Scope and Contents
Access to Collection
Title: Rev. Richards A. Zariņš papers
Identifier/Call Number: M1938
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Language of Material:
44.0 Linear feet
(96 manuscript boxes, 7 flat boxes)
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1946-2000
Date (inclusive): 1883-2008, bulk 1946-2000
Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 36-48 hours in advance. For more
information on paging collections, see the department's website:
Private archives of Latvian American reverand, author, bibliophile and collector Rev. Richards Zariņš contains his personal
papers and the records of The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York. The materials document the life of Latvian
community in New York after the arrival of World War II refugees and show the significant role of Rev. Richards Zariņš as
a leader of community.
Language of Materials:
Most of materials are in Latvian, with a small part in English and occasional documents in German, Swedish, Estonian and Lithuanian
Zariņš, Richards, 1913-2006
This collection was given by Christopher Zarins, Bertram Zarins, and Antra Thrasher to Stanford University, Special Collections
in February, 2013.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the
Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6064. Consent
is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission
from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/spc/using-collections/permission-publish.
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research
and educational purposes.
[identification of item], Rev. Richards A. Zariņš papers (M1938). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford
University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
Rev. Richards Zariņš was born in 1913 in Latvia, in the Gaujiena parish in Northern Vidzeme. In 1938, he graduated from the
Faculty of Theology, University of Latvia. The same year, Rev. Zariņš was ordained by Dr.T. Grinbergs, Archbishop of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church of Latvia. Rev. Zariņš worked as an assistant pastor of the Dome congregation of Riga (1938-1944); taught
religion in a public school and at gymnasium (high school); edited a newspaper, "Lutheran Weekly"; and was a liturgist for
Lutheran services for the Latvian broadcasting services in Riga.
As Soviet military forces reentered Latvia in autumn of 1944, Rev. Zariņš, his family, and thousands of his fellow countrymen
fled the country and became refugees. For two years, Rev. Zariņš served Latvian Lutheran refugees in Sweden, mainly in Westmanland,
and for a short time did the same in Denmark.
In 1946, Rev. Zariņš accepted an offer to become a new pastor in The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York. The
church was reorganized in 1946: the Latvian Lutherans joined the United Lutheran Synod of New York, a constituent of the United
Lutheran Church in America. A new constitution was adopted.
Rev. Zariņš arrived in New York in November 1946, and was ordained in December 1946. For the next 50 years, his life was identified
with the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York. Rev. Zariņš became a prominent leader of the Church. In addition
to his pastoral duties, Richards Zariņš was a writer and a collector of primary historical sources. His family was always
the most important part of his life.
Due to an influx of Latvian refugees, mainly from DP camps in Germany, the congregation grew from 200 in 1946 to 2000 in 1952.
About 45,000 displaced persons of Latvian origin came to the USA, including 37,000 people of the Lutheran faith. Approximately
10,000 Latvians arrived through New York. Rev. Zariņš and members of the Latvian community made a huge effort on behalf of
these refugees, first in bringing them to the USA, and then helping them to successfully adapt to their new lives. The Latvian
Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York became the largest Latvian community organization in New York, and also the largest
local Latvian organization in the USA.
Under the leadership of Rev. Zariņš, the Church provided spiritual guidance, religious services, and support for the members
of the congregation. In addition to these activities, the Church assumed many other functions. The congregation served as
an inclusive center of Latvian cultural and social life. The Church supplied a very much needed order within the immigrant
community life and provided a certain structure through which the immigrants could recreate a "Little Latvia". During the
first decade or so after the World War II, a belief was very much alive among Latvian immigrants that the regaining of Latvian
independence would take place in just a matter of few years, and that a return to the homeland would be possible.
Sunday schools were introduced for the first time in 1947. Participating children came chiefly from newly arrived immigrant
families and were instructed in the Latvian language. Summer camps and Boy and Girl Scout activities followed. The Church
and community developed welfare work and established funds to provide assistance to needy congregants. The Ladies' Aid Society
not only provided service at social gatherings, but also conducted charity work.
The New York Latvian community was fortunate in having a number of professional musicians, artists and writers. Having built
strong communal ties in the displaced persons camps, Latvians in New York continued to organize in a variety of ways. A choir
grew stronger and a new theater group was created. The parish house that was bought in 1947 provided space for children's
When The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York started its own newsletter "Baznīcas Ziņas" in 1951, Rev. Zariņš
was the obvious choice as editor. Over the years, he published numerous articles in this publication, as well as in the periodicals
"Ceļa Biedrs", "Universitas", and "Laiks". Rev. Zariņš did research in church history on such topics as: Latvian Lutheran
Pastors in America, 1896-1946; the Swedish Archbishop Nathan Soederblom; the first Lutheran Bishop of Latvia, Kārlis Irbe,
and others. His research interests also included the early Latvian immigration, cultural history, sacral music and opera.
Rev. Zariņš was an avid book collector, and over the years he gathered a library which included many rare editions.
Scope and Contents
The collection of Rev. Richards A. Zariņš contains his personal papers and the records of The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran
Church of New York. It documents the life of a Latvian American Lutheran reverend, World War II refugee, prolific writer,
and collector of historical sources. It also provides a record of the life of a vibrant Latvian American community in which
Zariņš played a leading role. The dual character and size makes this collection one of the most complete and original private
archives of Latvian materials outside Latvia. Where materials were identified and categorized by Rev. Richards Zariņš, that
arrangement has been preserved and expanded to include the unclassified portions of the collection.
The papers are divided into 12 separate series: 1) Personal papers; 2) Correspondence; 3) Collected correspondence of contemporaries;
4) Speeches and writings; 5) Private diaries and journals of meetings; 6) The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York
and congregation; 7) Collected material of contemporaries; 8) Research file on the history of The Evangelical Lutheran Church
of Latvia; 9) Research file on history of Latvia; 10) Research file on the history of early Latvian theater and Latvian societies
in New York and other cities in United States; 11) Printed material; and 12) Photographs.
Series 1, 2, 4 and 5 contain Rev. Richards Zariņš private papers. One of the most distinctive parts is the correspondence.
The correspondence is divided into the following subseries: Family; Displaced persons in camps in Europe; Resettled Latvians
in the USA; Latvian pastors; Leading clergymen of United Lutheran Church of America, ULCA; Latvian diplomats in exile; Political
letters, Publishers and editors, Friends and contemporaries, and Cards. The diaries in series 5 are also unique. Written during
more than 50 years, they contain detailed information regarding the pastor’s contribution to the life of the Latvian community
of New York. The diaries give a powerful picture of contemporary events as perceived through the eyes of an individual, a
leader of community. The speeches and writings in series 4 document Rev. Richards Zariņš’s achievements as an author and a
writer. Series 4 incorporate following subseries: Sermons; Radio presentations; Manuscripts; Published articles in newspapers
Series 6, relating to the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of New York and congregation, is the biggest in the collection,
containing 11 subseries, with the bulk of material related to congregational documents, religious ceremonies, relief work
for displaced persons after World War II, the Ladies Aid Committee, social assistance and care for the elderly, youth activities,
cultural life, and Latvian organizations in exile. This part of the collection makes it possible to trace the activities and
rapid development of the New York congregation after the arrival of Rev. Zariņš and the wave of refugees from DP camps, the
first generation of the post-World War II Latvian emigration.
Series 3 and 7-11 reflect the endeavors of Rev. Richards Zariņš as a historian, bibliophile and collector. The series contain
the following: 3) Collected correspondence of contemporaries; 7) Collected material of contemporaries; 10) Research file on
the history of early Latvian theater and Latvian societies in New York and other cities in United States; and 11) Printed
material, comprised of booklets, calendars, serial publications, government documents, monographs, maps and clippings. These
series document the social and cultural life of Latvian Americans living in New York, beginning with the first decade of the
20th century. Another special trait of the collection is the fact that it contains a few small private collections pertaining
to Rev. Richards Zariņš’s fellow Latvians.
Access to Collection
The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted
to a digital use copy.
Processed by Elga Zalite. May, 2015
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Anderson, Edgar, 1920-
Anševics, Arvīds, 1902-1976
Balodis, Nikolajs, 1901-1991
Beck, Alfred L., 1917-1985
Bergs, Edgars, 1878-1961
Biezais, Haralds, 1909-1995
Bilmanis, Alfreds, 1887-1948
Birznieks, Kārlis Arnolds, 1903-1993
Birzule, Valda, 1915-
Bokalders, Jānis, 1885-
Bērziņš, Ludis, 1870-1965
Cox, Cordelia, 1901-1997
Danzis, Gustavs, 1868-1953
Dinbergs, Anatols, 1911-1993
Eglītis, Andrejs, 1912-2006
Feldmanis, Jūlijs, 1889-1953
Fry, Franklin Clark, 1900-1968
Grosbahs, Arnolds, 1909-1979
Gulbis, Alfreds, 1913-1977
Gulbis, Osvalds Rudolfs, 1949-1961
Irbe, Kārlis, 1861-1934
Irbe, Viktors, 1922-2005
Jaunzemis, Pauls E., 1910-1982
Kihss, Peter, 1880-
Kirsch, Paul Andrew
Klīve, Visvaldis, 1931-2003
Knubel, Frederick Ritscher
Krumbholz, Clarence E., 1887-1956
Kundziņš, Kārlis, 1883-
Lenow, John, 1891-1965
Lielnors, Harijs, 1900-1978
Lūsis, Arnolds, 1908-
Niedze-Sauleskalns, Vilhelmīne, 1887-1972
Podiņš, Carl, 1872-1952
Purgailis, Kārlis, 1909-
Rozītis, Elmārs Ernsts, 1948-
Rozītis, Elmārs V., 1909-1981
Sakārnis, Oskars, 1902-1978
Selmers, Kārlis, 1892-1960
Siebergs, Jēkabs, 1864-1964
Siliņš, Jānis, 1888-1973
Skrastiņš, Hugo, 1914-1999
Spekke, Arnolds, 1887-1972
Stankevičs, Kārlis, 1892-1980
Steiks, Pēteris, 1879-1957
Thrasher-Zariņš, Antra, 1941-
Tobis, Sandra, 1916-2001
Tukschin, Charles, 1892-1952
Tukschin, Lina, 1897-1980
Turss, Gustavs, 1890-1973
Valters, Kristaps, 1930-2003
Voitkus, Arturs, 1911-
Zariņš, Bertram, 1942-
Zariņš, Christopher K., 1943-
Zariņš, Richards, 1913-2006
Zuzāns, Andrejs, 1888-1962
Ķullītis, Jēkabs, 1890-1957
Clergy--New York (State)--New York--Biography.
Latvians--New York (State)--New York--History.
Lutherans--New York (State)--New York--History.
World War, 1939-1945--Refugees--Latvia.