In Touch with Prairie Living

March 2001

By Michael M. Miller

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 the Germans from Russia as an important part of the northern plains culture.

The website of GRHC has an attractive new design and format: May I invite you to review the web pages.

Many thanks to persons who attended the NDSU Libraries’ sponsored outreach events in Scottsdale and Mesa, AZ, on March 3-4, 2001. Many people with Dakota roots heard Vern Freeh, a native of Harvey, ND, speak at the Scottsdale Public Library Theater about his new book, “Couldn’t Be Better: The Russian Farm Community Project.” The book is available from the GRHC and at the Crystal Cathedral Bookstore, Garden Grove, CA.

The GRHC has reprinted publications valuable to the Germans from Russia community: 1) “Pierce County Diamond Jubilee, 1886 - 1961: Rugby, No. Dak.”; 2) “Saints Peter and Paul Golden Jubilee Book: Strasburg, N.D.,” 1948; 3) “St. Joseph’s Colony: 1905 - 1930," Saskatchewan, 1930; 4) “Souvenir des silbernen Jubilaeums der St. Josephs Gemeinde zu Dickinson, Nord Dakota, 1902-1927, und meine Reise durch das Heilige Land,” 1927; 5) “Souvenir of the Golden Jubilee of St. Joseph’s Parish: Dickinson, North Dakota, 1902-1952"; 6) “The Volga Germans,” 1976; 7) “Historical Sketches of the Parishes of the Diocese of Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan 1930-1955”; 8) “History of Tramping Lake, Saskatchewan”; 9) “Ripening Harvest: The Story of St. Joseph’s Colony, 1905-1955," Saskatchewan; 10) “Short History of Five Cololonies: Founded 1891-1902: East of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada,” 1999. GRHC’s website now has available the jubilee or centennial books for Ashley, Gackle, Harvey, McIntosh County, Napoleon, St. Anthony, Strasburg, Streeter, and Wishek, ND; Eureka, SD; and Odessa, Saskatchewan. All of these books are available by viewing the new GRHC website address.

Prairie Public Broadcasting is sponsoring the “Cultural Heritage Tour: Capitols of Eastern Europe” for September 26 - October 7, 2001, including Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Leipzig, and Berlin. For further information, visit Prairie Public’s website at or call 1-800-359-6900. The tour is sponsored by Prairie Public and the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation.

The GRHC has recently published, “Gazing Forward, Glancing Back, Remembering Always: Memories Retold and Relived by the Community of Streeter, North Dakota” by Sandi Dewald. She shares a wonderful story of special memories from many longtime Streeter families.

Sandi Dewald states in the introduction: This book is a tribute and thank you to all the people who have shared their ideas, insight and love with us. Without the help of each and every one, this book would not be possible. The stories and advice in this book are true-life experiences with the credit given to the individual whenever possible.”

The NDSU Library, Fargo, features, the exhibit “Germans from Russia Wedding Traditions: From the Steppe of South Russia & Bessarabia to the Dakota Prairies” until June 1, 2001, at the new Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Room.

The award-winning documentary videotapes “The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie” (1999), and “Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia” (2000), continue to be well received throughout North America. To secure the videotapes, contact Prairie Public at 1-800-359-6900. The videotapes can also be secured by going to this GRHC website at “Videotape Documentary & Other Projects”. The videotapes include 20-minute bonus video footage, not shown in the one-hour documentary. See many interesting pages about the documentary at the Prairie Public Broadcasting website:

Because of the interest developed from the “Schmeckfest” documentary, additional cookbooks including German-Russian recipes have been added to the GRHC website.

For further information about donations to the collection, including family histories, outreach programs, videotape documentaries, Journey to the Homeland Tour (May 22 to June 4, 2001) for Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany; German-Russian cookbooks; GRHC’s publications including recent books, “Gazing Forward...”; “Couldn’t Be Better: The Russian Farm Community Project”, “The Germans by the Black Sea Between Bug and Dniester Rivers”, “Marienberg: Fate of a Village”, and “The Dark Abyss of Exile: A Story of Survival”; and German-Russian heritage, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail:; GRHC website:

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller