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Manuscripts by Subject - Groups / Organizations - #10291

Title: Germans from Russia Heritage Society

Dates: 1839-1981

Collection Number: 10291

Quantity: 2.5 feet

Abstract: The collection consists of records of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society including minutes, newsletters, scrapbook, and correspondence, and German-Russian genealogical information consisting of notes, photographs, family data sheets, and audio tapes.

Provenance: The provenance for this collection is unknown.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs. Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.



On January 9, 1971, the North Dakota Historical Society of Germans from Russia (NDHSGR) was formed in Bismarck, ND. The Society’s first president was District Judge Ray Friederich, and meetings were held at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Incorporators of the organizing group included Friederich, Arthur Leno, LaVern C. Neff, Dr. Armand Bauer, and Pastor William H. Simpfenderfer. Neff served as Vice-President, and Simpfenderfer was elected treasurer. Mrs. Walter Essig became active secretary, succeeding acting secretary Leno.

The name of the society was changed afer a vote on July 14, 1979 to the Germans from Russia Heritage Society (GRHS). Three years later, the Society moved to East Central Avenue. As resources and activities expanded, and funds were raised, the Society moved to new a new building, 1125 West Turnpike Avenue, in December 2000.

According to the Society’s website, the GRHS “functions as a non-profit, non-denominational, non-political organization, incorporated under the laws of the State of North Dakota. Its aims are educational and social. Its purpose is to bring together people who are interested in discovering the common history unique to Germanic-Russian ethnics and to preserve the many elements of their rich heritage.” Furthermore, “The Society collects, lists, and catalogues published materials and personal documents that tell of the European migrations and exodus to the United States and Canada and also of the pioneer life on the plains” (Germans From Russia Heritage Society 2005). These materials can be accessed at their Bismarck International Headquarters library.

Germans From Russia Heritage Society. 2005. A Brief History of The Germans from Russia Heritage Society. (accessed December 1, 2009).

Germans From Russia Heritage Society. GRHS Board of Directors. (accessed December 1, 2009).

Germans From Russia Heritage Society. Research Collection. Archival manuscript collection
10291. State Historical Society of North Dakota, State Archives.

North Dakota State University Libraries, Germans From Russia Heritage Collection. 2009. About Us. (accessed December 1, 2009).


(Phase box) Scrapbook documenting the formation and first years of the Society: post cards, newspaper clippings, membership forms, songs, notes, newsletters, news releases, forms, invitations, programs, convention material, reports, photographs, charter members listing, and ephemera, 1967-1972


Box 1:
1 By-laws, constitution, organizational history material, resolution (establishing
regulations to govern organization of local chapters issuance of charter to local chapters form of by-laws to govern local chapters and reporting provisions), chapter charter (blank), 1970-1972
2 Meeting minutes – organizational meeting, organizational caucus, Board of
Directors, 1970 & 1973, 1980-1981
3 Meeting agendas and notices, 1971-1977
4 Memoranda, 1972, 1980-1981
5 Correspondence, 1970-1976
6 Correspondence – Father William Sherman (with “The Germans from Russia”
published in Sociologia Internationalis, Volume 6, booklet 2, 1968; and maps used in the article and in Sherman’s Master’s thesis, “Assimilation in a North Dakota German Russian Community,” 1965 University of North Dakota), 1965-1972
7 Membership (renewal forms, list of members, membership invitation, membership card, honor of member Murray Baldwin), 1972-1978
8 Member Paul E. Reeb survey, 1975
9 Convention material (annual conventions and international conventions and material from convention dances), 1970-1979
10 Centennial and convention committees (with photographs), 1971-1973
11 Activities (programs, music, Bismarck Centennial Celebration, dances, dinners, travel), 1971-1978
12 Financial material (statement and report), 1972-1974
13 Newsletters (Dakota Pioneer Chapter, Bismarck Chapter, and American Society),
14 Work Papers, no. 3, 4, 8 & 9, 1972
15 American Historical Society of Germans from Russia publications – Work Paper
3, February 1970; “A Tribute to William Frederick Urbach: Founder of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia,” by Theodore C. Wenzlaff
16 Brochures (North Dakota and national societies), 1971-1981
17 Oral history project (Art Leno)
18 Envelopes and letterhead
19 Dr. Karl Stumpp, honorary president elect – publications, articles, book order
forms, news releases, 1976
20 State Historical Society of North Dakota (as repository for the Germans from
Russia Heritage Society’s records), 1971-1972
21 Family Data Sheets, A-G
22 Family Data Sheets, H-M
23 Family Data Sheets, N-S
24 Family Data Sheets, T-Z
25 Pedigree charts and family trees
26 Biographies
27 Elsie Louise Schuetzle Huether – History and Origin of the Germans from Russia (1970), two copies of “The Germans from Russia: Our Ancestors,” talk (1971), 1970-1971
28 The Fischer Family Chronicle (copy) by Mathias J. Fischer (manuscript), 1965
29 Samples of genealogical records, the Mehlhaff family, from Dr. Stumpp’s book
30 Church Histories – Carbon Baptist Church (50th Anniversary booklet), St. Paul’s
Lutheran Church, Monango, ND (50th Anniversary booklet), Peace Lutheran Church, Merricourt, ND (50th Anniversary of dedication of building), sketch of the Diocese of Tiraspol, Russia (by John E. Pfeiffer), 1953-1971
31 Mennonites (to Kansas) – copied page from book, Mennonite Life (March 1973),
description of early houses among the Mennonites (news clipping transcriptions), Mennonite research fellowship proposal of lectures
32 Letters to the Imperial Russian Consulate, Chicago, from M. M. Wetzstein, Glen
Ullin, ND, 1910
33 Certificates, program, contract (copies), 1884-1931
34 Passenger lists (vessels Leipzig, Herder and Hammonia), 1876 & 1880
35 Acceptance of two new members by the village of Cassel, Russia, dated December
5, 1839
36 Lists of research books, books for sale, order forms, books donated, bibliographies,
research collections
37 Notes and addresses
38 Newspaper clippings and transcriptions of clippings, 1905-1971
39 Publications (in English) – “the Russian Germans: Migration of the First Russian
Germans to Dakota,” Friedrich Mutschelknaus, Nebraska History 49:4, 1968 (copy); Notes on the Bauer translation of Richard Sallet’s Russian-German Settlements in the United States; “Eureka, S. D. Was Once The World’s Wheat Mart” (copy); How To Find My German Ancestors and Relatives, Dr. Heinz F. Friederichs, 1969; “Sixty Years of Service: The Story of St. Joseph’s Hospital” (Dickinson, ND) (two copies)
40 Publications (in German)

Box 2:
1 Articles from Heimatbuch of Bessarabians (and tables of contents), 1950-1971
2 Dakota Freie Press (history [English] and clippings [German])
3 Yearbooks/home calendars – Bessarabian Heimatkalender, Heimatkalender der
Bessarabiendeutschen, Heimatbuch der Oftumfiedler, Heimatbuch der Deutschen aus Rußland, Heimatbuch Der Ostumsiedler (indexes only), Heimatbuch der Deutschen aus Russland (indexes only), 1951-1972
4 Volk Auf Dem Weg, 1970-1973
5 Heimat Im Glauben, 1971-1973
6 Photographs
(loose) Audio tapes and sound recording tape reels: Sing & Jokes – Art Leno, North Dakota Society of Germans from Russia, speech – Rev F. W. Sherman, Judge Ray Friederich, Rugby Chairman, January 9, 1971; Art Leno Jager Liedt, 1st part cool water; Dr. Karl Stumpf, July 15, 1971, BJC 8:30 PM #2 gifts and close, Art Leno; blank reel “Art Leno”; Art Leno – 1st tape at G. P. hall of 4 seasons; #1 stereo – Art Leno, Dr. Karl Stumpf, July 15, 1971, BJC 8:30 PM #1 Art Leno

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