The GRHC Special Collections houses, preserves, and makes available items related to Germans from Russia heritage. Included are heirlooms brought to North America by German Russian emigrants and objects displaying cultural heritage that were made or used by people during the early years of Germans from Russia settlement in North America. We also welcome artifacts illustrating the impact of assimilation, while retaining cultural identity, and some items representing on-going traditions created by descendants of German Russian immigrants. Examples of materials in Special Collections are letters, sheet music, books, photographs, certificates, publications, funeral cards and textiles. If you have questions about donations, please visit the GRHC Donations webpage.
Blankets, head coverings, shawls, and other textiles and clothing donated to the GRHC are housed at the Emily P. Reynolds Historic Costume Collection located on the NDSU campus.
Most donated books are catalogued and kept in our Research Library. To search for these GRHC cataloged items, click on the main NDSU Library Catalog, enter a search topic and select Germans from Russia in the search drop box to the right.
Other catalogued books including hymnals, theology books, songbooks, and sermon books as well as a variety of Special Collections’ materials can be found using a finding aid.
What is a finding aid? A finding aid is a document that features detailed information about a collection contained within an archive. Each searchable collection within the GRHC Special Collections will have a finding aid [an ongoing process]. Use the links below to search and view the GRHC collections.
Links to GRHC Collections:
- NDSU Library Catalog - Locating most catalogued books & publications.
- Finding aids
- Textiles and Clothing Collection Photographs
- Historic Photographs - Collections of photographs housed within Special Collections that have been mounted online.
- GRHC Collections - An alphabetical list of GRHC collections. [an ongoing process]
Collections available online:
- Ernest E. Zeiszler Collection - Lutheran/Reformed German families of Crimea, Hutchinson County, SD, and Mercer County, ND.
- Father William C. Sherman Photograph Collection - Photographs of Northern Plain Homesteads.
- Johannes and Christiana (Ehni) Schock Letter & Photograph Collection - Letters from German-Russian refugees post-WWII.
- Thomas J. Hoffman Collection - Catholic German families in Europe and North America.
Examples of special collections at the GRHC:
- The Herbert Poppke Collection is a comprehensive collection of cultural identification materials and many specialized maps.
- The Dr. Adam Giesinger Collection is an extensive collection by a renowned historian and author. It contains correspondence, speeches, research, publications, photographs and electronic media relating to various topics on the Germans from Russia. Also contains materials related to books authored by Giesinger, such as From Catherine to Khrushchev: The Story of Russia's Germans.
- The Glückstal Colonies Research Association Collection features a large grouping of research materials pertaining to histories of German families who settled in Glückstal, as well as other genealogical resources, such as publications.
- The Ron Vossler Collection contains correspondence and periodical clippings relating to Germans from Russia and from 1917 to 1937 and materials related to books written by him. A primary focus of this collection is the “famine letters” detailing the hardships of that era.
- The GRHC also features several photographic collections including the Graf-Buck, Jolenta (Fischer) Masterson, and Gustin-Bullinger collections. Images include family and individual portraits and snapshots of people and buildings, both in Europe and North America.
- The Leona (Woeszner) Neu Collection focuses on music/hymnals and theology.