These study aids to materials in the James R. Crumley Jr. Archives are intended for use by students of the "Lutheranism in North America" course at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, but may be useful to other researchers as well.

 

Danes

German Lutherans of the Midwest

The Norwegians

The Salzburgers

The Swedes

 

 

The Danes

The Danes came to America later and in fewer numbers than the Norwegians, originally settling in Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Starting with the first Danish congregation in 1851 in Racine, Wisconsin, they initially founded distinctly Danish congregations, institutions and schools when their numbers were great enough. There were two pronounced divisions of Danish Lutherans: 1) the followers of Nikolai F.S. Grundtvig who made up the Danish Lutheran Church and because of the tone of their piety were called the Happy Danes, and 2) the members of the United Church and Inner Mission group who were called Holy or Sad Danes, also because of the tone of their piety. The Grundtvigians and Danish Church supported the continuation of the Danish culture and language in America. The United Church favored using English and assimilating into American culture. Today there are over 1.5 million Americans of Danish descent, with the greatest concentrations found in California and Utah. More than other Scandinavians, they have been absorbed into the American "melting pot." Danish Lutherans were part of the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church which dropped the word "Danish" in 1946 and later joined the American Lutheran Church in 1960.

 

The following websites contain additional information on the Danes.

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German Lutherans of the Midwest

After the English, Germans were the largest and most influential immigrant group in Colonial America. From their original seaboard settlements in New York, Pennsylvania and down to the Carolinas, they pushed into the Midwest to colonize the Mississippi River Valley. Along the way, they organized Lutheran synods in Ohio (1818), Buffalo (1845), Missouri (1847), Wisconsin (1850) and Iowa (1854). Unlike other immigrants, there was no German government sending them to the New World. Remarkably, they came unsponsored on their own--families in search of a better life.

 

The following websites contain additional information on the German Lutherans of the Midwest.

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The Norwegians

In the 1800s Norwegians were the second most numerous immigrants to America after the Irish, as they emerged from centuries of political and social domination by Sweden and Denmark. They settled in the upper Midwest, Texas, Seattle and Brooklyn. Their church life until the Civil War had much in common with the Ohio Synod. As their numbers increased to sustain their own congregations and synods, they left behind initial alliances with Germans, Swedes and Danes. Although united by dialects of a common language and by common hymns, catechetical instruction and devotional books, they nevertheless represented the full spectrum from the most Pietist low church (Eielsen Synod, Hauge’s Synod) to the most orthodox high church (Norwegian Synod), with the United Norwegian Lutheran Church in America representing the middle.

 

The following websites contain additional information on the Norwegians.

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The Salzburgers

Georgia's Lutheran Salzburgers were exiled from Austria and recruited at Augsburg in August 1733 to settle at Ebenezer near Savannah, Georgia. Despite huge hardships, they became Georgia's most successful settlers. The major Salzburger collections are located at Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Rincon, GA; the University of Georgia Library in Athens; and the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah.

 

The following websites contain additional information on the Salzburgers.

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The Swedes

Swedish Lutherans first came to the New World in 1638, encouraged by their late king Gustavus Adolphus. They settled in the Delaware River Valley of eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. The second wave came 200 years later when Sweden started experiencing "America Fever," as its citizens searched for land and an escape from rigid class society, heavy taxes and compulsory military service. By 1870, there were 97,000 in America, with thousands more on the way. Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota were their primary destinations. Unlike many ethnic groups, they stayed together. They formed the Augustana Synod.

 

The following websites contain additional information on the Swedes.

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