Plains Folk: North Dakota's Ethnic History

William C. Sherman and Playford V. Thorson, editors, Institute for Regional Studies, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, 1986, 431 pages, hardcover.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to include one of North Dakota's most noteable historical books, Plains Folk: North Dakota's Ethnic History. Contributors include Warren A. Henke, Timothy J. Kloberdanz, Theodore B. Pedeliski, and Robert P. Wilkins.

For special attention from pages 117 to 177, Prof. Timothy J. Kloberdanz, Department of Anthropology/Sociology, NDSU, wrote the section for "Volksdeutsche: The East European Germans." This includes: Black Sea Germans in Russia; Black Sea Germans in North Dakota; Mariupol German-Russians; Dobrudja Black Sea Germans; German-Russian Mennonites; Hutterites; Caucasus Germans; Volga Germans; Volhynian Germans; Galician Germans; Bohemian Germans (Sudetendeutsche); German Hungarians (Donaschauben); and Burgenland Germans.

The book's cover includes the following text: "Plains Folk was seven years in the making. The combined effort of scholars who specialize in North Dakota matters: three historians, an anthropologist, a political scientist and a sociologist. Over forty different national groups are discussed: their origins, personalities, customs, successes and failures, even their festivals and their foods."

"Is North Dakota a melting pot? A mosaic? A patchwork quilt? Which group was the largest? The most patriotic? Prestigious? What happened during the land boom years? World War I? The Dirty Thirties? You'll find the answers in this volume. You'll find some surprises: Gypsies, Blacks, Japanese, Bulgarians, Syrians! You'll get a good look at the state's Jews, Poles, French, Ukrainians. Included are new perspectives on the German Peoples who came from both the homeland and eastern Europe; there are also new insights into the settlers of Norwegian and British Isles backgrounds."

"It is a basic source book, with hundreds of illustrations, dozens of maps and tables, census data and an extensive index."

For biographical information about William C. Sherman, go to -

German-Russian villagers pause while mixing clay and straw for the making of sun-dried clay bricks. Photograph courtesy of Marvin and Marion Hartmann.
A pre-1900 wedding celebration in the German colony of Arzis, Bessarabia. The newlyweds stand arm in arm. Photograph courtesy of Marvin and Marion Hartmann.

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Review by Edna Boardman

Plains Folk: North Dakota's Ethnic History

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