Kristian Ostergaard

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Kristian Ostergaard (February 5, 1855 - October 9, 1931) was Danish-American Lutheran pastor, educator, author and hymnwriter.[1] [2]


Kristian Ostergaard was born at Østergård in the Hjerm parish of Viborg County, now Struer Municipality, Region Midtjylland, Denmark. He was the son of Peder Ø. Davidsen (1817–76) and Maren Pedersdatter (1825-ca. 1876).[3]


Ostergaard immigrated to the United States during 1878. He taught at the Danish Folk High School (Højskolein) in Elk Horn, Iowa from its beginning in 1878. He also helped establish the Ashland Folk School at Grant, Michigan in 1882.[4]

In 1885, he returned to Denmark, where he founded a Folk high school in Støvring (now Rebild municipality in Region Nordjylland). In 1892, Ostergaard returned to the United States. He was ordained a Lutheran pastor in 1893. He served the ministry of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church. He ministered to a number of congregations before retiring in 1916 at Tyler, Minnesota.[5]

Ostergaard devoted the remainder of his life to writing songs, poetry and fiction. His writings were all in the Danish language. He wrote a number of novels depicting the life among Danish-American immigrants. His novels provided accounts of the immigrants struggling to create communities on the prairies. Four of Ostegaard's novels are set in Nebraska. Several trace members of a family from their arrival in the early 1870s to their participation in the settling in their new home. Ostergaard's novels also reflected a debate in Danish society involving the influences of N. F. S. Grundtvig and George Brandes. Ostergarrd additionally alluded to the Danish intellectual Soren Kierkegaard.[6]

Ostergaard also wrote many songs and hymns. He published two songbooks: Børnesangbogen (1898) and Den dansk-amerikanske Højskolesangbog (1901). An anthology was published in 1912 as Songs of the Prairie. Most notably, Ostergaard wrote the hymn Den Sag er aldrig i Verden tabt. Translated into English by Jens Christian Aaberg (1877-1970) as That Cause Can Never Be Lost Nor Stayed, it was published in Hymns and Hymnwriters of Denmark during 1945. [7] [8] [9] [10]

Ostergaard died in Tyler, Minnesota and was buried at the Danebod Lutheran Cemetery.[11]

Selected works[edit]

  • Fra Skov og Prærie (1883)
  • Vesterlide (1889)
  • Nybyggere (1891)
  • Blokhuset (1892)
  • Anton Arden (1897)
  • Et Købmandshus (1909)
  • Dalboerne (1913)
  • Danby Folk (1927)


  1. ^ The Scandinavian Immigrant Writer in America (Dorothy Burton Skardal. Norwegian-American Historical Association. Volume 21: Page 14)
  2. ^ "Biografi: Østergaard, Kristian". Den Danske Salmer. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Kristian Østergaard". Dansk Biografisk Leksikon. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  4. ^ The Danish Folk High School and Its Reception in the United States: 1870s-1930s (Harold W. Stubblefield and Patrick Keane. Jossey-Bass Publishers. 1994)
  5. ^ Kristian Ostergaard 1855-1931 (Cyber Hymnal)
  6. ^ Kristian Ostergaard's A Merchant's House (John Mark Nielsen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  7. ^ That Cause Can Never Be Lost Nor Stayed (Cyber Hymnal)
  8. ^ Hymns and Hymnwriters of Denmark (Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
  9. ^ Richard W. Adams. "Kristian Østergaard". Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ Richard W. Adams. "Jens Christian Aaberg". Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  11. ^ The Cross Church at Danebod (Danebod Lutheran Church) Archived 2015-06-21 at the Wayback Machine.

Related Reading[edit]

  • Mortensen, E. (1977) Schools for life: The Grundtvigianfolk schools in America (Askov, MN: American Publishing Co)
  • Larson, D. C. (1980) The movement to preserve Danish culture in North America (Pittsburgh. PA: University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh)