Vasa Order of America
Vasa Order of America is a Swedish-American fraternal, cultural and educational organization. The organization looks forward to increased members and supporters whom will benefit from the networking associations throughout the world affiliated with sharing our Swedish and Scandinavian culture and heritage.
- 1 Philosophy
- 2 History
- 3 Organization
- 4 Membership
- 5 Programs
- 6 Vasa National Archives
- 7 Vasa Park/Vasa Park Association
- 8 Clubs and Groups
- 9 Scandinavian Celebrities and Music
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
- 13 Other Swedish American Organizations USA and Abroad
The objects and purposes of the corporation shall be to render aid and assistance to sick members of the organization, whether such sickness be temporary or incurable, and to render pecuniary aid toward defraying the funeral expense of members, and to promote social and intellectual interaction among its members.
Vasa Order of America was founded in 1896 in New Haven, Connecticut at the height of Swedish immigration to the United States as a Swedish-American fraternal order. Vasa Order of America emerged from the many Swedish societies that existed as a safety net for early immigrants. Named for the House of Vasa, the historic Royal House of Sweden, it has been noted as one of the largest Swedish-American ethnic or cultural organizations
The Vasa Order comprises the Grand Lodge, 19 District Lodges, and nearly 300 local lodges. Local lodges in the United States, Canada, and Sweden offer cultural, language, and scholarship programs. The organization owns numerous lodge buildings and several parks, operates the Vasa National Archives at Bishop Hill, Illinois, and administers an Old Age and Sick Benefit Fund for members. Grand Lodge Annual Meetings and Conventions are held every four years.
The organization is led by a Grand Master, Vice Grand Master, Grand Secretary, Grand Treasurer, and other board members and officers.
The society has had a ritual since its founding. It has been revised several times, for instance in 1915 and 1923. The Order also works three degree which correspond to the Local, District and Grand Lodge levels of the organization.
Membership requirements have changed over the years. Originally open to men age 15-50. In 1923 membership was open to white men and women of good health who could speak Swedish or had Swedish ancestry. Today membership is open to all people born in a Nordic country, of Nordic ancestry, spouses and widows of Vasa members and anyone else who is "committed to the promotion and advancement of Swedish and Nordic heritage and culture."
Membership Applications are available at VasaOrderofAmerica.org and the website lists the Districts and Local Lodges in the USA, Canada and Sweden.
Each of the local lodges are managed and maintained at the local level with providing enrichment activities, events, programs, outreach and scholarships. Some local lodges network with various Swedish and Scandinavian organizations bringing the organization to a different level of professionalism, business associations and friendship.
The official publication of the Vasa Order of America is the Vasa Star (Swedish: Vasastjärnan) and as of fall 2013 the publication is included with Nordstjernan a Swedish American publication.
Swedish-American of the Year
Since 1960, The Vasa Order of America has selected a prominent American citizen of Swedish birth or descent to become Swedish-American of the Year. Every year the two Swedish District Lodges of the Vasa Order of America select an American of Swedish descent to be The Swedish-American of the Year. The Swedish-American of the Year is honored during Sweden-America Days in various places in Sweden. A tablet containing the names of all award recipients is kept in the Swedish Emigrant Institute (Swedish: Svenska Emigrantinstitutet) in Växjö, Småland, Sweden.
At the Grand Lodge, District Lodge and Local Lodge levels you will find scholarship opportunities for higher education, Foreign Exchange, Language camps, Swedish camps and Elder camp.
The scholarships offered can be found at the Vasa Order of America website and the District Lodges and Local Lodges. The main qualification for applicants is to be a member for at least one year prior before applying for the scholarship.
Vasa National Archives
Located in Bishop Hill, Ill., the Vasa National Archives is a museum and home to artifacts.
Vasa Park/Vasa Park Association
Throughout the USA you will find Vasa Parks that host Swedish events. Some of the Vasa Parks are leased out for public events.
- Southern California, Agoura Hills
Clubs and Groups
- Folk Dance Club
- Vasa Choir
- Activity Clubs
- Past District Master Club
- Genealogy Club
- Youth Club
- Swedish House Mafia
- Vasa Order of America 100 Years (nordicway.com website) retrieved February 5, 2008
- The Ethnic Enigma: The Salience of Ethnicity for European-Origin Groups (Peter Kivisto, Balch Institute Press. 1989) ISBN 0-944190-03-0 available on Google books webpage. retrieved February 5, 2008, p. 138
- Schimdt p.347
- Alan Axelrod International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders New York; Facts on File, inc 1997 p.251
- Vasa Order of America (A Swedish American Fraternal Organization) How to apply for membership
- Schmidt, Alvin J. Fraternal Organizations Westport, CT; Greenwood Press p.347
- Axelrod p.251
- About The Swedish-American of the year (Information about the Vasa Order of America)
- Anderson, Philip J.; Dag Blanck Swedes in the Twin Cities:Immigrant Life and Minnesota’s Urban Frontier (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001) ISBN 0-87351-399-1