Ivar Kirkegaard


immigration, Danish-America, Danish communities


It falls outside the framework of this small dissertation to give personal historical narratives of Danes who have put down roots in the American soil, starting from the time when Jens Munk (15751628) and Vitus Bering (1681-1741) came to America’s inhospitable northernmost regions during their travels of discovery and down through the time when the actual immigration from Denmark got its start around 1850. Some names can be recognized such as Jonas Bronck (died 1643), after whom the great section of the Bronx in New York is named, Hans Christian Fibiger (1749-1796), who served as an officer under Washington, the historian Paul Christian Sinding, who was professor in Scandinavian Languages and Literature at New York University in the middle of the 19th century, and many others. To those who wish information about these men’s lives and works in America, I refer to Pastor P. S. Vig’s (1854-1929) biographical narratives. We can especially thank Pastor Vig for the fact that we have anything at all about these men and women, who participated in the colonizing and cultural work from the first days of the American Colonies, up through the beginning of the actual period of immigration. Such narratives are found in Pastor Vig’s book Danes in America, published by Danish Lutheran Publishing House, Blair, Nebraska, 1900 as well as in C. Rasmussen Publishing Co.’s work Danes in America, Minneapolis, Minn. 1908, the first volume of which (completed 1909) is to a great extent built upon Pastor Vig’s and Pastor R. Andersen’s narrations. In the fall of 1906 I myself wrote, upon a request from the Danish Embassy, a dissertation in English “Danes in America,” which was to be a chapter in a historical work “The Builders of the Nation” and which would be published by the American Historical Association of Chicago.