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posted 4/28/2014

From a starting point of zero in July of 2010, the DAAL’s endowment fund has grown to a total of almost $54,000 as of May 2014. This total may not seem too impressive for large, well-connected archives such as are housed at major colleges and universities with full-time paid staff, but to a small, independent archive that functions with mainly volunteer labor, it is astonishing! This total was achieved primarily from four major memorials through family endowment funds:

  • The Dagmar Vasby Endowment
  • The Reverend Aster and Ruth Neve Family Endowment
  • Deloris Hansen Bengtson Endowment
  • C.I. “Jerry” Lund Endowment

Growing our endowment fund is essential for the long-term health of the DAAL. If, for example, we could build the fund up to $5 million, the interest accrued would more than cover our annual operating expenses.

If you have a family member you would like to memorialize in this way, please consider a donation to the DAAL endowment fund. You don’t have to have an endowment fund of your own—you can specify endowment on any contribution. ​These funds will always be held apart from our other income so that they have a chance to grow.

posted 10/26/2013

Danish Children Growing Up American, our spectacular photo exhibit concluded October 25 after approximately a month and a half on display at the University of Nebraska’s Criss Library. UNO and the DAAL collaborated to create a compelling display of photographs based on the lives of Danish immigrant children in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Twenty double-sided panels, 4 feet wide and 8 feet tall, were filled with approximately 50 photos of beautiful Danish immigrant children caught by the cameras of the day in many aspects of their lives from birth, through secular and religious education, everyday life on farms and in town, at play, on family vacations, and in formal portraits. The exhibit attracted hundreds of spectators who were universally complimentary.

This exhibit is portable and available to other organizations for display. If you are interested in hosting it, please contact the DAAL at or 402-426-7910.


posted 9/5/2013

Growing Up American

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and the Danish American Archive and Library, located in Blair, Nebraska, announce the opening of a new photography exhibit at the UNO Criss Library on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The exhibit, “Danish Children Growing Up American,” will consist of photographs from the Danish American Archive and Library collections. The exhibit runs through Friday, October 25.

The exhibit features approximately 50 photos in large format. The enlarged pictures, mounted on panels, cover various aspects (recreation, education, religious, family) of a child’s life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The photos come from DAAL collections in which thousands of similar photos can be found.

Together UNO and DAAL form a community partnership that combines the DAAL’s wealth of resources with UNO’s educational goals. The “Danish Children” exhibit is one of the first projects that has emerged from this partnership, and appropriately occurs in the American city that according to the 2010 census report has the largest percentage of people of Danish descent. Two prominent Omaha area businessmen of Danish descent, Mogens Bay and Bruce Lauritzen, have provided the major funding for the exhibit. Hours for the exhibit conform that of the UNO Criss Library, which can be found at


posted 6/12/2013

Come join us for our newly scheduled volunteer week this summer. If our spring and fall dates are inconvenient, this might be for you! Besides the interesting and satisfying projects you will work on, you will participate in wonderful fellowship and great snack breaks. Some of the things our volunteers do are sorting, coding, cataloging and indexing documents. We also need help with data entry, translating, scanning photos and compiling information from our vast Danish Brotherhood and Sisterhood collection plus a wide variety of other tasks. You don’t have to be Danish to volunteer! Please try to fit us into your schedule, and contact Dody Johnson at 319-354-2935 or


Currently on display: Dagmar Vasby
posted 11/20/2012

Currently on display at the Danish American Archive and Library is an exhibit that details the life and career of Dagmar Vasby, a remarkable woman who served as a medical missionary in Manchuria during World War II, and in Liberia after the war. She wrote the book Under the Cloud, which tells about her view that God's guiding cloud led her across Stalinist Russia to Chinese Manchuria where she experienced the Japanese occupation, the ravages of WW II and the subsequent Soviet incursion. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Dagmar is that she is still living an active life at 105 years of age! Under the Cloud can be purchased from Lur Publications, a subsidiary of the DAAL, by contacting Ruth Rasmussen at 402-426-7910, or at


Exciting Expansion of Our Collections Page
posted 08/18/2012

Check out the Collections link to the left to see the first of the exciting expansions taking place on that page.  In our efforts to increase awareness of the broad scope of materials available in the Danish American Archive and Library, we are adding easy-to-use links that will allow the viewer to access documents and photos that weren’t available before.


The first of the collections to be so expanded is the Alvin and Edel Petersen collection.  Alvin Petersen was a Lutheran minister for more that 50 years, and much of the material in this collection documents what was going on in America during that time.  For example, the sermon shown on the expanded page was given a few days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and addresses the fear and uncertainty people were feeling at that time.  This is just one example of the type of fascinating documents that are available throughout the Archive.


Plans are underway to expand in a similar way all the collections listed on the Collections page and to add more collections to the list, such as the Danish Brotherhood, Lutheran Publishing House and Dana College collections.  Over time, all of the collections listed will be expanded in this way, but the Danish Brotherhood, Sophus Keith Winthur and P.S. Vig collections are the next to be researched and displayed. 


posted 07/06/2012

Robert M. Pendleton is an author working on a book-length manuscript concerning the sinking of the U.S.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tampa and the loss of her crew and British passengers on Thursday, September 26, 1918. She was torpedoed by the Imperial German submarine UB 91.

On April 22, 1999, Admiral James M. Loy, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard, approved the unanimous recommendation of the Coast Guard Headquarters Military Board of Awards to authorize the posthumous award of the Purple Heart medal to those crew members who perished. On Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11, 1999, the award ceremony took place at the Coast Guard World War I Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The Secretary of Transportation, the Honorable Rodney E. Slater, and the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, Admiral James M. Loy presented Purple Heart medals to all Coast Guard members of the crew that perished.

As a consequence of the Purple Heart presentation, Mr. Pendleton is seeking a bona fide current relative of Warrant Acting Machinist Wilhelm Knudsen, U.S. Coast Guard, who will, after being vetted by the U.S. Coast Guard, be presented with Wilhelm Knudsen's posthumous Purple Heart Medal. If you have a photo of Wilhelm Knudsen, especially one in which he is wearing his Coast Guard uniform, Mr. Pendleton would use the image in his book as well. Here is the data we have so far:

Warrant Acting Machinist Wilhelm Knudsen,
             U.S. Coast Guard
Date of Birth: December 28, 1884
Aged: 33 years, 8 month, 28 days
Place of Birth: Copenhagen Denmark
Next of Kin: Mrs. Marie N. Knudsen (mother), Dybbolsgade 55, Copenhagen, Denmark
Memorial: Arlington Nation Cemetery

If you have any information to further identify Wilhelm Knudsen's relatives or descendants, please contact us by telephone, e-mail or USPS at:

Danish American Archive and Library

1738 Washington Street

Blair, NE 68008





Danish Pioneer Exhibit Comes to the Archive
posted 03/21/2012

The Danish American Archive and Library will present a traveling exhibit, The Danish Pioneer—Connecting an Immigrant Community, April 16 - 24, 2012.

This exhibit is funded by the Nebraska Humanities Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Five tall panels tell the story of The Danish Pioneer using photographs and text to trace the newspaper from its beginnings in Omaha in 1872 to the current publication based in Chicago. Viewers will see for themselves how the style and content of the newspaper evolved over time, and come face-to-face with the people who shaped its history.

The Danish Pioneer is the oldest continuously published Danish-American newspaper in the United States, and the DAAL houses the most complete collection in existence. The DAAL also contains a wealth of other early Danish American materials including a vast collection of material from the Danish Lutheran Publishing House, which was located in Blair from 1893 – 1960. The DAAL partnered with the current owners of The Danish Pioneer, as well as with The Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, for historical content and development of the exhibit.



Community Partnership Agreement between DAAL and UNO  posted 10/27/2011

The Danish American Archive and Library and the University of Nebraska at Omaha have formed a community partnership agreement for the benefit of both institutions. Through this agreement DAAL and UNO plan to provide research opportunities for UNO faculty and students, share and exchange selected materials, and cooperate on future creative and educational projects.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha, a campus of the University of Nebraska system, is a metropolitan university with approximately 15,000 students, and is located 30 miles from DAAL in the heart of Omaha. The proximity of the two institutions makes it convenient to exchange information, personnel and resources.

“This agreement marks a high point in the history of the Archive,” says DAAL President Tim Jensen. “I’m excited about the research possibilities this opens up for both institutions.”

Top officials from UNO, including Chancellor John Christensen, took part in the Archive’s grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony October 4, 2011. Chancellor Christensen expressed his enthusiasm for the agreement and future cooperation between the two institutions. An additional visit to the Archive was made by Tim Kahldahl, Director of UNO University Relations, UNO’s Dean of Library, and the UNO library’s archivist.

For more information about the University of Nebraska at Omaha, go to



A Living Legacy
posted 8/19/2011

Come join us as we celebrate our Grand Opening! On October 1, 2010, we moved into our new location at 1738 Washington Street, Blair, Nebraska, and after a full year of building shelves, unpacking boxes and organizing our materials, we are ready to show what we are all about.

We have planned four different events to be sure everyone with an interest in the Danish American Archive and Library has a chance to attend.

Saturday, October 1, 2011, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.—Dana College Alumni as part of the Dana Homecoming. Several former Dana professors will be on hand to greet you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.—Blair Area Chamber of Commerce board and ambassadors with ribbon cutting ceremony

Saturday, October 15, 2011, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.—Open house for the Blair community

Sunday, October 16, 2011, 2:00 p.m.—Worship service at First Lutheran Church, 2146 Wright Street in Blair, followed by a reception at the Danish American Archive and Library.

Please plan to join us for coffee, kringle and more, including an interesting display called Church Basements and Children’s Homes: Danish-American Missions Here and Abroad.

Danish Archive Now Fully Independent
posted 4/20/2011

The Danish American Archive and Library recently received notice from the Internal Revenue Service that we are now officially a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization. What this means is that retroactive to August 31, 2010, the date when the DAAL became an independent corporation, anyone who donates money or materials to the DAAL can claim a tax deduction.

It has been a long road to this point from July 2010 when Dana College closed its doors, and we were required to move out of our first home on the lower level of the Dana College library. Since we had always operated under the Dana College umbrella, it was necessary for us to first become an independent corporation, and then to receive our own tax-free status.

All of the DAAL’s endowment and operating funds were lost when Dana College went bankrupt, and since then the DAAL has supported itself on contributions alone. We need your help, and now tax-deductible contributions can be sent directly to the DAAL. Please send your tax-deductible donation directly to The Danish American Archive and Library at 1738 Washington Street, Blair, Nebraska 68008.



We're home at last!

The Danish American Archive & Library began moving into its own space at 1738 Washington Street in Blair on October 1. Our fully renovated building provides us with 4,800 square feet where we are installing shelves, arranging our hundreds of boxes of documents and more than 10,000 books. Located on the main street of Blair, our new building allows us much more visibility to the general public than we ever had before.

We took possession of our new space just in time to host our fall volunteer week and annual meeting. We will also be hosting the Danish American Heritage Society national board meeting October 30.

Keep watching this site for more developments. Our new address is 1738 Washington Street, Blair, NE 68008 and our telephone number is 402-426-7910. You may notice that this is the same number we had before the move from Dana College. You can still reach us by e-mail at


THE DAAL LIVES!  posted 7/14/2010

Through a tremendous effort by a team of volunteers, all the documents, books and artifacts belonging to The Danish American Archive and Library have been moved to temporary storage facilities in Blair. When the DAAL was given notice on Friday, July 9 that we had two and a half days to vacate the space that we had used for many years in the Dana College Library, it appeared to be an impossible task. But then mainly through word of mouth more than seventy volunteers appeared on the scene with trucks, manpower and offers of storage space to help us.

The result is that even though Dana College has closed its doors, and The DAAL is temporarily without a permanent home, the thousands of pictures, records, clippings and publications that make The DAAL the country’s largest repository of materials pertaining to the Danish American experience not only survive, but will soon be accessible again to scholars, genealogists and others with an interest in Dana College and Danish American history and culture.

Please continue to check our web site for updates about our progress. We are happy with what has been accomplished so far and intend to push forward until we are up and running as before…or perhaps even better!



Archive Future posted 7/9/2010

By now you have probably learned that Dana College is closing its doors. The Higher Learning Commission refused to allow Dana's accreditation to continue under the new ownership and administration. Most people were surprised by this sudden turn of events, but others had remained skeptical that the conversion of Dana to a for-profit liberal arts college would be a viable option.

Dana’s demise does not mean the end of The Archive. In fact, distinctly hopeful signs are arising that the Archive can continue, even if it does not continue at Dana. On Tuesday, July 6, 2010, we will meet with John Mark Nielsen, Director of the Danish Immigrant Museum, and Marnie Jensen, a most sympathetic member of Dana’s Board of Regents, and others who can help sort out the available options.

In the light of the rapid changes now unfolding, and the opportunities that may be arising for the Archive to move to a good place, The Archive’s Board of Directors is also meeting on Tuesday, July 27th. There will be a lot to discuss and a lot to do.


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