In Touch with Prairie Living

February 2013

By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo

The Germans from Russia Heritage Society at Bismarck, has published an impressive new publication, “Food and History: Preserving Our Food and History for Future Generations.” The Preface includes: “Food has always been an important part of our German Russian heritage; and it is our desire that this cookbook will help pass these food traditions and a bit of German Russian food history on to future generations. Family traditions and customs, differences in home life, the area from which our ancestors originated, and where they settled played a large part in how the food were prepared, and what the foods were called.”

“The German Russian cooking tradition is a testament of a people’s self-sufficiency, frugality and humble affection for their ancestral origins. Among the Germans in South Russia, plachinta (baked pumpkin turnovers), borscht, savory strudel, fleischkuechle (deep-fried beef and onion turnovers), pfeffernuesse cookies and custard-based kuchen are signature dishes.”

I highly recommend “Food and History” as it contains valuable information on the food culture of the Germans from Russia community in North Dakota and the Northern Plains. The book is available from the GRHC and Germans from Russia Heritage Society at Bismarck. The book is at

GRHC Special Collections has created finding aids for the Ernest B. & Donna M. Borr Collection which includes two Strasburg, N.D., Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church histories and nine prayer books. Very valuable is the 25th jubilee publication of 1914 of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in the German language. The GRHC republished this 1914 publication with an English translation –

The Anne (Roesch) Larson Collection consists of correspondence from 1917-1950, many letters translated from German to English. All of the personal collections of Anne (Roesch) Larson (1913-2003) have been donated to the Northern State University Library Archives, Aberdeen, S.D. Annie was born 1913 on a farm near Roscoe, S.D. Anne appears in the award-winning Prairie Public Television documentary, “Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Gemans from Russia.” In 1975, Anne represented the Germans from Russia at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival at Washington, DC.

Leona (Woeszner) Neu of Ashley, N.D. born in 1925, has donated extensive materials including hymnals, theology, photographs and correspondence. Leona acquired many of the books from the Zion Lutheran Church at Ashley and from persons in McIntosh County. The books are significant to researchers and family historians with signatures from individuals who have since passed away. Book descriptions for the finding aid were prepared by Homer Rudolf, native of Wishek, N.D.

The Ludwig and Christina Graf-Buck Collection is one of the most comprehensive family collections of the GRHC. In 2005, the GRHC published the book, “Graf-Buck Family Heritage”- There are many family photographs including original images from Bessarabia. In 1875, the Buck family from Friedentstal Bessarabia, immigrated to Tripp, Dakota Territory. The family settled at Streeter, N.D. in 1891. By 1885, the Graf family from Neudorf, Glueckstal District, South Russia (today Moldova), immigrated to Tripp, Dakota Territory, and later to Streeter in 1893. Adolph and Wilhelmina Buck Graf had sufficient wealth at Streeter to travel six months in 1913 to Berlin, Germany. They traveled to their birth villages of Neudorf and Friedenstal.

Elizabeth (Bosch) Miltenberger (1915-2010) who lived in Rugby, N.D., donated photographs, correspondence and biographical material relating to the Bosch Miltenberger families of 1880s to 2003 and correspondence from Leo Bosch, Adam Miltenberger and Julius Miltenberger while deployed during World War II.

Tom Mueller, Jamestown, a native of Napoleon, N.D., donated a brick from a sod house. The brick’s dimensions are 11 inches by 4.5 inches. The sod house was built for the John H. Beurkle in 1888 with manure, clay and straw. The location was three miles north of Fredonia, N.D. GRHC published the book authored by Tom Mueller, “The Last Link: Dakota Territory Logan County, 1887” – Tom is author of family histories and old stories reflecting on life in North Dakota.

For further information about the Friends of the GRHC, the 19th Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany (May 16-26, 2013), and donations to the GRHC (such as family histories and photographs), contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 6050, Dept 2080, Fargo, ND 58108-6050 (Tel: 701-231-8416; Email:; the GRHC website:

February column for North Dakota and South Dakota weekly newspapers.

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