Select Page


RG1141.AM:  Hans Madsen Kokjer, 1857-1932

Correspondence:  1874-1918, 1973-1979

Clarks, Merrick County, Nebraska:  Danish immigrant

Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


Born in Denmark on February 20, 1857, Hans Madsen Kokjer immigrated to the United States and initially settled in Iowa in 1874.  He eventually moved to Nebraska, settling at Clarks in Merrick County.  He married Malina Hartwell in 1882, and the couple had five children, Meta, Hans, Tom, Ralph and Emerson.  Malina Kokjer died in 1920.  Hans Madsen Kokjer died on November 20, 1932.  He and his wife are buried in Calvary Cemetery at Clarks, Nebraska.


The bulk of the collection consists of a set of letters dating from 1874-1918 that were written primarily by Hans Madsen Kokjer to his family in Denmark.  Kokjer discusses many subjects in his letters, including the immigrant experience, initially coming to Iowa in 1874; working as a blacksmith as well as various agricultural experiences such as harvesting; description of building a house; religious ideas; community life in Clarks, Nebraska (1879-1918); the Chicago Fire in 1874; home life, including a description of his wedding to Malina Hartwell in 1882, and information about his children and his two brothers; observations about World War I; etc. Of particular note are letters written in 1891 concerning the Nebraska State Fair and a special train that carried an exhibit of Nebraska products through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Kokjer represented Clarks, Nebraska, on this train trip.  The original letters are all in Danish, but a set of English translations done by Marianne Hjordt Hansen are also available.

The rest of the letters in the collection consist of correspondence dating from 1973-1979 between Marianne Hjordt Hansen and Kokjer’s son, H. Emerson Kokjer. Hansen lived in Denmark and translated Kokjer’s letters from Danish into English. Hansen comments on life in Denmark and elaborates on the translations. Also included is a recipe for ableskiver.  The last folder in the collection contains two copy photo portraits of Hans Madsen Kokjer and his wife, Malina (Hartwell) Kokjer.

Note:  See the Jordan Madsen Kokjer collection [RG3983] for related materials. The History Nebraska collections contain numerous resources regarding homesteading in Nebraska, the Nebraska State Fair, and other related information.


Box 1


  1. Correspondence, 1874-1891 (Danish)

  2. Correspondence, 1892-1918 (Danish)

  3. Correspondence, 1874-1918 (English translations)

  4. Correspondence, 1973-1979

  5. Photos


Subject headings:

Charlotte (Iowa) — History

Clarks (Nebraska) — History

Clinton County (Iowa) — History

Community life — Nebraska — Clarks

Danes in Nebraska

Delmar (Iowa) — History


Domestic life — Nebraska

Farm life

Hansen, Marianne Hjordt

Immigration and emigration

Jorgensen, Soren, 1857-1926

Kokjer family

Kokjer, Hans Madsen, 1857-1932

Kokjer, Harold Emerson, 1898-1981

Kokjer, Jordan Madsen, 1865-1942

Kokjer, Mads Madsen, 1860-1934

Kokjer, Malina (Hartwell), 1857-1920

Merrick County (Nebraska) — History

Nebraska State Fair (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Rasmussen, Mette


Revised TMM      04-17-2009; 10-16-2019