The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center begins the New Year with an intriguing presentation from Dr. Eric J. Schmaltz, Professor of History at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva. This presentation showcases the incredible story of German-Russian immigrant Pauline (Schlegel) Lehl, who in 1913 settled in Ingersoll and Alva, Oklahoma. From 1913 to 1937, Pauline received 180 letters, mostly in Russian, from relatives in tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. This exchange preceded the First World War and ended with Soviet dictator Stalin’s Great Terror. Sometimes through subversive techniques and coded language to avoid censors, the letters related to outsiders what was happening inside the old country. Many such correspondences were kept safe until after the Cold War, when scholars and relatives began recovering this heritage and restoring transnational family networks.
This Brown Bag presentation will be held on the third Wednesday of the month, January 18 at noon in the Village Church. The presentation is free and open to the public and guests are welcome to bring their lunch.
Dr. Schmaltz has taught Early American History, Modern European History, and World History since 2005. He specializes in Modern Germany and Modern Russia with an emphasis on ethnic and nationality studies, particularly German minorities in Russia and the former USSR, though he has also taken a recent greater interest in comparative German immigration, diaspora, and transnational topics. He earned the B.A. (1994) with a double major in History and German Language with highest honors at Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Following the M.A. (1996) in History at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, he completed the Ph.D. (2002) in History at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. As a graduate student, he also worked for two summers for Professor Michael M. Miller at the North Dakota State University Libraries’ Germans from Russia Heritage Collection in Fargo. In 2014, he was recipient of the John Barton Award for Distinguished Teaching and Service at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Despite significant teaching commitments, he has given more than one hundred talks at public events,
conventions, or conferences over three decades both here and abroad. In more recent years, he has visited both current and former German from Russia communities in Argentina and Ukraine. His various articles, reviews, and German- and Russian-language translations have appeared either online or in newsletters, local newspapers, interdisciplinary academic journals, as well as in international academic anthologies. He is presently working on a number of long-term book publishing projects. Besides serving as a founder and co-executive director of his university’s endowed Institute for Citizenship Studies, he is co-senior editor of its annual journal Civitas: Journal of Citizenship Studies, as well as editor of the quarterly Germans from Russia Heritage Society Heritage Review (Bismarck, North Dakota), editorial review board member of the quarterly Journal of the American Historical Society (Lincoln, Nebraska), member of the Board of Academic Advisors at the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University (Portland, Oregon), and member of the newly established Academic Advisory Board of the Volga German Institute at Fairfield University (Fairfield, Connecticut). He holds membership in both of North America’s German from Russia heritage societies, as well as the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS), the Society for German American Studies (SGAS), the Western Social Science Association (WSSA), and the World History Association (WHA).
The Heritage Center’s Brown Bag Lectures are typically held on the second Wednesday of each month at noon. A variety of interesting topics are presented and discussed for the entertainment and enrichment of our community.
The Heritage Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 507 S. 4th Street in Enid, Okla. For more information about CSRHC programs, please call 580-237-1907 or visit www.csrhc.org.