Hasselstrom, Sanders bring new life to Badger Clark’s When Hot Springs Was a Pup

By Marcus Heerdt

HOT SPRINGS – After many years of work, southwestern South Dakota authors Linda M. Hasselstrom and Peggy Sanders published a new edition of Badger Clark’s book When Hot Springs Was a Pup on Dec. 7, 2021.

Badger Clark (1883-1957) was South Dakota’s first Poet Laureate and lived a large portion of his life in Hot Springs; he always considered Hot Springs as his hometown.

First written for the Hot Springs Kiwanis Club in 1927, When Hot Springs Was a Pup recounts the early history of the city in Clark’s own unique, imaginative writing style.

In 1976 Hermosa-based author and publisher Linda M. Hasselstrom discovered that no copyright had ever been registered for When Hot Springs Was a Pup, so she obtained the rights and reprinted the book a couple times before collaborating with Fall River County author and historian Peggy Sanders for the new 2021 edition.

The 2021 paperback edition features hundreds of photographs (almost exclusively from the Pioneer Museum’s collection) and illustrations as well as an expanded background and chronology of Clark’s life.

To keep the words of Clark “entertaining residents and visitors to Hot Springs for generations to come,” Hasselstrom has granted her copyright of the 2021 edition of When Hot Springs Was a Pup to the Fall River County Historical Society/Pioneer Museum. Hasselstrom explained that this gift “will allow this nonprofit organization and its nonprofit successors to be the exclusive publishers of legitimate editions of When Hot Springs Was a Pup in perpetuity.”

“I am delighted to bring Badger Clark’s humor and love of his hometown, much enhanced by historical photographs, to new readers, and help make them available to future generations through the museum,” Hasselstrom said.

On Saturday, June 18, Hasselstrom and Sanders were at the Pioneer Museum in Hot Springs for a book signing and author reading. This event was in conjunction with the grand opening of the museum’s fourth floor remodel and art gallery.

“This is a great opportunity to let the world know about Badger Clark and introduce him back into the community,” said Pioneer Museum Manager Dawn Johnson. “It’s also a way for the museum to generate income.”

Included at the end of the book is one of Clark’s poems about Hot Springs titled “Hometown.” The last three lines read: “Oh never Nome, Hongkong or Rome, Could show me finer sights than home!”

“This book belongs in Hot Springs,” said Sanders. “I am glad that the museum owns the copyright and the museum will receive all proceeds henceforth.”

When Hot Springs Was a Pup is available for purchase at the Pioneer Museum and online outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Museum board members are currently working on making the book available for sale at a variety of retail locations throughout Hot Springs.

Fall River County Herald Star

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