Iron Spirits

Nicholas Churchin Vrooman and Patrice Avon Marvin, editors, Jane and Wayne Gudmundson, photographers. North Dakota Council on the Arts, Fargo, North Dakota, 1982, 116 pages, softcover.


The book Iron Spirits was dedicated "To the memory of the cross makers and to the people of North Dakota who opened their hearts, allowing this story to be told." In the Foreword, former North Dakota Governor Allen I. Olson writes: "This book considers the heritage of the blacksmith-created iron grave crosses which originally were prevalent in the Black Sea are of southern Russia. Catholic immigrants brought the concept with them when they came to North Dakota during the early years of our history. The voices contained in this volume are the voices of those early immigrants and their descendants. Blacksmithing is an epic occupation, fundamental to the development of our agricultural economy. The religious experience which these crosses symbolize is equally fundamental to our civilization."

Phyllis Hertz Feser writes a personal story of growing up as a German Russian Catholic; community in the section "The Memory." Timothy J. Kloberdanz writes in the section "The Study" of the "Iron Lilies, Eternal Roses: German-Russian Cemetery Folk Art."

The blacksmiths included in the book are Schneider family - Jacob, Deport, Jake and Louis, Michael Schmidt, Jacob Friedt, Martin Dillman, John Krim, Philip Kupser, Anton Massine, Joseph M. Hager, Thomas Stebner, Ignatz Bobb, Anton Hutmacher, John Heidt, George Streit, John Howiatow, John Pfeifer, Conrade Segmiller, and Joseph P. Klein.


Iron Spirits

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