Erik A. Dundurs, Papers, 1949-1982

Immigration History Research Center
University of Minnesota

Abstract | Provenance/Processing | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Container List

IHRC #137
Erik A. Dundurs,
Papers, 1949-1982
5.5 Linear Feet (11 boxes) and 1 box audio tapes


Erik A. Dundurs (1922-1984) was one of the leading activists in the Latvian American community in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Born in Riga, Latvia, he later emigrated and eventually settled in the United States. His papers provide a rich documentary material pertaining to both Latvian Americans and Latvia. Dundurs was also involved in numerous projects related to fighting communism, as well as the liberation of the European cative nations during the Cold War era.  

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Erik A. Dundurs gave this collection to Immigration History Research Center Collection in 1983.  There are no restrictions on its use.

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Biographical 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 appeard 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.

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Scope and Content

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.  The Dundurs collection is organized into the following series:


I. Personal Papers

This series consists of records regarding Dundurs' activity as journalist, speaker, and radio personality.  The folders contain examples of his articles in both Latvian and English, copies of speeches and scripts, and correspondence regarding speaking engagements and television appearances.

II. Latvian Activities

This series encompasses Dundurs' activity in both the local and national Latvian community.  Arranged alphabetically, the records here are grouped either by organization or activity, containing correspondence and Latvian promotional materials.  Of particular interest are the contents of two scrapbooks that focus on Latvian resettlement in the Twin Cities area after World War II, with newspaper clippings about the Latvian DPs in Minnesota from 1949 to 1951.

III. Political Organizations

Dundurs' anti-communist and captive nations political activities are reflected in this richly informative series, encompassing correspondence and promotional materials from a range of local and national anti-communist organizations.  These papers cover issues such as Captive Nations Week, visits of Soviet leaders, and U.S. relations, both political and economic, with the Soviet Union.  Correspondencee with U.S. government leaders highlights captive nations issues and urges political action to support the liberation of the Baltic States.  Particularly well-documented is Dundurs' participation in the Committee for the Liberation of Captive Peoples From Under Soviet Domination.

IV. Political Activities

This series describes Dundurs' extensive involvement with the GOP Nationalities Division, both at state and national levels.  His activity in political campaigns from 1960 to 1976 is arranged chronologically and includes (though with little detail) Dundurs' own campaign for the state legislature in 1966.  Though primarily concerned with Republican politics, these papers also include statements and brochures from opposition parties.  Particularly well-documented are the senatorial and presidential campaigns of 1964.

V. Miscellany

In addition to newspaper clippings and miscellaneous correspondence, this series contains a number of folders arranged alphabetically by issues not attributable to Dundurs' participation in any one particular organization.  Materials in these folders relate primarily to issues and incidents pertaining to the Soviet Union.

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Container List

Box Folder Folder Title Year(s)
1 1 Erik Dundurs, Personal
1 2 Articles, Editorials, and Press Releases - English
1 3 Articles, Editorials, and Press Releases - Latvian
1 4 Articles - Pro and Con Magazine 1970-1971
1 5 Laiks Correspondence 1962-1972
1 6 Laiks Articles 1959-1980
1 7 Speaking Engagements (various) 1957-1970
1 8 Speaking Engagements (selected) 1963-1966
1 9 Television Broadcasts 1958-1970
2 1 Television Broadcasts 1971-1977
2 2 Radio Broadcasts - "Spotlight on Latvia" 1979-1981
2 3 WLOL Radio 1969-1971
2 4 WLOL Radio - Fan Mail 1970-1971
       American Latvian Association
2 5               Miscellaneous Records 1953-1967
2 6               Miscellaneous Records 1968-1982
2 7               Congress - Minneapolis 1979
3 1               Soviet Propaganda Through U.S. Mails No Date
3 2 Daugavas Vanagi of Minnesota 1965-1981
3 3 Divreizdivi 1966
3 4 Fraternitas Latviensis No Date
3 5 Fraternitas Latviensis - Aptauja un Atbildes Rakstam No Date
3 6 Latvian Art, Theatre, and Music in Minnesota 1951-1952
3 7 Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church / National Council of Churches 1958-1959
3 8 Latvian DPs in Minnesota (Scrapbook) 1949-1950
3 9 Latvian DPs in Minnesota 1949-1953
3 10 Latvian Legation / Council of Latvian Organizations in Minnesota 1963-1966
3 11 Latvian Legation - Latvian Information Bulletin 1969
3 12 Latvians in Minnesota
Latviesu Apvieniba Minesota
3 13               Scrapbook 1951
3 14               Miscellaneous Records 1955-1966
4 1               Miscellaneous Records 1969-1971
4 2               Miscellaneous Records 1972-1981
4 3 Latviesu Teatru Dienas - Minneapolis 1975
Americans for Congressional Action to Free te Baltic States
4 4               Miscellaneous Records 1961-1967
4 5               Commemorative Baltic Postage Stamp Initiative 1967
4 6 Amicus 1969-1970
4 7 Captive Nations Committee of Minnesota 1967-1976
4 8 Christian Anti-Communist Crusade 1962-1973
Coalition of Patriotic Americans
4 9               Miscellaneous Records 1969-1970
5 1               Feedback on "Open Letter to the President" 1969
5 2 Conservative Citizens Committee 1962-1963
Council for the Liberation of Captive Peoples from Soviet Domination
5 3               Miscellaneous Records 1956-1968
5 4               Captive Nations Week 1959
5 5               Captive Nations Week 1960
5 6               Captive Nations Week 1961
5 7               Captive Nations Week 1962
5 8               Captive Nations Week 1963
6 1               Captive Nations Week 1964
6 2               Captive Nations Week 1965
6 3               Captive Nations Week 1966
6 4               Captive Nations Week 1967
6 5               Captive Nations Week 1968
6 6               Captive Nations Week 1969-1974
6 7               Committee to Warn of the Arrival of Communist Merchandise on the Local      Business Scene 1962-1963
6 8               Communist Party of Minnesota 1961-1964
6 9               House Un-American Activities Committee 1964
6 10               Hungary 1963
6 11               Khrushchev's Visit to the U.S. 1959
6 12               Mikhail Menshikov 1959
6 13               Mikoyan Visit / Dr. Lund-Quist 1959
7 1               Paris Summitt Conference 1960
7 2               Sibley / Keith / Rosen Affair 1963-1964
7 3               25th Annviersary of Soviet Aggression in the Baltic States 1965
7 4               U.S. - Soviet Cultural Exchanges 1959-1972
7 5               U.S. - U.S.S.R. Consular Treaty 1967
7 6               Minnesota Coalition of Patriotic Societies / Lerner-Warren 1960-1961
7 7               Minnesota Council of Americanization 1959-1964
7 8               Minnesota Press Club 1967-1969
7 9               Minnesota Young Americans for Freedom 1965-1971
GOP Nationalities Division
8 1               General No Dates
8 2               Miscellaneous Records 1964-1970
8 3               "Nationalities Reporter" 1960-1971
8 4               Captive Nations Week 1969
Republican Party of Minnesota - Nationalities Division
8 5               Miscellaneous Records 1968-1971
8 6               ABMs 1969
8 7               CBS and "Loyal Opposition" 1970
8 8               Middle East Report 1968
8 9               Minneapolis Political Activity 1963-1979
8 10               Latvian-American Republican National Committee 1968-1970
9 1               Political Letters (Personal) 1974-1979
Political Campaigns
9 2               Nixon - Lodge 1960
9 3               P. Kenneth Peterson 1960
9 4               Citizens Committee for Goldwater - Miller 1964
9 5               Citizens Committee of Nationalities for Goldwater-Miller 1964
9 6               Citizens Committee of Nationalities for Goldwater-Miller (Humphrey and National Lawyers Guild) 196
9 7               Goldwater-Miller 1964
9 8               Hubert Humphrey 1964

Box Folder Folder Title Year(s)
9 9               Dundurs' Legislative Campaign 1966
9 10               United Citizens for Nixon - Nationalities Division 1968
9 11               Latvians for President Ford 1976
9 12 Colonialism
9 13 Defection of Simas Kudirka
9 14 Foreign Aid
9 15 Endel Kuik/Estonian Movie
10 1 Laos and the Congo
10 2 Memorial Day for Baltic Deportees 1950-1955
10 3 Minnesota Foreign Policy forum 1975-1976
10 4 John Noble - "I Was a Slave in Russia" 1959
10 5 Vietnam 1965-1968
10 6 Vietnam Moratorium Background Materials 1969
10 7 Task Force on Vietnam and Southeast Asisa 1967-1968
10 8 Wheat Sale to Russia 1964
10 9 Misc. Pamphlets, Brochures, and Reports
10 10 Correspondence 1958-1964
11 1 Correspondence 1965-1982
11 2 Newspaper Clippings - English
11 3 Newspaper Clippings - Latvian

The following titles have been removed and placed in the IHRC monographs and serials collection:

        S.O.S.---A Call from 100,000 of Your Neighbors in Distress (International Refugee Organization, 1950)
        Silde, Adolfs. Latvijas Valsts Problemas (Stuttgart-Nice: Atlantas Apgads, 1964)

        American Latvian Association publications:

        Latvia, 1968
        ALA Zurnals
           Nr. 24 (1978)
            Nr. 25 (1979)

The following reel-to-reel audio tapes have been removed and placed in the IHRC audio tape collection:

        Fifty Year Introduction (ALA) :30
        Independence Day Program (Latvian Relief Assoc., Reel 1 of 2)
        Independence Day Program (Latvian Relief Assoc., Reel 2 of 2)
        Latvia as an Independent State (ALA) 4:12
        Latvian Youth Under Soviet Occupation (ALA) 4:45
        Latvia's Economy Under Soviet Occupation (ALA) 5:12
        Latvia's Political Situation Under Soviet Occupation (ALA)  4:37
        November 18, 1918 (ALA) 3:45
        Prof. Lejins on ALA 6:36
        Speech by Alfreds Berzins 10:50
        The United States' Foreign Policy Toward Latvia (ALA) 3:52

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