NDSU Libraries publishes new book on homestead
life in North Dakota
Feburary 1, 2003
The German for Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries,
Fargo, is pleased to announce the publication of Gottlob
Lerch: A Story by F.B Urban. This book was originally published
in German by the Wartburg Publishing House, Chicago, ca. 1890-1900.
Gottlob Lerch was a simple, hard-working man who migrated from
the Kuban Region of Russian Empire to the plains of North Dakota
to make a new life for himself and his family. From this book the
reader learns about the natural obstacles and financial challenges
a German Russian homesteader encountered in trying to make a go
it on the vast, dry prairies and semi-arid climate of the North
We know very little about the origins of this book or its author.
We cannot even be certain that Gottlob Lerch was an actual person
or a composite made up in the mind and memory of its author, F.B.
Urban. However, based on the histories of other German-Russian pioneers
to the Dakota we can deduct from this story that the experiences
of Gottlob Lerch, whether based on fact or fiction, tell an authentic
and unique story of one particular German-Russian immigrant family.
The main character, Gottlob Lerch is not depicted in the most favorable
light by the author. In fact, Urban is quite critical of Lerchs
obstinate personality, domineering nature, and unrelenting greed
for land, the most coveted possession of the typical German immigrant.
With revealing and insightful detail the author describes Lerchs
quarrels with his neighbors, his wife, and his fellow Lutherans,
especially in regard to land and money. At the end of the tale we
witness a sort of metamorphosis in the subjects character after
he nearly loses the one thing more important to him than land, his
only son and heir.
To purchase the Gottlob Lerch book, send $15 per book plus $3 postage
payable to NDSU Library. Mail to: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection,
Gottlob Lerch Book, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599.
Website to order this book is: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/nd_sd/urban.html.
to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael