Preorders open for historical society's new book ‘Bighorn Visions’

PIERRE — Bighorn rancher and photographer Jessamine Spear Johnson’s portfolio is the focus of a new book from the South Dakota State Historical Society. The book is “Bighorn Visions: The Photography of Jessamine Spear Johnson,” written by Johnson’s granddaughter, Tempe Javitz.

Born in 1886 to pioneer parents on the eastern front of the Bighorn Mountains, Jessamine Spear Johnson would grow up to document many of the dramatic changes that this region would see over the next century. After first picking up a camera at age 11, Johnson developed into a uniquely gifted artist, all while helping manage the family ranch. Through her photography, Johnson captured the rapid advancements occurring around her, especially from the 1910s through the 1940s. During these years, a burgeoning dude ranch industry brought new visitors to this remote area, and technological changes reshaped the nature of work.

Tempe Javitz, Johnson’s granddaughter, has compiled more than 100 of Jessamine’s photographs for this volume, the first publication to showcase her work in such detail

“Bighorn Visions: The Photography of Jessamine Spear Johnson” can be preordered for $29.95, plus shipping and tax, at Books will be shipped on April 11. Booksellers can contact [email protected] to place orders for their business.

For more information about the South Dakota Historical Society Press and its books, please visit