‘The Divorce Colony’ book highlights Sioux Falls’ unique 1900s role

April White never set out to write a book about Sioux Falls’s so-called ‘Divorce Colony,’ but while she was researching a con-man, she stumbled across a newspaper story about a woman who had recently returned from the colony.


“It just made me take a left turn,” she said. “What I really loved about the story when I first found it was just kind of the gossip of it, like just how scandalous and fun it seemed from a distance. But then I got into it and Sioux Falls plays this really important role in shaping how we think about divorce in the country today.”

April White, the author of

In her new book “The Divorce Colony” White follows the story of four East Coast women who moved to Sioux Falls between during a 20-year period at the turn of the century to end their marriages because of South Dakota’s lax divorce laws. Within the pages are competing thoughts on marriage and divorce at the time, lively descriptions of key locations in Sioux Falls and each woman’s choice to find freedom.

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