In Touch with Prairie Living

April 2007

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.

In March, Prairie Public will broadcast a fascinating new series of local oral histories. "Growing Up German Russian: A Radio Series" is a collection of narratives gleaning from the oral histories collection of the Dakota Memories Oral History Project.

The 3-6 minute narratives will air each Monday and Friday at 8:35 a.m., 3:50 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. for April. This radio series will also be available on the Web at www.prairiepublic.or/radio.

Jessica Clark, project coordinator, explained that these interviews are designed to preserve the precious history and heritage of Germans from Russia on the Northern Plains. "These narrators contain vivid childhood memories - memories of learning to drive a tractor, witnessing a prairie fire, adopting a little colt, listening to German funeral songs, and growing up on the prairie during the Dirty Thirties," Clark said.

The radio series is part of a large project that will record numerous narratives for study and archiving. This series is sponsored by Prairie Public, the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, and the North Dakota State University Libraries. Partial funding for this series was provided by the North Dakota Humanities Council.

To find the Prairie Public radio frequency in your area, visit or call 800-359-6900. The North Dakota Humanities Council, Prairie Public, and GRHC have provided funding for Growing Up German Russian: A Radio Series. A CD version of this series will be available for purchase in May, 2007.

The Dakota Memories Oral History Project will continue this year (2007), conducting interviews in North Dakota. For more information, visit our website at To contact Jessica Clark (Project Coordinator) call 701-231-8419 or email

Acacia (Jonas) Stuckle, GRHC Special Collections Associate and a native of Fredonia, ND, will visit the Lehr, Fredonia, Kulm, and Edgeley areas giving informative presentations regarding the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection and the Dakota Memories Oral History Project. She will be at the Home Plate Café in Fredonia at 1:00 pm on Friday, April 13; the Senior Center in Lehr at 1:00 pm on Monday, April 16; the Senior Center in Edgeley at 12:30 pm on Tuesday, April 17; and the Senior Center in Kulm at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, April 18. To contact Acacia in reference to her visits in south-central North Dakota call 701-231-6596 or email

The May issue of "North Dakota Living" will feature an article about the oral history project.

We are making final plans for the 13th Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart & Wiesbaden, Germany for May 17-28, 2007. Tour members will attend the large Germans from Russia gathering called the Russlanddeutschen Bundestreffen, at Wiesbaden on May 26. The dates for the 2008 tour will be May 20-30.

GRHC has reprinted and has available an outstanding cookbooks: "Kulm, ND Centennial Cookbook” (1992); "Grace Lutheran Church Cookbook: Lehr, ND” (1983); "What's Cookin'? in Lehr, North Dakota, King Homemakers Club” (1967); and “Favorite Recipes: Lehr Thimble Bee, Lehr, ND” (1973); "Grace Baptist Church Jubilee Cookbook: Lehr, ND” (1979); “St. Matthews Lutheran Church 75th Anniversary Cookbook: Napoleon, ND” (1982) and "Favorite Recipes: Lehr, ND" (1961). For more information, contact GRHC.

The award-winning DVD documentaries: "Germans from Russia Food Pantry"; "Heaven Is Our Homeland"; "We'll Meet Again in Heaven; "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" & "Prairie Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains" are available.

The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Convention is June 11-16, 2007, Holiday Inn, Hays, KS (; the Germans from Russia Heritage Society Convention is July 19-22, 2007, Ramkota Hotel, Bismarck, ND (
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 tour, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail:; GRHC website:

April, 2007 column for North Dakota and South Dakota newspapers


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