DAAL'S ENDOWMENT CONTINUES TO GROW
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.
PHOTO EXHIBIT CONCLUDES SUCCESSFUL RUN
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 email@example.com or 402-426-7910.
JOINT DAAL – UNO PHOTO EXHIBIT OPENS
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 http://library.unomaha.edu/information/hours.php.
NEW SUMMER VOLUNTEER WEEK July 8-12, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently on display: Dagmar
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
Exciting Expansion of Our
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.
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.
HELP US FIND A DANISH AMERICAN
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
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
U.S. Coast Guard
Date of Birth: December
Aged: 33 years, 8 month,
Place of Birth: Copenhagen
Next of Kin: Mrs. Marie N.
Knudsen (mother), Dybbolsgade 55, Copenhagen, Denmark
Memorial: Arlington Nation
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
1738 Washington Street
Blair, NE 68008
Danish Pioneer Exhibit Comes to
The Danish American Archive and
Library will present a traveling exhibit, The Danish
Pioneer—Connecting an Immigrant Community, April 16 -
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
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
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
“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
For more information about the
University of Nebraska at Omaha, go to
A Living Legacy
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
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
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
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
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.
WELL AND LIVING IN BLAIR
home at last!
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.
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.
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!
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
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.