In Touch with Prairie Living

May 2014

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

Regarding the 20th Anniversary Journey to the Homeland tour for 15-25 May 2014, because of the rising tensions and recent events in Ukraine, we have decided not to include Odessa in our travel plans. We will still travel to Germany and include an alternate itinerary for the dates originally scheduled for Ukraine. Travel will include visiting additional historic sites relating to the Germans from Russia. Our main concern is safety for the tour members and we made the decision based on the latest news coming from the Odessa area of Ukraine.

The impressive new photographic book, “Visions of the Prairie: My North Dakota Journey,” has been written by David Paukert. The book is a complete compendium of Paukert’s most beautiful and moving images of the last 20 years. Journey across the back roads of North Dakota with photos of prairie churches, farmsteads, school house, and small towns that define the rich heritage of the state. Paukert also includes lovely poetry which accompanies the photographs by North Dakota farmer and poet, Terry Jacobsen.

Former North Dakota Lieutenant Governor, Rosemarie Myrdal, writes in the Foreword: “David has photographed the empty churches and farm houses, barns and elevators. He has captured the beauty of the prairie and its nostalgic symbols for us to enjoy. We can be grateful for the beauty on these pages and perhaps we will be inspired to drive country roads collecting our own visions of the ever changing North Dakota prairie.”

“Visions of the Prairie: My North Dakota Journey” is available at – or contact the GRHC.

The GRHC continues to process materials and finding aids for Special Collections. Finding aids are descriptive summaries of archival collections. Special Collections is nearing 150 finding aids for processed collections, which are available online at – Below are a few collections we have decided to highlight this month.

Donated as the St. Therese, Little Flower Church Collection are 24 theology, prayer, folk, and reference books in the German, English, and Latin languages, dating from 1904-1964; and prayer and funeral cards, 1961-1968. The collection was donated by Father Tom Graner on behalf of the Little Flower Church, Rugby, N.D.

The Viola (Kruckenberg) Schielke Collection, Beulah, N.D., consists of 20 theology, hymnals, history, and education books in the German language, dating from 1880 to 1935; a German newsletter, “Volksblatt,” from 1958; and a hand-spun wool shawl, circa 1880s, which was made by Salome Kruckenberg in Alt-Elft, Bessarabia.

The collection of Samuel Rudolf, Fargo, N.D., formerly of Wishek, N.D., contains books and documents, dating from the 1880s to the 1990s, that relate to the Rudolf, Ketterling, Ruff, and Schauer families.

The Minot Chapter of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society Scrapbook Collection, donated by Mary Ebach, Rugby, N.D., consists of six scrapbooks of the Minot Chapter (Landsleute) of GRHS, 1971-2003; four award ribbons; and convention and organization materials. The six scrapbooks contain event materials, articles, photographs, programs, newspaper clippings, reports, flyers, certificates, letters, notices, obituaries, convention material, etc. from GRHS and the Minot Chapter. The scrapbooks also contain information on the founding and history of the organizations.

The collection of Alvina Schurr, Victoria, British Columbia, includes 12 photographs of the Schurr, Hartwig, Bauer, Peltz, Redman, and Grenz families dating from the 1880s to the 1920s. The photographs are primarily of family, couple, and wedding portraits. The other images are of farm scenes, which were taken on the August Bauer farm and the Wilhelm “William” Schurr farm.

The GRHC has also been working on digital projects, such as uploading images onto Flickr. The GRHC currently has about 8,000 images of exhibits, textiles, Special Collections, Homeland Tours, Argentina, homesteads, prairie crosses, churches, cemeteries, Dakota Memories Heritage Tours, and much more. These images are available at –

For additional information about the Friends of the GRHC, the 21st Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany (May 14-24, 2015), and donations to the GRHC (such as special collections, 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:

May 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