Dr. Eric Schmaltz publishes new article in Germany

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Dr. Eric Schmaltz publishes new article in Germany

 Book Cover

The book cover of "Overseas: German Speaking Emigrants from Eastern Europe around 1900."
Dr. Eric Schmaltz, Northwestern Oklahoma State University associate professor of history and co-executive director of the Northwestern Institute for Citizenship Studies, has written an article titled “Germans from Russia in America:  A Story of Retention and Transformation” for the book “Overseas: German Speaking Emigrants from Eastern Europe around 1900,” published by The German Cultural Forum of Eastern Europe in Postdam, Germany.

Schmaltz’s article is based on his public presentation to the Forum in December 2010 in Potsdam.  The book cover includes one of Schmaltz’s historic family photographs taken in 1920s North Dakota.

 For more book information visit www.kulturforum.info/de/article/1020652.nach-uebersee.html

Concerning the book’s cover image, Schmaltz said, “The sport of baseball turned into a favorite pastime among German from Russia immigrants assimilating into mainstream American society.  In the early 1920s, the entire Snow Township baseball team was composed of members of the large Hummel and Vetter families, some of my ancestors on the maternal side. The Hummels and Vetters were German Lutherans from Bessarabia, which is now part of Ukraine.  They came to the United States in 1902, and the Vetter homestead near Garrison in McLean County, N.D., even built its own regulation-size baseball diamond, where it hosted competitive games for two summers.  I suppose it is sort of like the 1980s Kevin Costner movie ‘Field of Dreams’!

“This new, handy compilation considers the variety of German-speaking migrations from Central and Eastern Europe to destinations in North and South America, Australia and even New Zealand around the turn of the 19th century,” Schmaltz said.  “Many of these German immigrants at the time sought to escape economic hardships and land shortages, as well as pursue religious or political freedoms, in their newly adopted homelands.  During the migration process, they had to adapt to changing circumstances, but also were able to retain at least some aspects of their traditional identities.”

 Dr. Eric Schmaltz
Dr. Eric Schmaltz

Schmaltz also expressed his gratitude to the German Cultural Forum of Eastern Europe for the special opportunity to present some of his research to a wider international audience, noting their invitation to him to speak in historic Potsdam several years ago.

“This cultural organization has done fine work for many years and maintains a vast global network of contacts, of which I am proud to be a part,” Schmaltz said.  “In future publishing, I hope to expand on some of my ideas regarding global Diasporas and transnationalism topics in connection with the history of ethnic Germans in the former Russian Empire.”

Outside of classroom and university duties, Schmaltz continues to work on and publish his research, serve as editor to two journals, as well as present at regional, national and international gatherings.  He also is often involved in collaborative research endeavors. 

For more information please contact Schmaltz at (580) 327-8526 or by email at ejschmaltz@nwosu.edu.