About the Center


The Center is staffed by trained volunteers and is open when those volunteers are present. These volunteers are at the Center almost every day of the week, but please email or call ahead (503) 280-8690 to make an appointment to ensure that someone will be there to assist you.


The Center for Volga German Studies is located in Suite 300 of the Concordia University Library at 2800 NE Liberty St., Portland, OR 97211.  

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Our mailing address is: 

The Center for Volga German Studies, Concordia University, 2811 NE Holman St., Portland, OR 97211.


The George R. White Library at Concordia University.
The George R. White Library at Concordia University.

Functions of the Center

The CVGS accomplishes its stated purposes through five complimentary and inter-related components:


The CVGS actively collects the folklore, songs, literature, objects of art and craft which illustrate and document the style and mode of life, conditions, events and activities, forms and style of worship and government of the Volga Germans while living in Russia as well as after emigrating to the Western hemisphere and the cultural, material, and aesthetic contributions of Germans from Russia or their descendants to the culture and social order of the Western Hemisphere. These materials are acquired by bequest, purchase, gift, or accepted on loan and are included, but are not limited to:

  • Current and historical reference materials
  • Books by and about Volga-German authors, researchers, and scholars
  • Objects of art, science, industry, and skill
  • Papers and manuscripts
  • Journals
  • Tapes and DVDs (audio and video)
  • Photographs
  • Microforms

The Center preserves and exhibits these collections as far as it is practicable. The Center operates and maintains a central archive of these materials. The Collections of the CVGS are open to the public, but do not circulate. >>learn More


Research material is available to the public. CVGS publishes papers, pamphlets, books and articles, in print or by other means of dissemination. Much of the original documentation on the Volga Germans is in German or Russian. Making these resources available to English-language speakers is one role of the CVGS. >>learn More

Clearinghouse Services

The Center maintains a web-based clearing house for identifying the location of original manuscripts related to the Volga Germans. Researchers, scholars, and others knowledgeable about such materials are actively solicited for contributions to this clearing house.


The CVGS sponsors conferences and workshops on various aspects of Volga German history, folklore, linguistics, and culture in order to educate those interested about the Volga Germans. These events take place on the Concordia campus or elsewhere depending upon the availability of appropriate space(s). As appropriate, the CVGS seeks co-sponsors for these conferences. >>learn More


It is known that unique collections of materials relating to the Volga Germans exist elsewhere, particularly in governmental and quasi-governmental facilities outside North America. Consequently, one of the important roles of the Center is to actively seek assistance from and provide assistance to other organizations in the collection, documentation, indexing, and preservation of such materials pertaining to Volga Germans.

While much of the research done on Volga Germans requires a working knowledge of German and/or Russian, the primary language of the CVGS is English.

Governing Structure

The Center for Volga German Studies is a part of Concordia University - Portland, and maintains a special collection of materials in the George R. White Library. The CVGS is managed by the Dean of Libraries.

Founding of the Center

Discussions about the establishment of an academic entity that would focus on the study of "all things Volga German" began in 2004 during a lunch meeting attended by Ed Wagner, Steve Schreiber, and Brent Mai in Portland, Oregon. During several subsequent meetings, it was agreed that the name for this entity would be The Center for Volga German Studies and that the place for such academic study could be at Concordia University in Portland. Documents were drawn up outlining the function and components of such a center and the rationale for having it at Concordia University in Portland. A study of the "competitive landscape" identified several other organizations, groups, and institutions involved in the study of and/or preservation of Volga German culture and heritage, but it was determined that none of them had the level of academic focus toward scholarly investigation that was intended by the CVGS. The relationship between Portland's historical Volga German community and Concordia University was explored. Presentations were made to the faculty and administration at Concordia and it was agreed that Concordia was indeed the appropriate place for a center to study the Volga Germans.

With the opening of the new Concordia University Library in 2009, the CVGS moved to Suite 300 of that building. The Grand Opening of this new space was held on 24-25 October 2009.

Concordia Connection Magazine Summer 2009


Volga German Story Concordia Connection Summer 2009