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
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.