Danish Brotherhood in America

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Danish Brotherhood in America is a fraternal organization that was founded in 1882 in Omaha, Nebraska. It had about 8,000 members in 2010.[1] A period report said of the Danish Brotherhood, "This is by far the strongest and most influential secular organization about the Danes in America."[2]


In 1881 Mark Hansen formed the Danish Arms Brothers, a group of Danish veterans who had fought in the American Civil War or the Danish-Prussian War, in Omaha, Nebraska. Other societies sprang up in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. In January 1882, five of these societies met in a convention in Omaha and decided to form an ethnic fraternal order that would offer benefits to its members as well as preserving Danish culture and traditions.[3][4] The order grew steadily; at the end of its first year of existence it had six lodges and 200 members.[5] By 1889 it had 883 members[6] and in 1891, 2,000 in 41 lodges.[7] In 1897 it was reported to have 10,000 members in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, California and Washington.[8] In 1923 the Brotherhood had 283 lodges in at least 15 states with 19,176 members.[9] By 1925, the Danish Brotherhood in America had 21,000 members.[citation needed] In 1979 it was back down to 10,000 members in 150 lodges in 1979.[10]

The Supreme President of the Brotherhood as of 1923 was Soren Iversen of New Haven, Connecticut.[11]

In 1960, the Brotherhood began a scholarship program.[12]

The organization merged into Woodmen of the World and/or Assured Life Association in August 1995.[13]


The Brotherhoods local chapters were called "Lodges" and regional groups were called "Districts". The quadrennial national convention was the highest authority. Omaha remained the headquarters of the organization through at least 1979.[14]

The DBA also had a youth auxiliary, the Young Vikings. In addition to fraternal benefits members of this group competed to attend a summer jamboree.[15]

Insurance and benefits[edit]

At a convention in Milwaukee in Sept. 1919 the Brotherhood unanimously agreed to a new benefits plan that would put the organization on a 100% solvent basis. Under the new system each policy would be charged with its deficiency which could be paid up all at once or at the death of the policyholder.[16]

Notable buildings[edit]

Columbia Hall, in Dannebrog, Nebraska

Notable buildings of the group include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Nelson, O.N. (1899) History of the Scandinavians and successful Scandinavians in the United States. p 44.
  3. ^ Danish Brotherhood in America Sharing their Heritage and their Dream pp.1-2
  4. ^ Schmidt, Alvin J. Fraternal Organizations Westport, CT; Greenwood Press p.80
  5. ^ Danish Brotherhood in America Sharing their Heritage and their Dream p.2
  6. ^ Schmidt p.80
  7. ^ Danish Brotherhood in America Sharing their Heritage and their Dream p.2
  8. ^ Stevens, Albert C. Cyclopedia of Fraternities: A Compilation of Existing Authentic Information and the Results of Original Investigation as to the Origin, Derivation, Founders, Development, Aims, Emblems, Character, and Personnel of More Than Six Hundred Secret Societies in the United States E. B. Treat and Company, New York 1899 p.131
  9. ^ Preuss, Arthur A Dictionary of Secret and other Societies St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co. 1924; republished Detroit: Gale Reference Company 1966; p.101
  10. ^ Schmidt p.81
  11. ^ Preuss p.101
  12. ^ Schmidt p.81
  13. ^ http://www.denverwoodmen.com/shared/content_objects/documents//dbia%2520history.pdf&pli=1"Danish Brotherhood in America", Woodmen of the World. Retrieved 10/5/10. Archived 2016-06-03 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Schmidt p.81
  15. ^ Schmidt p.81
  16. ^ Preuss p.101
  17. ^ Preuss p.101

Further reading[edit]