In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at the NDSU
Libraries in Fargo reaches out to prairie families and former Dakotans.
In various ways, it affirms the heritage of Germans from Russia
as an important part of the northern plains culture.
I want to extend special Thanksgiving Regards. We can be very grateful
that our ancestors immigrated to America to settle on these prairies
and Northern Plains.
Join us for the Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase where we will have
a booth at these events: Civic Center/Centennial Hall, 207 4th Street
North, Fargo (Saturday, 10 am-5 pm & Sunday, 12 noon-5 pm, November
18-19) and the Civic Center Convention Hall, 315 South 5th Street,
Bismarck (Saturday, 10 am-5 pm) & Sunday, 12 noon - 5 pm), December
I am pleased to announce the dates for the 13th Journey to the Homeland
Tour to Ukraine and Germany for May 17-28, 2007. The tour will include
four days in Odessa, Ukraine visiting the former German villages,
and six days in Germany. Tour members will attend the large Germans
from Russia gathering called the Russlanddeutschen Bundestreffen,
at Wiesbaden on May 26-27, 2007. Please contact me for further information
Debra Marquart, a native of rural Napoleon, ND, and an associate
professor of English at Iowa State University, Ames, has authored
an impressive new book, "The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild
in the Middle of Nowhere: A Memoir". From the earliest age,
Marquart knows she wanted out - out of the milking barn, out of
the nearly empty nest her farmhouse home had become once her four
older siblings move away, out of the harvests and the blizzards
and the long dusty summer days full of nothing but hard work. But
even after she got good at leaving, she kept coming back. It is
this process of flight - from both the landscape and the family
- and the return that Marquart writes about so exquisitely.
Whether Marquart is writing about her great-grandmother dying in
childbirth, Lawrence Welk's early days, the glaciers that shaped
her back yard, or her father's quiet struggle with heart disease,
Marquart's sense of the absurd and her graceful poeticism combine
to make "The Horizontal World" a captivating read.
GRHC has published the new book, "The Germans Under the Tsars,
Lenin, and Hitler", by John Philipps, Merced, CA. Dr. Stephen
Herzog who edited the book writes: "John Philipps's book provides
a unique and important contribution: the bird's-eye view of a historial
narrative coupled with the on-the-ground perspective of someone
who lived his formative years in a German-Russian community."
The book is available by contacting GRHC or at library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/general/tsars.html.
The Dakota Memories Oral History Project continued in 2006. Interviews
completed in south central North Dakota were for these family names:
Bender, Boschee, Dahl, Dobler, Erbele, Eckroth, Engelhart, Eslinger,
Herr, Glatt, Ketterling, Klein, Kraft, Kocher, Konrad, Mitzel, Presler,
Pressler, Sehn, Schell, Schumacher, Schwab, Schwahn, Vetter, Wagner,
Wald, Weber, Welder and Zimmerman. Lacher felt this project was
a great learning experience, as "the memories kept pouring out"
during each interview.
Jessica Clark (interviewer) and Will Clark (videographer), NDSU
doctoral students, completed more than thirty-five interviews in
north-central North Dakota and Saskatchewan. The narrator family
names included: Axtman, Bertsch, Black, Boechler, Brossart, Degenstein,
Dukart, Ebach, Ell, Ferner, Frehlich, Herauf, Hoffart, Jahner, Johner,
Keen, Kohlman, Kraft, Krismer, Kuntz, Lang, Laturnus, Leippi, Miere,
Riehl, Rissling, Schall, Schneider, Sellinger, Senger, Westein,
and Zeiler. Jessica Clark recalls that "everyone was truly
excited about participating in this project. They welcomed us into
their homes with open arms, and candidly shared their memories of
growing up German Russian on the Northern Plains. They invited us
to eat some tasty German meals and partake in the occasional shot
of red eye or burnt whiskey."
For further information about the Dakota Memories Oral History Project,
go to library.ndsu.edu/grhc/dakotamemories/index.html, or
contact Jessica Clark at 701-231-8419; firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am pleased to announce a new one-half hour documentary, "We'll
Meet Again in Heaven" funded by GRHC. The scholar and narrator
is Ronald Vossler, UND, Grand Forks. Vossler guides the viewer from
the small North Dakota town where he found the first letter, down
the "blood-dark corridor of ethnic history" to former
German villages in Ukraine and Moldova that were the source of numerous
immigrants to the American prairie frontier.
The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Convention
is June 11-16, 2007, Holiday Inn, Hays, KS (www.ahsgr.org); the
Germans from Russia Heritage Society Convention is July 19-22, 2007,
Ramkota Hotel, Bismarck, ND (www.grhs.org).
For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, Dakota
Memories Oral History Project, donations to GRHC including books,
events, documentaries, CDs, DVDs, cookbooks and the June, 2007 tour,
contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND
58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: email@example.com;
GRHC website: library.ndsu.edu/grhc).
November, 2006 column for North Dakota and South Dakota