A Great Danish American Birthday - Frederik Lange Grundtvig

  • May 15, 2021
  • May 15, 2022
  • 2 sessions
  • May 15, 2021 (CDT)
  • May 15, 2022 (CDT)

A GREAT DANISH AMERICAN BIRTHDAY - FREDERIK LANGE GRUNDTVIG

Frederik Lange Grundtvig (May 15, 1854 - March 21, 1903) was born in Copenhagen, the youngest son of Danish Theologian N.F.S. Grundtvig, and Marie Toft Grundtvig.  He graduated with a Political Science degree from the University of Copenhagen in 1881, and became a poet and writer of materials critical of Danish politics and policy of the day.  In 1881 he and his wife, Birgitte Christina Nilsson (who he met in Sweden) traveled to the U.S. and settled in Wisconsin.  In 1883, at the urging of Neenah, Wisconsin Pastor Thorvald Helvig,  he became an ordained minister and became pastor of a Danish congregation in Clinton, Iowa where he served for 17 years.  In 1885 he was a co-founder of the Danebod colony in Tyler, MN.  In 1887 he created the Danish Folk Society which promoted unification of Danish Americans regardless of any Inner Mission and Grundtvigian differences.  Despite Grundtvig's efforts, the Danish Church split into the two factions in 1894.

Among his writings were several articles in the Danish Church Journal, the Danish American magazines Dannevirke and Ecclesiastical Collector.  He published The Words of Faith, objections to all Heresies of Tertullian, testimony of Lrenceus, Swedish Memories of Tjust, and Life in Klokkergaarden, which is considered the first Danish folkloric homecoming depiction of a scientific character. 

He returned to Denmark in 1900, and had apparently planned a return to the U.S. to help with the establishment of Grand View College.  But he died in Copenhagen in 1903 at a young age of 48.

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State Historical Society of Iowa


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

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