Sidney Heitman Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project Collection
Scope and Contents
The Sidney Heitman Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project consists of materials dating from 1902 to 2005 with the bulk falling from 1976 and 1978, which was the height of the study project's activities. Materials include correspondence, oral histories, slides, photographs, financial documents, field reports, church histories, obituaries, and newspaper clippings.
Documentation regarding the study project's operations is the foundation of the collection. The study project collected conference papers presented by staff members as well as undergraduate research papers to exemplify research topics. The Larimer County Naturalization Petitions contain genealogical information on several of the people staff members later interviewed for oral histories. The largest portion of the collection is the oral histories of early immigrants to Colorado. There are also some photographs of funeral scenes, family portraits, and Germans from Russia architecture. A few phonographs and 8-track tapes are also in the collection, as examples of Germans from Russia music styles.
- Creation: 1902-2005
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1976-1978
Restrictions on Use
Some oral history tapes and correspondence permanently restrict the use of individual names. Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
During the eighteenth century, Catherine the Great, and later her grandson Alexander I, invited Germans to settle rich farm lands along Russia's Volga River. Those that settled the region came to be known as Germans from Russia, or Volga Germans. The Volga Germans were granted considerable autonomy in matters of language, law, religion, and social customs by the Russian Government. Political turmoil in Russia and changes to their autonomy at the end of the nineteenth century motivated thousands of Volga Germans to immigrate to the United States, where they settled on the plains of Kansas, Colorado, and the Dakotas. In the late 1970s, Volga Germans were Colorado's second largest ethnic group.
Dr. Sidney Heitman established the Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project in 1975 at Colorado State University. The development of a comprehensive collection of material on Volga Germans in Colorado and on the broader subject of Volga Germans was a high priority of the project. The project consisted of more than ten staff members ranging in responsibilities of researcher to archivist to consultant. Sidney Heitman, James Long, Kenneth Rock, John Newman, and Timothy Kloberdanz were the primary staff members during the project's four year existence. The study project consisted of five objectives: research, teaching and training, publication and dissemination of information, historic preservation, and public service.
The study project was part of the University's International and Intercultural Education programs in the 1970s. The University, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as public and private organizations jointly supported the project. Reduced funding for the 1979 academic year brought the end of the official work of the project. Many history professors involved in the project continued to contribute research and findings to the collection long after the official end of the study project.
Colorado State University's Archives and Special Collections were fairly new when the Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project began. Archivist John Newman and project coordinator Sidney Heitman established the collection in the department as research was conducted and staff members collected materials. To memorialise Dr. Heitman's work, the collection was named The Sidney Heitman Germans from Russia Collection in 1993. University Archive gained full ownership of the collection in 1996.
12.5 linear feet (3 record cartons, 10 document cases, 1 flat box, 1 framed item, 1 oversize folder)
Language of Materials
History professor Sidney Heitman established the Colorado State University Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project in 1975. The study project focused on northern Colorado and conducted extensive interviews with Germans from Russia. The four-year project focused on the influence Germans from Russia had on Colorado, since they constituted the state's second largest ethnic group. The development of a comprehensive collection of material on Volga Germans in Colorado was a high priority of the project. The collection includes project files, oral history tapes and transcripts, conference papers, undergraduate student research, clippings, slides, and sound recordings.
The collection consists of 4 series in 3 record cartons, 10 document cases, 1 flat box, 1 oversize folder, 1 framed item:
Series 1: Project files, 1968-1990 and undated
Subseries 1.1: Correspondence of project members, 1968-1980 and undated
Subseries 1.2: Finances, 1976-1978
Subseries 1.3: Miscellany, 1974-1990 and undated
Series 2: Printed materials, 1907-1996 and undated
Subseries 2.1: Correspondence, 1975-1996 and undated
Subseries 2.2: Field reports, 1975-1976
Subseries 2.3: Information bulletins, 1976-1979
Subseries 2.4: Miscellany, 1907-1978 and undated
Subseries 2.5: Clippings, 1974-1978
Subseries 2.6: Research generated, 1931-1992 and undated
Series 3: Oral histories, slides, and photographs, circa 1907-2005 and undated
Subseries 3.1: Oral histories, 1907-1985 and undated
Subseries 3.2: Slides and photographs, 1926-2005 and undated
Series 4: Miscellany, 1902-1989 and undated
The Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project directly placed items into the Special Collections Department of Colorado State University Libraries throughout the project's existence. Formal ownership transferred to Colorado State University Archives and Special Collections in 1996. An accrual to the collection from Dr. Kenneth Rock, a participant in the project, occurred in January 2018.
Colorado State University Libraries operates a website devoted to the influence of Germans from Russia on Colorado (https://lib2.colostate.edu/gfr/). It contains selected audio files of oral histories, transcripts, scanned photographs, and the finding aid. All materials concerning Germans from Russia on the website are located in the Sidney Heitman Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project Collection.
Publications and papers not created by the Study Project were separated out and placed in the Germans from Russia Collection, held by Manuscripts in Archives and Special Collections. These materials include newspaper clippings and maps of Germans from Russia in the United States. Books which support both the Sidney Heitman Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project and the Germans from Russia Collection have been cataloged and can be found in the library's online catalog.
Not all items originally collected by the study project remain in the collection. Items removed were deemed illegible or unrelated to the collection. Illegible photocopies of A.C. Bauman's personal papers and sermons were discarded. Correspondence between members of the study project and Mr. Bauman are in Series 1, Subseries 1. David G. Rempel donated illegible photocopied documents from the Soviet Archives that were also discarded.
Many people re-arranged the Germans from Russia Collection since the 1970s. In 2002 the collection underwent re-processing and only materials directly related to the study project remain in the Sidney Heitman Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project Collection. The rest of the materials are in a separate Germans from Russia Collection held in Manuscripts. Processing of the collection was completed in December 2003. As the materials were being rearranged, they were inserted in acid-free folders. The majority of metal fasteners were removed and replaced with plastic clips as needed. All rubber bands and many self-stick notes were removed. Ditto sheets were removed when the duplicated pages existed. Newspaper clippings were inserted between sheets of acid-free paper. Loose photographs remain in individual folders of correspondence. All photographs and slides were inserted in archival sleeves, folders, or boxes. Duplicates of items beyond two were discarded.
Processing of the accrual to the collection was completed January 2018. Paper clips were removed as were rusted staples. Negatives and photographs were sleeved and deteriorating folders were replaced with acid-free folders. Papers, including newspaper clippings, received no preservation treatment. These records maintain their original order.
Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Two identical copiesof the same item are indicated by the phrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry forprinted materials and the phrase "2 sets available" for oral history tapes.
- Heitman, Sidney. (Person)
- Colorado State University. Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project. (Organization)
- Guide to the Sidney Heitman Germans from Russia in Colorado Study Project Collection
- Edited Full Draft
- Prepared by Colleen M. McCorkell; revised by Victoria Lopez-Terrill
- Copyright 2004, 2018
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA