Lodge Diana Birger Jarl No. 3, Vasa Order of America

October 10, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

On March 17, 1928, the meeting of the Birger Jarl Lodge was called to order at 7:45 pm. Minutes indicate that several individuals were missing. The members who were present approved the minutes of the previous meeting, were read a list of people who were sick, and appointed a committee to sell tickets to their upcoming ball. The financial report concluded  the meeting.

A record book of the Birger Jarl Lodge was recently added to our collections. The minutes of meetings date from 1923-1940 and document a fraternal organization in Connecticut that helped newly arrived Nordic immigrants assimilate into American society, sought to preserve Nordic culture, and offered financial support when needed. Benefit societies like Birger Jarl Lodge No. 3 were often formed around an ethnic identity, a geographic location, a church, or a particular business. They were particularly important because there was so government-funded health insurance at the time of their creation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Vasa Order of America, which was the umbrella organization for the New Haven lodge, was founded September 18, 1896, in New Haven, Connecticut, to provide spiritual, physical and financial aid to its members. It was a combination of various sick benefit societies of Nordic origin within the State of Connecticut.

This is a great addition to our collections concerning immigrant populations to America. The only catch is, the entire volume is written in Swedish! It took an international effort for us to even understand the text of a single meeting. It presents a challenge not unlike that of the records of the Young Italian American Club which is primarily written in Italian.

The record book will be available through our Research Center. Ask for Ms 101617.

Letterhead for the Swedish aide society, Ms 101617.

Minutes of a meeting of the Birger Jarl No. 3, New Haven, Conn.

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