Danish Immigrant Archives, Grand View University
Grand View University's library holds an incredible collection of materials related to the experiences of Danish immigrants in Iowa and throughout the United States. Grand View University was established in 1896 by Danish immigrants who were members of a Lutheran denomination that is now part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The school's curriculum was built upon the Danish folk school model that emphasized education as a way of building the "whole person," a philosophy that encompasses body, mind, and soul. The institution has changed significantly over the past century, becoming a college and then a university in recent years. Visitors to the university should be sure to tour the Humphrey Center. Built in 1896 and expanded several times, this building constituted nearly the entire college for most of its history. Known as Old Main for most of its history, the Humphrey Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The campus library holds the Danish Immigrant Archives
Old Main (now the Humphrey Center) circa 1900.
Backstory and Context
The collection includes original Danish-American newspapers, as well as family diaries, photographs, and artifacts. Of course, the university also maintains an archive full of materials related to the history of Grand View University itself, a collection that also offers insight into the Danish immigrants and the Danish Fold School tradition. The University and its librarians work closely with the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa and the Danish American Heritage Society, headquartered in Blair, Nebraska.