Pritzkau Holds Book Signing in Napoleon
Schwartzenberger, Terry. "Pritzkau Holds Book Signing in Napoleon." Napoleon Homestead, 15 October 1997, 1.
Logan County native, Philo T. Pritzkau, 95, author of Growing
Up in North Dakota: A Memoir revisited his home area of Napoleon
this past week hosting a few different book signing engagements
in Fargo, Napoleon, Bismarck and Jamestown.
At his stop in Napoleon, Sunday, Mr. Pritzkau captured an audience
of about 25 people who stopped by to have books signed and listen
to some of his tales. "It is wonderful to be home," is how Pritzkau
greeted those gathered at the Wentz Restaurant Sunday afternoon.
"I miss the open prairies and rolling pastures. I want to return
to this land once more, where I have so many fond childhood memories.
This is why I wrote the book - to share my memories about growing
up on a farm in a German-Russian family on the North Dakota prairies."
Growing Up in North Dakota is Pritzkau's vivid memoir of
the "pioneer" period of North Dakota's history.
Philo, who was born in 1902, told a few stories of his younger
years and reminisced with those in attendance at his public book
signing. He told stories of how hay was cut and stacked in the early
days. He had an early years threshing story, where the workers put
in long days and worked until sun down to hopefully complete harvest
before the arrival of winter. He told a few stories relating to
the horse and buggy days andd then also the introduction of the
In addition to autographing his book, which is in its third printing,
Pritzkau was accompanied by a niece, Donna Pritzkau Turner of Hunter,
who read a few passages from Growing Up in North Dakota and
Michael M. Miller, Germans from Russia Bibliographer, NDSU Libraries,
In his book Philo recalls attending the country elementary school
where many of the rural children spoke German, with English as their
second language. He was one of the first students to attend Burnstad
High School, with an enrollment of 18 students in 1918. He then
attended the University of North Dakota for one semester and returned
home to Logan County, teaching in a country school near Napoleon,
Philo was born in a sodhouse built by his German-Russian immigrant
parents near Burnstad. He started his education in a one-room school,
and went on to complete his doctorate at Columbia University, before
retiring in 1972, when he was the professor of Education at the
University of Connecticut where he was the director of the Curriculum
Center. Pritzkau now resides in Massachusetts.
As a philosopher, Pritzkau says, "We need to be in connection
with knowledge and thought. We also need to have children become
our teachers, because they see so much that adults can't see."
To wrap up his question and answer session in Napoleon, Pritzkau
spoke of his children and grandchildren. Probably most nationally
known is his daughter, Patricia Pritzkau MacLachlan, an internationally
acclaimed children's author of the Newbery Award winning novel,
Sarah, Plain and Tall as well as its sequal Skylark,
which were both later produced as "Hallmark Hall of Fame" television
Reprinted with permission of the Napoleon Homestead.