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Erik A. Dundurs papers

 Collection
Identifier: IHRC575

Scope and Contents

The Erik Dundurs collection is made up of personal papers regarding Erik Dundurs' participation in various political, civic, and Latvian organizations. These materials track his life from the time he arrived in Minnesota. The folders include correspondence, news clippings, announcements, pamphlets, drafts, and finished articles. The audio tapes are recordings of a selection of Dundurs' speeches. The bulk of this collection deals with Dundurs' anti-communist activities in the 1960s and provides a unique glimpse at conservative Republican politics from a minority nationality viewpoint.

Dates

  • 1949-1982

Creator

Language of Materials

English

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

OWNERSHIP & LITERARY RIGHTS

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

HISTORICAL SKETCH

Erik Dundurs was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1922. He left his homeland in 1944 as the Soviets reoccupied Latvia, interrupting his medical studies at the University of Riga. Until 1949, Dundurs lived in German displaced persons camps, where he met and married his wife, Ruta. While in Germany, Dundurs worked in an administrative capacity for the International Refugee Organization; he continued working with the refugee community after settling in the Twin Cities. Dundurs and his wife managed the Lutheran Social Services temporary immigrant housing facility "Welcome Home" until the home closed its doors in 1951. Dundurs then went to work as sales representative (and later as sales manager) for the Fuller Brush Company. In 1954, Dundurs founded the Erik Dundurs Insurance Agency in Minneapolis, which merged with the Lee Carlstrom Agency in 1966. In 1970, after being offered a position as host and moderator of "Night Line," a nightly call-in talk show on the Twin Cities' WLOL Radio, Dundurs sold his interest in the insurance agency. A year later he left the radio station and secured a position with the Department of Treasury's U.S. Savings Bonds Division in Minneapolis, where he worked as area manager until his promotion to district director in 1982. During these years, Dundurs established himself as a spokesperson in the crusade against communism, actively participating in organizations such as the Captive Nations Committee, the Council for the Liberation of Captive Peoples from Soviet Domination, and the Coalition of Patriotic Americans. Through the many organizations of which he was a member, Dundurs took part in varying capacities in Twin Cities Captive Nations Week commemorations. He was often asked to speak on anti-communism and issues related to his homeland to Minnesota civic organizations and Latvian communities in Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, and the West Coast. Dundurs' opinions and commentary were often cited in local media coverage of anti-communist or captive nations-related issues. From the time he arrived in Minnesota, Dundurs was a formidable personality in the Latvian community. He was active in Twin Cities Latvian affairs and served as National Vice President for the American Latvian Association in 1960-1961. After that appointment, he served as counselor to the ALA board until 1968. Dundurs wrote many articles for the Latvian newspaper Laiks (Time), primarily reporting on Latvian political activity in the Midwest. He appeared as a moderator or panelist on over 60 television shows, representing the Latvian community. Serving as chairman of the Republican Party's Nationalities Division, Dundurs actively rallied the support of the Latvian community in state and national Republican campaigns throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. From 1980 to 1984, Dundurs was president of the Friends of the IHRC. Erik Dundurs died in 1984, having served for over 30 years both his Latvian homeland and community in exile, and the United States, the country he came to call home.

Extent

5.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

Papers (1949-1982) of Erik A. Dundurs (1922-1984) include correspondence; memorabilia; newspaper clippings; speeches; scrapbooks; and files on various organizations to which Dundurs belonged. Also included are files regarding a variety of subjects, most dealing with Latvian Americans and United States foreign policy.

Arrangement

The Dundurs collection is organized into the following series: SERIES I - Personal Papers SERIES II - Latvian Organizations SERIES III - Political Organizations SERIES IV - Political Activities SERIES V - Miscellany
Title
Inventory of the Erik A. Dundurs papers.
Author
IHRC Archives
Date
2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding Aid in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Immigration History Research Center Archives Collecting Area

Contact:

612-625-4800