St. Paul Tidende

St. Paul tidende (St. Paul, Minn.) 1902-1928 Browse the title

St. Paul Tidende (“Saint Paul Times”) began in 1902, when Christian Rasmussen purchased the Norwegian-language newspaper Heimdal (“Home Valley”) with the intent of re-establishing it as a newspaper for Minnesota’s Danish population. In 1887, Rasmussen had moved his publishing company from Chicago to Minneapolis and established what would become known locally as bladfarbrikken or “the newspaper factory,” publishing as many as 16 Danish- and Norwegian-language newspapers, as well as books and other print publications. St. Paul Tidende was a Danish-language newspaper, published as an 8-page, 7-column weekly, with an Independent Republican political affiliation. In its peak years, from 1914 to 1920, St. Paul Tidende had a circulation of 5,000.

In contrast with Minnesota’s largest Scandinavian immigrant populations, the Norwegians and the Swedes, the Danes were a much smaller and more diffuse group. Although the majority of Danish immigrants prior to 1920 settled in rural areas of the state, a significant number chose to live in the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. By 1905, the Danish population of Saint Paul numbered just over 1,300, scattered in neighborhoods throughout the city, with roughly another 1,400 Danes residing in greater Ramsey County. Many had come to Saint Paul in the 1880s to work on the westward expansion of the Northern Pacific Railroad and in subsequent years found work primarily as artisans and laborers.

St. Paul Tidende featured the same content and followed the same layout as all of the C. Rasmussen Publishing Company’s newspapers. No headlines were used. Instead, news items were organized under labeled columns. National and international news could be found on page one; Danish and Norwegian news filled the second and third pages. Editorials and letters to the paper made up most the fourth page. Finally, local news was printed on the back page, while the rest of the paper consisted of short stories, brief features, and patent medicine advertisements.

An interesting point to note is the close relationship between the Danish and Norwegian languages--a tie that traces back many centuries over complex political alliances between the two countries. As spoken languages, Danish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible, but there are enough differences between the two that one can recognize each as a separate language. In written form, however, Danish and Norwegian are extremely similar--so much so that newspapers such as St. Paul Tidende were often listed in newspaper directories as being published in both Danish and Norwegian.

As the head of his own publishing company, Christian Rasmussen served as the first editor and publisher of St. Paul Tidende, but the day-to-day duties of running the paper were handed off in its first year to John Johnsen, who served as editor and publisher until 1913, when he was succeeded by Carl Munkholm, who was the paper’s last editor of record.

Declining circulation and advertising revenue ultimately forced Rasmussen to consolidate his newspaper empire down to one Norwegian-language newspaper he had started in 1890 in Chicago, the Ugebladet (“Weekly Blade”).  Although the exact date of its closure is unknown, it is believed the final issue of St. Paul Tidende was published in 1928.