Educate Their Daughters
When Lutheran church leaders came from Norway in the middle of the nineteenth century, educational
plans for each gender were based on deeply held beliefs about what a man was and what a woman was.
Teenage boys were to be educated at a school away from home—Luther College for those in the
Norwegian Synod. Girls were to be educated in the parlors of an aunt or close friends of her parents. At
the time they immigrated, how to educate their children had been central to the cultural debates of
their day. Those arguments lived on in this country while the Norwegian Synod pastors were deciding
how to build such institutions for their children. Now they lived not only in a new land and culture, but
also in a new era when the role of women was changing.
Luther remained the only college among Norwegians-Americans that did not admit women in the
nineteenth century and into the twentieth century. The arguments surrounding these decisions reveal
deeply traditional understandings of men and women held by these Norwegian-Americans. Finally, in
1932 Luther College became a co-educational institution.
Gracia Grindal surveys these developments within the history of the Norwegian Synod. The arguments
regarding the education of women reveal some of the deeply traditional understandings of men and
women held by the Norwegian immigrants. Although by today's standards, they appear sexist and
exclusive, they reveal the traditions that shaped the Lutheran church in America.
Unstoppable is an invaluable addition to U.S. immigrant history. Numerous letters from pioneer pastor’s wives are a primary source of information. These talented women covered all facets of the Norwegian-American immigrant lives in their letters and sketches. Author Grindal has done a superb work in sharing the lives, thoughts, and convictions of this unique and interesting group of Norwegian-American immigrant women. I was absorbed by the book from beginning to end!
David W Preus, President, The American Lutheran Church
The true value of Gracia’s close study of the small world of a particular Norwegian American immigrant community is that it opens readers to the challenges of the larger world—how to eliminate disparities in educational opportunities everywhere, whether based on gender, race, national identity, social class.
Wilfred F. Bunge, Professor Emeritus, Luther College
Family values began to replace medieval values when Martin Luther decided to leave the monastery and marry in the year 1525. For the next 500 years, the Lutheran parsonage served as a model of family life. Elisabeth Koren and Linka Preus grew up in the Old World and carried that tradition to the rugged frontier of the New World. Don’t miss this fascinating story of how women found strength in rough times and went on to enrich our way of life.
J. R. Christianson, Professor Emeritus, Luther College
Mouse over for larger image
6 x 9
Lutheran University Press
Quantity in Basket: