Danish Americans

Last updated
Danish Americans
Total population
1,284,171 [1] 0.4% of the U.S. population (2017)
Regions with significant populations
California, Utah, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois
English, Danish
Christianity (predominantly Lutheran; also other Protestant churches, Catholicism and Mormonism)
Related ethnic groups
Danes, Greenlanders, Greenlandic Americans, Danish Canadians, Danish Australians, Scandinavian Americans, Norwegian Americans, European Americans
Distribution of Danish Americans according to the 2000 census. Danish1346.gif
Distribution of Danish Americans according to the 2000 census.

Danish Americans (Danish : Dansk-amerikanere) are Americans who have ancestral roots originated fully or partially from Denmark. There are approximately 1,300,000 Americans of Danish origin or descent. [2]

Danish language North Germanic language spoken in Denmark

Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in Denmark and in the region of Southern Schleswig in northern Germany, where it has minority language status. Also, minor Danish-speaking communities are found in Norway, Sweden, Spain, the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina. Due to immigration and language shift in urban areas, around 15–20% of the population of Greenland speak Danish as their first language.

Americans Citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Denmark Constitutional monarchy in Europe

Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country. Denmark proper, which is the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries, consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. The southernmost of the Scandinavian nations, Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also includes two autonomous territories in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.



The first Dane known to have arrived in North America was The Reverend Rasmus Jensen, a priest of the Church of Denmark (Evangelical-Lutheran). Little is known about the life of Jensen, not even the parish where he served as pastor, although his diary during the expedition provides some information. It is known that he was the chaplain aboard an expedition to the New World commissioned by King Christian IV of Denmark in 1619. The expedition was made up of two small Danish ships Enhiørningen and Lamprenen, with 64 sailors who were Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, and Germans.

Rasmus Jensen Danish clergy

Rasmus Jensen was a Danish Lutheran priest and the first Lutheran cleric in Canada.

Church of Denmark Evangelical-Lutheran denomination in Denmark

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark or National Church, sometimes called Church of Denmark, is the established, state-supported church in Denmark. The reigning monarch is the supreme secular authority in the church. As of 1 January 2019, 74.7% of the population of Denmark are members, though membership is voluntary.

Monarchy of Denmark monarchy of the Kingdom of Denmark

The Monarchy of Denmark, colloquially known as the Danish Monarchy, is a constitutional institution and a historic office of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Kingdom includes Denmark, as well as the autonomous regions of Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The Kingdom of Denmark was already consolidated in the 8th century, whose rulers are consistently referred to in Frankish sources as "kings". Under the rule of King Gudfred in 804 the Kingdom may have included all the major provinces of medieval Denmark. The current unified Kingdom of Denmark was founded or re-united by the Viking kings Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth in the 10th century. Originally an elective monarchy, it became hereditary only in the 17th century during the reign of Frederick III. A decisive transition to a constitutional monarchy occurred in 1849 with the writing of the first Constitution. The current Royal House is a branch of the princely family of Glücksburg, originally from Schleswig-Holstein in modern-day Germany, the same royal house as the Norwegian and former Greek royal families.

Captained by the navigator and explorer, Jens Munk, the ships were searching for the Northwest Passage. After sailing into Frobisher Bay and Ungava Bay, Munk eventually passed through Hudson Strait and reached Digges Island (at the northern tip of Quebec) on August 20. They then set out across the Bay towards the southwest. By early September, they had not yet found a passage. The party arrived in Hudson Bay on September 7, landed at the mouth of Churchill River, settling at what is now Churchill, Manitoba.

Northwest Passage Sea route north of North America

The Northwest Passage (NWP) is, from the European and northern Atlantic point of view, the sea route to the Pacific Ocean through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The eastern route along the Arctic coasts of Norway and Siberia is accordingly called the Northeast Passage (NEP).

The two ships were put side-by-side and prepared for winter as best as they could. It was a disastrous winter. Cold, famine, and scurvy destroyed most of the men. Jensen had died on 20 February 1620. Only Munk and two sailors survived to return, leaving no settlement in the New World. The frigate Enhiørningen had been broken down by ice during the winter. However, the smaller Lamprenen could be salvaged. The return trip lasted two months. The surviving crew members aboard the Lamprenen reached Bergen, Norway on 20 September 1620.[4]

The earliest documented Danish immigrants to the new world, Jan Jansen and his wife Engeltje, along with their children, arrived in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1636. [3]

More than a century after Christian IV's expedition came explorer Vitus Jonassen Bering (1681–1741), a Dane who was working for the Russian empire. In 1728, he documented the narrow body of water that separated North America and Asia, which was later named the Bering Sea in his honor. Bering was the first European to arrive in Alaska in 1741. In 1666, the Danish West India Company took control of the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean and eventually, the islands of St. John in 1717 and St. Croix in 1733. The Danes brought African slaves to those islands, where the slaves were put to work in the snuff, cotton and sugar industries. These early settlers began to establish trade with New England. In 1917, they sold the islands to the United States, and they were renamed "U.S. Virgin Islands."

Russian Empire former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Bering Sea Marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Alaska, Eastern Russia and the Aleutian Islands

The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It forms, along with the Bering Strait, the divide between the two largest landmasses on Earth: Eurasia and The Americas. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves.

Alaska State in the United States

Alaska is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of the United States West Coast, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. The Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon border the state to the east and southeast. Its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas—southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest U.S. state by area and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America: its population—estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015—is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. United States armed forces bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.

In the early seventeenth century, individual Danish immigrants became established in North America. Scandinavians—Danes and Norwegians in particular—made up a large portion of the settlers in the Dutch colony of New Netherland, now New York. After 1750, Danish families in the Protestant Moravian Brethren denomination immigrated to Pennsylvania, where they settled in the Bethlehem area alongside German Moravians. Until 1850, most Danes who emigrated to North America were unmarried men. During this period, some Danes achieved notability and recognition. Among them were Hans Christian Febiger (1749–1796), one of George Washington's most trusted officers during the American Revolution, Charles Zanco (1808–1836) who died at the Alamo in March 1836 in the struggle for Texan independence, and Peter Lassen (1800–1859), a blacksmith from Copenhagen who led a group of adventurers from Missouri to California in 1839. The trail established by Lassen was followed by the "forty-niners" during the California Gold Rush. Lassen is considered one of the most important early settlers of California.

New Netherland 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic that was located on the East Coast of North America

New Netherland was a 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic that was located on the east coast of America. The claimed territories extended from the Delmarva Peninsula to southwestern Cape Cod, while the more limited settled areas are now part of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, with small outposts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

New York (state) American state

New York is a state located in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from its city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State (NYS).

Protestantism Division within Christianity, originating with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church

Protestantism is the second-largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than also by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.

From 1820 and 1850, about 60 Danes settled in the United States every year. Between 1820 and 1990 there was a population of 375,000 Danes; a vast majority of whom emigrated between 1860 and 1930 The greatest Danish emigration occurred in 1882 when 11,618 Danes settled in the United States.

The first significant wave of Danish immigrants consisted mainly of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) members who settled in United States in 1850. They settled in the newly acquired state of Utah, which had been under Mexican control until 1848. There were 17,000 such immigrants, many of these settled in small farming communities in the Sanpete and Sevier counties. Today, these counties respectively have the second and fifth largest percentages of Danish Americans in the United States.

Between 1864 and 1920, 50,000 Danes emigrated from Schleswig, Jutland, where the use of Danish language was banned in schools following the Danish defeat in the Second Schleswig War and Prussia seizing control. They were called North Slesvigers, however, most of these Danes are recorded in the census statistics as immigrants from Germany rather than Denmark. Most Danes who immigrated to the United States after 1865 did so for economic reasons. By 1865, there had been a large increase in the Danish population in Europe because of the improvement in the medicine and food industries. It caused a high rate of poverty and ultimately resulted in a significant and rapid increase in Danish migration to other countries. Another reason for migration was the sale of lands. Many Danes became farmers in the United States. During the 1870s, almost half of all Danish immigrants to the United States settled in family groups. By the 1890s, family immigration made up only of 25 percent of the total. It has been suggested that many of these immigrants eventually returned to Denmark. [4]


According to the United States Census of 2000, the states with the largest populations of Danish Americans are as follows:

The states with the smallest populations of Danish Americans are as follows:

Usage of Danish

About 30,000 Danish Americans continue to speak the Danish language. According to the 2000 US Census Bureau, 33,400 people spoke Danish at home; that figure was down to 29,467 five years later (2005 American Community Survey), a decrease of about 11.8%. [5]


The Library of Congress has noted that Danish Americans, more so than other Scandinavian Americans, "spread nationwide and comparatively quickly disappeared into the melting pot... the Danes were the least cohesive group and the first to lose consciousness of their origins." [6] Historians have pointed to the higher rate of English use among Danes, their willingness to marry non-Danes, and their eagerness to become naturalized citizens as factors that contributed to their rapid assimilation, as well as their interactions with the already more assimilated German American community. [4]

Much that is regarded as "Danish" national culture today was not widespread in the psyche of Danish emigrants during the nineteenth century immigration to the United States. It would take the European nationalism and class struggles of the late nineteenth century to effectively seed the ideas of a distinctive national cultural personality. While many Danish emigrants to the US fared far better economically than emigrants from Eastern Europe, a deep cultural awareness of Danish literature, with popular fiction authors such as Hans Christian Andersen, did not exist among the agrarian bønder or common people of Denmark. Exceptions exist, of course; primary among these are a rich heritage of folklore, an affinity to art, and regional traditions involving food and feast days.

As the Danes came to the US, they brought with them their traditional foods. Popular Danish cuisine includes kringle (almond paste pastry), Wienerbrød and fastelavnsboller or Danish pastry (what Americans call breakfast "Danish"), æbleskiver (puffed pan cakes), frikadeller (Danish veal and pork meatballs), flæskesteg (pork roast), and risengrød (rice pudding). Despite the perceived importance of beer in modern Danish national culture, Danish immigrants were largely unsuccessful in penetrating the competitive American beer industry, which was saturated by immigrant German and Czech brew masters.

In 1872, Danish Americans in Omaha, Nebraska, founded Den Danske Pioneer , or Danish Pioneer, an English-Danish newspaper. Now published in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, it is the oldest Danish American newspaper in publication. [7]

Snow College, located in Ephraim, Utah in Sanpete County, Utah, holds an annual Scandinavian Festival to honor their heritage and Danish as well as immigrants from other Scandinavian countries. [8] The festival is held during two days in May. "And it expresses the warmth you’ll feel as you visit with us. You see, many of us are descendants of the plucky Scandinavians who crossed ocean and plain to settle our gorgeous valley. That proud past is part of our everyday lives. And we delight in sharing it with visitors." [8] It features costumes, dancing, storytelling, entertainment, historical tours, craft and food booths.


Like many other immigrant groups, Danish Americans also founded schools to educate their youth. Traditional Danish "folk schools," which focused more on learning outcomes than grades or diplomas, were operated primarily between the 1870s and 1930s in heavily Danish communities such as Racine, Wisconsin, Elk Horn, Iowa; Ashland, Michigan; West Denmark, Wisconsin; Nysted, Nebraska; Tyler, Minnesota; Viborg, South Dakota; Kenmare, North Dakota; and Solvang, California. [4] Omaha, Nebraska and neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa, had major colonies of Danes for many years. [9]

The one major still-operating historically Danish American college is Grand View University, founded in 1896 in Des Moines, Iowa. Grand View University continues to maintain a large archival collection of Danish American history. Another institution, Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, operated from 1884 until 2010, but closed its doors in July 2010 due to failing enrollment. The Danish American Archive and Library that once resided at Dana College is now independently situated in Blair. The archive contains the country’s largest and broadest collection of materials relating to the life experience, cultural heritage and vital contributions to North America of the people of Danish extraction.

Religious life

Like other groups of Americans of Scandinavian descent, most Danes in America are Lutherans. Lutheran pioneer minister, Claus Lauritz Clausen, the first president of the Norwegian-Danish Lutheran Conference, traveled to Denmark and influenced religious leaders to send pastors to America. The oldest Danish Lutheran congregation is Emmaus Lutheran Church in Racine, Wisconsin, founded August 22, 1851. Nearby Kenosha is home to the second oldest Danish Lutheran congregation, St. Mary's Lutheran Church, which is the largest congregation in the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

In addition, a large number of Danish Americans belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Between 1849 and 1904, some 17,000 Danish Mormons and their children made the journey to the Church's settlements in Utah, making Danes second only to the British in number of foreigners recruited by the church to the state.

Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin have the largest concentrations of non-Mormon Danish Americans. The states with the largest Mormon Danish American populations are Utah and Idaho—and in the case of Idaho, particularly the southeastern part of the state.

Smaller but significant numbers of Danish Americans have also become Methodists, Baptists, Roman Catholics, and Seventh-day Adventists. [4]

Danish American communities

Two cities, Chicago and Racine, Wisconsin, claim to be the home to the largest group of Danish Americans in the United States. Racine, 25 miles south of Milwaukee has the largest concentration of city dwellers with Danish origin. A number of other communities were founded by Danish Americans or have a large Danish American community, including:

Additionally, Danish Americans helped settle three U.S. counties: Montcalm, Michigan; St. Louis, Minnesota; and Sanpete, Utah.

Notable people


Gutzon Borglum chiseled Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota, now a modern American icon. Gutzon Borglum 1919.jpg
Gutzon Borglum chiseled Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota, now a modern American icon.


The three Christensen brothers: Lew, Harold, and Willam are well known in the history of American ballet. The three carved out careers as choreographers, teachers and directors, and clearly helped ballet flourish in the United States. Willam Christensen (1902–2001) especially, was the founder of the San Francisco Ballet. The three brothers were born into a Danish-American Mormon family in Brigham City, Utah.





Battling Nelson, presumed early 1900s Battling Nelson.jpg
Battling Nelson , presumed early 1900s



The Barrison Sisters reveal kittens beneath their skirts, at the conclusion of their notorious vaudeville cat dance, c. 1890s BarrisonPussy.JPG
The Barrison Sisters reveal kittens beneath their skirts, at the conclusion of their notorious vaudeville cat dance, c. 1890s




During the early days of Hollywood film making, numerous Danes and children of Danish emigrants directed, or acted on the silver screen, to include: Ann Forrest , Anders Randolf , Bodil Rosing , Benjamin Christensen , Carl Brisson , Carl Gerard , Ellen Corby , Gale Sondergaard , Gwili Andre , James Cruze , Janet Leigh , Colleen Gray , Jean Hersholt , Johannes Poulsen , Karl Dane , Lillie Hayward , Max Ree (1931 Oscar), Otto Mathiesen, Robert Andersen, Seena Owen , Svend Gade, Tambi Larsen , Torben Meyer , Winna Winfred and William Orlamond.

More to modern times, many Danes are actively involved in the movie industry. However today's air transportation no longer necessitates a Dane moving to America to be an artistic part of Hollywood. Among the few Danes who have moved to the U.S.A. to pursue acting careers is Connie Inge-Lise Nielsen , who was born in Denmark and today lives in Sausalito, California. Additionally, a few stars claim connection to Denmark via their Danish-American parents. For example, actors Leslie Nielsen , Viggo Mortensen , the siblings Virginia Madsen and Michael Madsen were born to Danish fathers and American mothers. Likewise, actress Scarlett Johansson was also born to a Danish father. Director and cinematographer Mikael Salomon was born in Sweden to a Danish mother and father.


Christian Febiger was an American Revolutionary War commander, born on Fyn, he became a confidante of General George Washington and was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati. Known by the moniker "Old Denmark", Febiger also served as Treasurer of Pennsylvania from November 13, 1789 until his death nearly seven years later. [14] [ circular reporting? ]

Chris Madsen , the famous lawman of the Old West, was born Chris Madsen Rørmose in Denmark. After emigrating in 1876, he served for 15 years in the U.S. Army in the Fifth Cavalry and fought in many major Indian campaigns. After his discharge in 1891, Madsen became a deputy U.S. marshal in the Oklahoma Territory, where he apprehended or killed many outlaws. In 1898, he joined Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders, serving as Quartermaster Sergeant. After more service as a U.S. marshal, and at the outset of World War I, he tried to enlist in the U.S. Army but was rejected due to his age

Robert A. Arensen, FM1, USN, lost his life on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor when the U.S.S. Helena was torpedoed. Arensen came from Perth Amboy, NJ.

Dale M. Hansen , Pvt., USMC, earned his nation's highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his outstanding heroism on 7 May 1945 in the fight for Hill 60 on Okinawa. He was killed by enemy sniper fire three days later. Hansen came from Wisner, Nebraska. Camp Hansen, one of the ten Marine Corps camps on Okinawa, is named in honor of Pvt. Hansen.

William S. Knudsen , an emigrant from Copenhagen, Denmark, and leading executive in the automobile industry, accepted President Franklin Roosevelt's urging to manage the task of overseeing America's vast wartime military armament and supply production. In 1942, Knudsen accepted a brevet commission and served for the duration of the war as a Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army.

Danish born Congressional Medal of Honor recipients

Infamous Danish Americans

Robert Hansen (Robert Christian Hansen) was a serial killer, who between 1980 and 1983 murdered between 17 and 21 people near Anchorage, Alaska. Hansen was born in Estherville, Iowa, to Christian and Edna Hansen. Hansen's father was a Danish immigrant baker and he worked in his father's bakery as a youth. It is theorized that Hansen began killing prostitutes around 1980. After paying women for their services, he would kidnap, torture, and rape them, further binding and flying them to his cabin in the Knik River Valley in his private airplane. Once there, he would release his victim on a river sandbar, stalk and then kill them with a hunting knife or carbine as they fled through the woods. Apprehended in 1983, Hansen was convicted in 1984 and sentenced to 461 years plus life, without chance of parole. He was imprisoned at Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, Alaska. The Hansen case served as inspiration for the action thriller Naked Fear (2007).

Thor Nis Christiansen was a serial killer from Solvang, California. He was born in Denmark and emigrated to Inglewood with his parents and on to Solvang when he was five years old. His father, Nis, ran a restaurant in Solvang. In sum, Thor Christiansen was obsessed with fantasies of shooting women and having sex with their corpses. Christiansen killed four women and his fifth victim escaped with serious wounds. After conviction, he was stabbed to death in Folsom State Prison in 1981.

Bjarne Skounborg , born Peter Kenneth Bostrøm Lundin, (more commonly known as Peter Lundin ), is a convicted murderer. He was born in Solrød Strand, Denmark in 1971 and emigrated to the United States when he was seven years old. In April 1991, Lundin strangled his mother to death in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, and, with the help of his father, he buried her body on a Cape Hatteras beach, where it was later found. In 1992, Lundin was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for the murder and in 1999 Lundin was released from prison for capacity reasons and deported back to Denmark. After his return to Denmark he was convicted for killing his girlfriend and her two sons and is currently serving life imprisonment.

George Anderson George Dutch Anderson portrait.jpg
George Anderson

George Anderson also known as George "Dutch" Anderson was an early Prohibition-era gang criminal in the mid-1920s. Anderson was born Ivan Dahl von Teler to a wealthy Danish family circa 1880, graduated from the universities of Heidelberg and Uppsala, and emigrated to the United States around the start of the 20th century. Anderson, along with Gerald Chapman (America’s first Public Enemy Number One), operated a Prohibition-era gang during the late 1910s until the mid-1920s. After settling in New York City, he and his associates successfully robbed a U.S. Mail truck of $2.4 million in cash, stocks, bonds, and jewelry, an act that was at the time the largest robbery in U.S. history and became known as the "Great Post Office Robbery of 1921." After even more robberies, Anderson and Chapman were finally captured, tried, and sentenced to 25 years in prison, to be served at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. However, after serving a mere seven months Anderson and Chapman both escaped. Chapman was captured shortly after his escape and while a fugitive Anderson swore revenge. In Indiana he killed a key prosecution witness from Chapman's trial and drew further attention by passing poor-quality counterfeit currency in Michigan. Ultimately, Anderson was arrested, made a short-lived escape, and was killed in a police shootout while trying to flee on October 31, 1925. Anderson's remarkable criminal infamy included burglary, armed robbery, boot-legging, prison escape, counterfeiting, and murder.

Casper Holstein was a numbers racketeer who made a fortune in New York's Harlem neighborhoods. Born in 1878 on St. Croix, Danish West Indies, to a father who was a mulatto landowner the son of Danish military officer father and African descent mother, Holstein moved to New York City in 1894. After service in the U.S. Navy, the veteran Holstein eventually became involved in gambling and found a niche in the African-American neighborhoods of Harlem, where he devised a dime-based numbers betting enterprise. By the early 1920s, Holstein's system achieved huge popularity and he became known as the "Bolita King," earning him an estimated $5000 a day. Holstein used his illegal revenue for many philanthropic causes both within Harlem and back in the renamed U.S. Virgin Islands. Eventually, Holstein was muscled out of his operations by competing (white) organized crime. In 1935 Holstein was arrested and convicted of illegal gambling and served a one-year sentence. Upon release Holstein invested in real estate and offered mortgages to minorities in the Harlem community until his death in 1944, when a reported 2,000 people attended his funeral at Harlem's Memorial Baptist Church.

See also

Related Research Articles

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  12. William Rauscher, S.S. Adams: High Priest of Pranks and Merchant of Magic (Oxford, CT: David E. Haversat, 2002)
  13. Edward T. O'Donnell, "Pictures vs. Words? Public History, Tolerance, and the Challenge of Jacob Riis," Public Historian (2004) 26#3 pp 7-26.
  14. "Col. Christian Febiger (1749-1796)". fibiger.net. Archived from the original on 15 May 2008.


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