know about ourselves and our place, we are unable to know anything else. Through literature, we can discover our self and our place, and particularly through the literature of our region and experiences, we are able to better understand ourselves and those around us.

The purposes of my thesis are to encourage other teachers to introduce the literature of North Dakota to their students, and to compile a listing of literature for the aid of other scholars.