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Guide to the Papers of Rev. Richards A. Zariņš, 1883-2008 M1938
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Collection Details
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  • Acquisition Information
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Scope and Contents
  • Access to Collection
  • Processing note

  • Title: Rev. Richards A. Zariņš papers
    Identifier/Call Number: M1938
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Language of Material: Latvian
    Physical Description: 44.0 Linear feet (96 manuscript boxes, 7 flat boxes)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1946-2000
    Date (inclusive): 1883-2008, bulk 1946-2000
    Physical Location: 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: http://library.stanford.edu/spc .
    Abstract: 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
    creator: Zariņš, Richards, 1913-2006

    Acquisition Information

    This collection was given by Christopher Zarins, Bertram Zarins, and Antra Thrasher to Stanford University, Special Collections in February, 2013.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [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 artistic activities.
    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 and journals.
    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.

    Processing note

    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
    Rudzītis, Helmars
    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
    Āboliņš, Aleksandrs
    Ķezbere, Elza
    Ķiploks, Edgars
    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.