We Are Americans: Voices of the Immigrant Experience

By Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

Published by Scholastic Inc., New York City, New York, 2003, 194 pages, hardcover.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to provide this impressive and outstanding book, We Are Americans: Voices of the Immigrant Experience. The authors, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, are well known The American Family Album Series published by Oxford University Press including The German American Family Album and The Scandinavian American Family Album including many photos from the Dakotas.

The "Homesteading the Prairies" section provides these stories: Attracting Immigrants; The Prairie Was a Challenge; Living in a Dug-Out; and Christmas Mumming in the Dakotas. The authors write: The Germans from Russia who settled on the plains from Kansas to North Dakota brought America a special gift: a hardy strain of wheat that could withstand the long, cold winters. For a time in the 1880s, Eureka, a small town in the Dakota Territory, became "the wheat capital of the world." Even today, this red emmer wheat makes the Great Plains one of the largest wheat-growing areas in the world."

Anton Senger, a German from Russia, came to North Dakota as a boy in 1886. He recalled his first night: "I was scared to death, and felt sure some unknown animal would surely eat us up during the night...I didn't sleep a wink. There were millions of mosquitoes. Then every little while a coyote would howl on one side then a fox on another, and to make it more miserable for me, a night owl would let out a screech in between. All of those different noises kept the chill running up and down my back all night and I was glad when morning came."

A German immigrant family stands outside their sod house to post for a picture. The family pig is large than the younger child.
After the Civil War, free homesteads attracted many immigrants. This Norwegian family is taking a coffee break on the North Dakota prairie.
Waving American flags and cheering, Germans from Russia great President Theodore Roosevelt on a visit to Kansas. The change to see the leader of their new country was a special thrill for immigrants.

We Are Americans: Voices of the Immigrant Experience

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