Danish Lutheran Community, Dannevirke


Miriam Showalter, S. D. Rodholm’s youngest daughter, once wrote that “in a visual memory to most of his friends, S. D. Rodholm stands elegantly clad in what his wife laughingly called his grasshopper suit: black cutaway morning coat with grey striped trousers, red tie, pince-nez spectacles fastened to his coat, his hair a halo of silver curls.” Søren Peter Damsgaard Rodholm was born in Morke [Mørke], Denmark in February 1877. He att ended a private school, in spite of his parent’s poverty, studied the classics, and was deeply infl uenced by the Grundtvigian movement. He remembered fondly the religious training he received there that enabled him to pass the entrance exams to att end the University of Copenhagen. Because there was no money to att end, he traveled to America at age fi ft een and worked on a farm. He returned to Denmark in 1896 and “read” [studied] law with an att orney, but longed to return to the United States and did so in 1897. Within a year of his return, he enrolled at Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa as its fi rst seminary student. He met Marie Kjolhede in a Latin class there, and the two were married in Newell, Iowa in 1901.