April 3, 2023

Preservation Thursday: Clark, Carr, and Griffin – Three Classic Kings of South Dakota Cowboy Poetry

DEADWOOD – Deadwood History, Inc. and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission will host a presentation by South Dakota Humanities Council Speakers’ Bureau Scholar Michael McDonald at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, 2023, at the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC), 150 Sherman Street, Deadwood. The event is free and wheelchair accessible. Please feel free to bring your lunch.

South Dakota has produced a great many cowboy poets from the western side of the state. A professor of classical English literature would likely opine that when it comes to cowboy poetry that hails from the Black Hills region, the names of Badger Clark, Robert V. Carr, and E. A. L. Griffin stand out for their individual styles of the genre, but a faro dealer from the old Deadwood days of '76 would probably opt for a gaming metaphor that uses a deck of cards to say the same thing – that each of these poets bore a resemblance of a king of three different suits. Presented by South Dakota Humanities Council’s Speakers Bureau Scholar, musical performer, and cowboy poet Michael McDonald.

Michael (Mac) McDonald originally hails from Yankton County, South Dakota, growing up on a couple of farms with six brothers and a sister. He and his wife, Deb, currently reside in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. McDonald is a Vietnam-era Navy veteran, serving with VAQ-136 aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during the WESTPAC/Indian Ocean cruise of 1973-74. After returning, McDonald served the last two years of his enlistment with the US Navy Band Sea Chanters, a sixteen voice male choir, during the US Bicentennial Celebration (1974-76).

McDonald received a BA in mass communications from the University of South Dakota and later completed several graduate classes in English literature. He worked for the United States Postal Service and was a postmaster for close to twenty-four years. He retired from the postal service in 2009. He worked as the "maintenance man" for an assisted living facility for five years. His last stretch of employment was working as the County Veterans Service Officer in Yankton County for nearly eight years. The McDonalds have three children and five grandchildren.

This program was made possible by the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, Deadwood History, Adams-Mastrovich Family Foundation, Deadwood Chamber & Visitors Bureau, and the Black Hills Pioneer.


Photographs available upon request.

We inspire the global community by preserving and celebrating the cultural heritage of Deadwood and the Black Hills in the context of the American West through exceptional exhibits, innovative educational programs, and access to extensive collections in unique settings.

Adams Museum, Days of '76 Museum, Historic Adams House, Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC), and The Brothel Deadwood.

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