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Authority record
Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Collection

Daughters of Norway Embla Lodge No. 2

  • SIE 1.1.2
  • Corporate body
  • 1907-

Embla Lodge No. 2 was founded on 24 April 1907 in Tacoma, Washington, officially incorporated by the state as a nonprofit organization on 24 February 1908. The organization was chartered by the Sons of Norway and relied on the guidance of Valkyrian No. 1 lodge when they first started. Together with Valkyrian No. 1 and Freya No. 3 lodges, Embla Lodge No. 2 became part of the Grand Lodge Daughters of Norway on the Pacific Coast. Embla Lodge No. 2 was led by Sisters Laura Walstad, Minnie Holmes, Sofie Horn, Anna Krogh, and Lizzie Nelson for the first five years. Other prominent leaders were Sisters Marie Gunderson, Anna Christiansen, Martha Hegelstad, Anna Aarflot, and Jennie Olson Woog. In 1924, Sister Marie Gunderson was once again president, followed by Sister Clara Larsen. Each ruled for three years, and many joined during those years.

The name of the lodge, “Embla,” comes from the first woman of the human race, according to Norse mythology. Askr, the first man, and Embla were created from two trees on the seashore by three gods. The first god gave them life, the second god gave them understanding, and the third god gave them their physical appearance.

Embla Lodge No. 2 participates annually in the Scandinavian Heritage Festival in Puyallup, Washington, and also helps plan the annual Norwegian Festival at Pacific Lutheran University. They offer a variety of cooking classes at PLU in addition to various cultural programs held at the lodge.

Daughters of Norway Grand Lodge

  • SIE 1.1.1
  • Corporate body
  • 1908-

The first Daughters of Norway lodge was formed in Seattle, WA in 1905. In 1908 the Grand Lodge was organized to act as a coordinating organization for all the lodges.

The lodges provided an opportunity for Scandinavian immigrant women to enjoy the fellowship of other women of similar backgrounds.

Lodges in Alaska, the Midwest, and on the West Coast prospered. Many of the original lodges remain although the needs of the members have changed.

Nordlandslaget Nordlyset

  • Corporate body
  • 1912-

Nordlandslaget Nordlyset or Northlight Club began in 1912 as a group for immigrants from Northern Norway. The club later expanded to any members of Norwegian descent. The club promotes interest in Norway's heritage, history, language, literature and art. They have worked with other local Scandinavian organizations to host cultural events and to help construct the Normanna Hall. They manage a scholarship program for local students studying abroad in Norway.

Normanna Male Chorus

  • SIE 1.8.1
  • Corporate body
  • 1924-

In November 1924, the first meeting of the Normanna Male Chorus was held in Normanna Hall in Tacoma. The group was preceeded by the Quartetten Luren, a male chorus of local Norwegian immigrants founded in Parkland in 1888. The Chorus participates in the annual Sangerfest and performs Norwegian songs at local venues and festivals.

Puget Sound Posten

  • SIE 3.1
  • Corporate body
  • 1908-1932

Tacoma Swedish-language weekly newspaper.
Publisher: Puget Sound Publishing Company, 1125 Tacoma Avenue,Tacoma , Washington

Puget Sound Publishing Company

  • Corporate body
  • 1905-1941

The Puget Sound Publishing Company, based in Tacoma, published the Norwegian newspaper, The Western Viking, and the Swedish newspaper, The Puget Sound Posten. The company sponsored "The Scandinavian Hour" radio program on Tacoma KVI. Another local newspaper, Vestkysten, was sold to the Puget Sound Publishing Company in 1931.

Skagit Valley Mannskor

  • SIE 1.8.6
  • Corporate body
  • 2000-

The Skagit Valley Mannskor (Men's Chorus) was founded in 2000. In 2005, the Mannskor hosted the Norwegian Singers Association of America's Sangerfest. The event included performances from all 12 existing Norwegian Male Choruses on the West Coast.

Sons of Norway District 2

  • SIE 1.2.2
  • Corporate body
  • 1903-

Sons of Norway is the largest Norwegian-American organization in the world, comprised of members in the United States, Canada and Norway. The organization provides opportunities for members to familiarize themselves with the culture and traditions of Norway through local lodge and district lodge activities and events. Sons of Norway was organized as a fraternal benefit society by 18 Norwegian immigrants in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 16 January 1895. The purposes and goals were to protect members and their families from financial hardships during times of sickness or death. This was gradually expanded to include the preservation of Norwegian heritage and culture.

Originally, to qualify for membership, one had to be male, either Norwegian or of Norwegian descent, give proof of being morally upright, in good health, capable of supporting a family, at least 20 years old, and no more than 50 years of age.

Today, their extensive insurance program offered to qualifying members provides a firm foundation and economic base from which their numerous programs are carried out, furthering the cultural values of the Norwegian heritage.

The organization Sons of Norway consists of a main office and district offices that gathers all the reports and payments from the different lodges. The lodges are run by a president, finance secretary, secretary, cashier, and the members. All of the lodges have to send in financial reports and member lists every six month. The district secretary then meets with the main office secretary for a yearly meeting where they go through the reports.

There are 47 Sons of Norway lodges found in District 2, located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. The oldest lodge, Leif Erikson Lodge No. 2-001 was organized in Seattle, Washington on 13 May 1903.

Swedish Order of Valhalla

  • SIE 1.3
  • Corporate body
  • 1884-

On 15 December 1884, a group of young Swedish men met at the Svea Hotel and decided to form an organization “for social and benevolent purposes.” Originally, the founders named their order Freja, but later changed it to Valhalla. For the first fifty years the group’s official language was Swedish, until a resolution was made to change the official language to English in 1939. The original initiation ritual, developed by the founders and later refined by brothers Gustave Pahrson and J.C. Lindahl, was based on Norse mythology and excerpts from the Frithiofs Saga. This ritual was later abandoned after WWI in favor of a shorter, more simplified ritual. The Order of Valhalla provided several services for its members, including health care and funds for funerals, which were provided through monthly fees paid by its members. In 1906 the order constructed its own building on South K Street in Tacoma, Washington and named it Valhalla Hall. The facilities of Valhalla Hall contained a tavern and dance hall, which were used for social gatherings, and other halls within the building, which were rented out to tenants. During the order’s early years, there was no interaction between Valhalla and local churches, until the tenth anniversary of the dedication of Valhalla Hall in 1916. During that celebration Rev. C.E. Bloomquist, pastor of the First Swedish Lutheran Church, served as guest speaker. This event opened the door for further cooperation between churches and secular organizations in the Swedish community.

The Order of Valhalla celebrated its 90th anniversary in December of 1974.

Tacoma Tidende Publishing Company

  • Corporate body
  • 1890-1931

The Tacoma Tidende Publishing Company was founded in 1890 by Dirk Blaauw with support from the local Scandinavian business community. The first issue of the Tidende newspaper was published July 4, 1890. Blaauw sought to compete with Seattle's Washington Posten and to expand readership beyond the City of Tacoma. The paper began advertising itself as "The most widely circulating organ of the Scandinavians in the states of Washington and Oregon, in Alaska and in British Columbia" and expanded its news coverage and beyond Washington. In 1897, Dirk Blaauw sold the paper to John Blaauw, who was working as a representative for the paper in Portland, Oregon. He quickly expanded the number of pages, subscribers, and advertisers and piloted unique cooperative programs with other Scandinavian language publications in the Midwest. While the paper had always been known as the Tacoma Tidende, the title page began reflecting this by 1900. Blaauw began directly competing with the Washington Posten by marketing the newspaper and expanding subscribers in Seattle and Ballard. The Tacoma Tidende positioned itself as the more conservative of the Puget Sound Scandinavian newspapers by voicing its support for temperance and other political and social issues. Blaauw left the newspaper in 1911 and Rudolf Blom Anderson, who had previously worked for the Washington Posten, followed as Publisher and Editor. In 1920, John Soley purchased the newspaper and began to refocus the paper on local news within the Scandinavian community. The paper's name was changed to Vestkysten (The West Coast), which had been the title of a short-lived local publication, in 1925. In 1931, Soley sold Vestkysten to The Western Viking.

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