In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo
I write the July column as I begin my 40th year with the NDSU Library
staff beginning in June 1967. My years on the university campus
have been most rewarding, especially my work to document and preserve
the rich heritage and culture of the Germans from Russia community
in North Dakota and the Northern Plains. It has been valuable to
work with a dedicated staff and willing volunteers. GRHC continues
to grow with important activities including publishing, oral history,
documentaries and outreach programs.
Our 13th Journey to the Homeland Tour in May was a wonderful experience
with an appreciative and pleasant group. I look forward to our 14th
tour for May 20-30, 2008.
In late June, I joined Prairie Public Television videographers
to Menlo Park, CA, for documentary filming with Arthur E. Flegel,
well-known German-Russian genealogist. Mr. Flegel will be part of
a future documentary relating to the assimilation of the Germans
from Russia community in American society.
Acacia (Jonas) Stuckle, GRHC Special Collections Associate, and
I will be attending the Germans from Russia Heritage Society Convention,
Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck, July 19-22.
The private archival libraries of Gwen Pritzkau and Alice Essig
were donated to GRHC in 2006. In honor of their memory and dedication
for genealogical and family research these two “special collections”
are being showcased with a visual exhibit during July 15 through
October 1 at the Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Room, NDSU
Gwen Bernice Black Pritzkau Collection: Gwen Black (1932-2006)
from Riverton, Utah, married Julius Prizkau, a native of Logan County,
ND. He has both Bessarabian and Glueckstaler German heritage. Gwen,
a Salt Lake City librarian, was co-founder of Glueckstal Colony
Research Association (GCRA). Her dedicated efforts to promote expanded
archival research, was well-respected internationally in Salt Lake
City; Stuttgart, Germany; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Odessa, Ukraine.
Walter & Alice Reidlinger Essig Collection: Alice Reidlinger
(1911-1997), native of Sheridan and McLean Counties, North Dakota,
married Walter K. Essig in McClusky. Alice was among the original
founders of Germans from Russia Heritage Society, Alice’s
special gifts included family research consulting and translation
of archival documents.
The Essig archival books are unique for her marginal notations
and verified facts from personal interviews in rural communities.
Prairie Public will broadcast a new radio series, “Voices
of the Heartland: German-Russian Memories,” which is a collection
of fascinating life stories collected by the Dakota Memories Oral
History Project. North Dakota State Senators Tim Mathern and Robert
Erbele are doing the commentary for the series.
“Voices of the Heartland” will begin Monday, July 30
and air until October 8 every Monday (excluding Monday, August 27)
and Friday at 8:35 am, 3:55 pm, 6:30 pm, and 7:55 pm on Prairie
Radio broadcasts from Prairie Public Broadcasting are funded by
the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection and can be heard on
90.5 fm Bismarck, 89.9 fm Dickinson, 91.9 fm Fargo, 89.3 fm Grand
Forks, 91.5 fm Jamestown, 88.9 fm Minot, and 89.5 fm Williston.
The radio narratives will also be located on the Web at www.prairiepublic.org/radio.
The “Voices of the Heartland Radio Series” CD will be
available for purchase in the fall of 2007.
This summer the Dakota Memories Oral History Project begins its
third season of interviews. Cassie Ptacek and Tyler Simonson will
visit Dickinson/Richardton August 1-10. Jessica and Will Clark will
conduct interviews in south-central and central North Dakota July
Jessica Clark expressed her enthusiasm for their July interviews,
“Will and I are truly excited about starting our third season
of interviewing. This year we will be traveling to the Edgeley/Fredonia/Lehr/Kulm
area and the Bismarck/Mandan area. We will undoubtedly have another
successful season, as our July trips are booked, and our list of
potential narrators is growing. We look forward to hearing more
fascinating stories and viewing historic photographs and landmarks.”
To contact Jessica Clark (Coordinator) call 701-231-8419 or email
Jessica.Clark@ndsu.edu. Also, visit the Dakota Memories Oral History
Project on the web at www.ndsu.edu/grhc/dakotamemories.
For further information about the Germans from Russia Heritage
Collection, Dakota Memories Oral History Project, Journey to the
Homeland Tour, and donations to GRHC such as family histories, contact
Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599
(Tel: 701-231-8416; Email: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu; GRHC website:
July 2007 column for North Dakota and South Dakota