Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 31

January 31, 1912 – Professor Karl Larsen of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, who is touring the U. S. as a representative of the Danish government to study the social condition of the Danish-American, has arrived in Minneapolis. Although has not been long in this country, he holds some very distinct impressions of the customs here that are both amusing and interesting.

Dyckman Hotel, Minneapolis, Minn.1

When the professor was asked today in his room in the Dyckman Hotel what impressed him the most in America, he shrugged his shoulders, thought for a moment, and replied:

“I do not know when I am in America who is servant and who is master. Last night I left my shoes outside of the hotel door to be shined. This morning they were in the same place unshined. The American servant revolts at such work. You must go to a special place for such work.

“If a man wants his shoes shined or his clothes cleaned in America he either must do it himself or pay for it to be done. What is the result? The shoes of the average man are not kept in good condition.

 “I find the difference is the servant question disagreeable. When I arrived I found that every man must look out for himself. In Denmark it is different. We have our servants. They do all the little things for us without being told. They shine our shoes, clean out clothes and do other little tasks that help to make life easier.

In American you must pay for everything. Everybody wants to be master. None wants to be servant. It is a great danger that this country is facing. The development of individuals leads to socialism and that means calamity.
“On the farm in Denmark the servant must remain at home. In America on Saturday afternoons and Sundays the hired man takes a horse and buggy and drives to town with his best girl. The master has to do the work. Bah! That is not right. The servant should stay at home. The master should all master and not part servant.

“We are facing the same question of master and servant in Europe, but not to such a serious degree as in America. In fact the issue does not exist there. There are no servants—all are masters.

“Imagine a servant in Denmark using the telephone, entertaining her friends in the home she is employed in, or, refusing to do the washing.

But America is a great country. The hotels are magnificent. They are the best in the world. The fine hotel just created in Berlin, Germany, was patterned after American hotels. Everything is so conveniently arranged.”

Professor Larsen will speak Friday night in the Norwegian Lutheran Church. He will talk on “The People of Denmark and Their Attitude During the War of 1864 With Austria and Prussia.”

Professor Karl Larsen

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Shoes Left Out for Shine Go Unnoticed by Servants. Danish Professor Is Surprised to Find Boots Unpolished in Morning. Says Everybody Is Master Here, With None to Serve.”;  Feb. 1, 1912; p. 6.


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