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Authority record
Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Collection

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.

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.

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.

Washington Posten

  • SIE 3.5
  • Corporate body
  • 1889-1961

The Washington Posten was first distributed as part of the Norwegian Constitution Day celebration in Seattle on May 17, 1889. The Norwegian-Danish publication was founded by Frank Oleson, an immigrant for Trondheim, Norway who worked as a postal clerk in Seattle. In an 1938 interview, Oleson recalled, "As a clerk at the post office, I discovered that many bundles of Decorah-Posten, Skandinaven, Budstikken, and other Norwegian-American newspapers were being sent to subscribers here. They were not only for people in Seattle, but many were addressed to post offices in the surrounding area for which Seattle served as a distribution point. This circumstance gave me and my brother Richard, who also worked in the post office, the idea of publishing a Norwegian newspaper in Seattle. I was at that time twenty-six years old and my brother two years younger. We had no experience whatsoever in the publishing business and even less experience in editorial work."

The Posten was edited by Gunnar Lund from 1905-1938, Ole L Ejde from 1938 to 1959, and Henning C Boe from 1959 to 1961. Beginning in 1890, the offices of the Washington Posten were located on Front Street (1st Avenue) near Blanchard Street. Several other spaces were used in the downtown area until the late 1910s when the headquarters were established in the Seaboard Building at the corner of 4th Avenue and Pike Street where it would remain until 1961. In 1959, Henning C Boe purchased the Posten. In order to expand the audience for the paper, he began including more English language content and, in 1961, changed the name to the Western Viking. The newspaper reached approximately 15,000 subscribers in the 1920s.

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

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.

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.

Vasa Order of America

  • SIE 1.4
  • Corporate body
  • 1912-

The Vasa Order of America was founded on September 18, 1896 in New Haven, Connecticut by Swedish immigrants on the principles of generosity, truth, and unity. Pacific Northwest Lodge no. 13 was organized August 11, 1912 in Seattle, Washington by E.L Gissler from Connecticut. The nine local lodges represented were Nordstjarnan no. 145 of Spokane, Washington; Nobel no. 184 of Portland, Oregon; Norrskenet no. 189 of Hoquiam, Washington; Klippan no. 228 of Seattle, Washington; Forgat Mig Ej (later changed to Nornan no. 413) of Vancouver, B.C.; Trofast no. 231 of Everett, Washington; Norden no. 233 of Tacoma, Washington; Svea no. 234 of Bellingham, Washington; and Astor no. 215 of Astoria, Oregon. During that time District Lodge conventions were established as an annual event, but at the Spokane convention of 1920 it was changed in favor of a biennial affair in the interest of economy for both district and local lodges. The Vasa Order of America is the largest Swedish-American cultural fraternal organization for families of Scandinavian descent in the United States of America. The order consists of 19 district lodges and several hundred local lodges throughout the U.S., Canada, and Sweden. The organization offers Scandinavian cultural and heritage programs, Swedish language study, children and youth clubs, scholarships and student loans, and many cultural activities for its members.

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