A Great Danish American Birthday - Kristian Anker

  • October 29, 2021
  • October 29, 2022
  • 2 sessions
  • October 29, 2021 (CDT)
  • October 29, 2022 (CDT)


Kristian Anker (October 29, 1848 – November 16, 1928) was a Lutheran minister who served as the first president of the combined Trinity Seminary and Dana College.  (Photos: Danish American Archive and Library - Blair, NE)


Kristian Anker was born in Odense, Denmark. He attended the Galtrug Folkschool 1870-71 and the Sagatun Folk High School (Norwegian: Sagatun folkehøyskole) in Hamar, Norway from 1872-73. He was a teacher 1873-80 at Galtrup Folk School and Krogsballe Folk School in Humlebæk, Denmark. He attended the Seminary at Askov Folk High School (Danish: Askov Højskole) in Vejen Municipality, Denmark from 1880-81. He was ordained as a Lutheran minister on September 25, 1881. He subsequently immigrated to the United States during 1881.


Kristian Anker served as a Lutheran pastor in Elk Horn, Iowa, and Lincoln, Nebraska. He was pastor of St. Stephen's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chicago from 1881-1882.

In 1894, Kristian Anker helped organize The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, commonly known as North Church. In 1894, Pastor Anker, then owner and principal of Elk Horn, Iowa Højskole, sold it to the newly formed North Church for use as a seminary and college. Elk Horn Højskole in Elk Horn was the first Danish style Folk high school in America. Founded in 1878, it served Danish immigrants and drew them to Elk Horn in great numbers. From 1894 to 1909 Peter Sørensen Vig would serve as principal as well as an instructor at the seminary.  In 1896, the North Church and the Blair Church, which had been formed in 1884, came together to form the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (commonly known as the United Church). When the two Churches merged, the North Church seminary was consolidated with Trinity Seminary in Blair, Nebraska. That same year, the college-level preparatory classes that had been offered at Trinity Seminary were consolidated with those offered at Elk Horn College. In 1899, leaders of the United Church voted to relocate all college-level classes to the Blair campus. When the departments of Elk Horn Højskole were transferred to Trinity Seminary, Kristian Anker came with them as president of the merged institutions. Kristian Anker served as President of Trinity Seminary (1899–1902) and Dana College (1899–1905).

National Foundation for Danish America
PO Box 1003
Wilmette, Illinois 60091

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