October 1, 1997
Author of North Dakota Memoir Tours Home State
Philo T. Pritzkau, acclaimed author of Growing Up in North Dakota: A Memoir and now a resident of Massachusetts, will return to tour his home state during the week of October 9-16. He will speak and autograph his new book, published by the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at the NDSU Libraries, at public gatherings in Fargo, Napoleon, Bismarck, and Jamestown. A limited edition of the autographed broadside commemorating Pritzkau's return to and deep love of the North Dakota prairies will be available at each book signing.
The 95-year-old Pritzkau will launch his speaking engagements with an appearance at the NDEA Convention in Fargo on Thursday, October 9. Also in Fargo, on Friday, October 10, the NDSU Libraries will host a private reception in the Main Library and present him with a framed version of the broadside, which will combine a cover illustration with a quote from the book. On Saturday, October ll, at 2-4 pm, he will autograph his book at Fargo's Barnes & Noble Bookstore at 1201 42nd St. SW, before beginning his tour of other North Dakota towns.
Pritzkau then travels to Napoleon to speak and autograph his book at the Wentz Cafe on Sunday, October 12, 1-3 pm. On Monday, October 13, he appears at Maxwell's Bookstore, Kirkwood Mall, 4-5:30 pm, and at the Bismarck Public Library, Meeting Room A, 7-9 pm. On Tuesday, October 14, he will be in Jamestown to speak at Westminster Hall, 1-2 pm; at the College Library for book signing, 2-3 pm; and at Mag's Bookstore, Buffalo Mall, 4-5:30 pm. All events are free and open to the general public.
Pritzkau was born in 1902 in a sodhouse built by his German-Russian immigrant parents near Burnstad in Logan County. Starting his education in a one-room school, he went on to complete his doctorate at Columbia University. Before retiring in 1972, he was Professor of Education at the University of Connecticut.
Growing Up in North Dakota is Pritzkau's vivid memoir of the "pioneer" period of North Dakota's history. Here are his boyhood stories of horse-and-buggy days, filled with haying, harvesting, and threshing, and with hard times, long winters, and close families.
Remembering his last visit to the family homestead in Logan County five years ago, Pritzkau recalls, "I miss the open prairies and the rolling pastures. I want to return to this land once more, where I have so many fond childhood memories. This is why I wrote the book -- to share my memories about growing up on a farm in a German-Russian family on the North Dakota prairies."
Pritzkau recalls attending the country elementary school where many of the rural children spoke German, with English as their second language. He was one of the first students to attend Burnstad High School, with an enrollment of 18 students in 1918. He then attended the University of North Dakota for one semester and returned home to Logan County, teaching in a country school near Napoleon, from 1920-1922. He remembers, "The youngsters would recite their lessons in English, but when it was lunch time or recess on the playground, they spoke German."
Patricia Pritzkau MacLachlan, internationally acclaimed children's author of the Newbery Award winning novel, Sarah, Plain and Tall, is his daughter. Sarah, as well as its sequel Skylark, were both later produced as "Hallmark Hall of Fame" television programs. Traveling with Philo Pritzkau will be his niece, Donna Pritzkau Turner, from Hunter, ND, and Michael M. Miller, Germans from Russia Bibliographer, NDSU Libraries, Fargo.
For further information, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599; Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu.