St. Olaf professor chronicles Sallet, Dakota Free Press

Weekly German language newspaper printed here

Staff photo by Fritz Busch St. Olaf College Professor of German LaVern Rippley chronicles the legacy of Richard Sallet at the German Bohemian Heritage Society Fall Meeting at the New Ulm Country Club Saturday.

NEW ULM — A St. Olaf College professor of German presented the legacy of journalist Richard Sallet at the German-Bohemian Heritage Society Fall Meeting at the New Ulm Country Club Saturday night.

LaVern Rippley, who specializes in the study of those who transferred from the German-speaking regions of the world to the United States, talked about the Dakota Free Press (DFP), a weekly German-language newspaper that was printed in South Dakota in its earliest days, before it moved to New Ulm.

The focus of the paper was on Germans from Russia; German settlers in Russian colonies around the Black Sea; and subsequent settlers in the Dakotas in the United States. The newspaper was first published only in German, but later published in English.

In 1924, the DFP became the first paper published in the U.S. to be allowed re-entry into the Soviet Union. It circulated in the Dakotas and other states, Canada and Europe from 1874 to 1954.

Editor F.W. Sallet lived at 400 S. State, Rippley said. He was succeeded by his son, Dr. Richard Sallet, considered a great German-English translator, Rippley said.

Richard Sallet published a book about diplomatic service and served in the West German foreign service from 1948 to 1957, living in Washington, D.C. He later taught political science at small colleges in Michigan and North Carolina. Sallet frequently quoted Thomas Jefferson and often lectured in the Twin Cities, Rippley said.

At 72, he retired from teaching and returned to Europe. He died in 1975 in Madrid, Spain.

“There are many rumors and suppositions about Richard Sallet, but I don’t want to reprint those,” Rippley said. “He was a very talented man who was asked to come to New Ulm because his linguistic skills were needed. He got his reputation as a journalist.”

Rippley said Sallet was a German citizen and among many of Germany’s greatest achievers who came to America, rocket scientists among them.

“When you need people you get them. You judge for yourself,” Rippley said.

Rippley’s last authored book is “The Chemnitzer Concertina: A History and an Accolade.”


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