St. Paul, Howard County, Nebraska (1885-1896)

Stjernen. December 23, 1885, Image 1

First page of first issue of Stjernen.
Stjernen. : (St. Paul, Howard County, Nebraska) 1885-1896
Alternative Titles:
  • Star
Place of publication:
St. Paul, Howard County, Nebraska
Geographic coverage:
  • Dannebrog, Howard, Nebraska
  • View more titles from this: City | County
  • Saint Paul, Howard, Nebraska
  • View more titles from this: City | County
Dates of publication:
  • Began with 1ste aarg., nr. 1, 23de dec. 1885; ceased in aug. 1896.
  • Danish
  • English
  • Nebraska--Saint Paul.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01276217
  • Nebraska.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01208998
  • Saint Paul (Neb.)--Newspapers.
  • Scandinavian American newspapers.
  • Scandinavian American newspapers.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01106454
  • Scandinavian Americans--Nebraska--Newspapers.
  • Scandinavian Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01106373
  • Scandinavians--Nebraska--Newspapers.
  • Scandinavians.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01106459
  • Description based on: 1ste aarg., nr. 1, 23de dec. 1885; title from masthead.
  • In Danish; some advertisements in English.
  • Issues for 6te Jan. 1886- called 1ste aarg., nr. 1-
  • Published in Dannebrog, Neb., 14de marts 1888-1896.


Stjernan or the “Star” was a weekly Danish-American paper published from 1885-1896—briefly in St. Paul, Nebraska, and soon thereafter in nearby Dannebrog, Nebraska. The annual subscription was $1.50. At its height, there were 2,600 subscribers, 600 from Dannebrog and 2,000 from other locales. From 1886-1896, the publisher and editor was Peter Ebbesen, who had emigrated from Denmark to the U.S. as a child. In a pioneer history of his life, he wrote that when he began as an editor, he could barely read or write Danish at all. In time, he noted that he gradually gained enough Danish to “pass” among the Danish community of Dannebrog. Despite this self-deprecating assessment, the paper itself is described in a 2003 article by author Karsten Kjer Christensen as remarkably well-organized, with interesting articles. The newspaper’s letterpress lead type appears to have been taken from a mix of Scandinavian languages, although predominantly Danish fraktur.

Christensen wrote that the first issue stated, “Readers and friends. Today we add a paper to the journalistic accumulation among Scandinavians in America. A beacon that with the cooperation of our compatriots we hope will be worthy of its name." After a few issues with church-related columns that were fraught with narrow doctrinal arguments, the paper carefully refrained from focusing on theological issues. Instead, it reported heavily on farming issues and commodities prices. At one point, Ebbesen encouraged farmers to submit their own stories about farming; however, this did not prove popular and the column was dropped. The paper also featured political news from both the U.S. and Denmark. Social news included reports of weddings, births and travel, primarily travel to Denmark. As Christensen noted, Stjernan readers saw themselves as “Danes in America” rather than Danish-Americans.

During a serious drought in 1896, a fire destroyed the newspaper office and the paper never recovered. Ebbesen moved back to St. Paul, Nebraska, and ran unsuccessfully for political office. Thereafter, he published and edited English-language newspapers in St. Paul.