The ORDER OF RUNEBERG was organized in Waukegan Illinois on August 20, 1920. Its organization was made possible by the merging of two separate groups, the SWEDISH-FINNISH BENEVOLENT AND AID ASSOCIATION and the SWEDISH-FINNISH TEMPERANCE ASSOCIATION.
The membership at that time consisted almost exclusively of people who came to this country from the Swedish-speaking parts of Finland.
The ORDER bears the name of JOHAN LUDVIG RUNEBERG, one of Finland’s greatest men. He was known throughout Scandinavia as a poet, a teacher and a statesman. The ideals as portrayed by this man, to a great extent, formed the foundation for the organization which now bears his name.
As a fraternal organization, the aim of the ORDER OF RUNEBERG is to encourage UNITY, FRIENDSHIP, HELPFULNESS and HONOUR. Towards special fellowship opportunities the ORDER has a varied program of activities.
At its inception, the organization provided a much needed common meeting ground for an ethnic group that had brought their cultural traditions from Finland to the shores of North America.
Since that time, membership has been extended to many others, including sons and daughters, grandchildren, relatives and friends – some of the same origin, while others of different nationalities. The Swedish language which formerly predominated within the ORDER has been replaced with English.
However, in spite of changes on the surface, the ORDER OF RUNEBERG continues to carry on many traditions and ideals which existed in 1920, although the emphasis today is principally social.
As of March 31, 2015 the "International Order of Runeberg" organization (International officers, etc...) stopped functioning, while the seven lodges continue independently. The "International" will disband on September 30, 2015, This time-frame allows for two lodges to complete some necessary business.
We extend a hearty welcome to you and your friends to join with us in our Lodges' activities.
OBJECTIVES of the ORDER
To promote an organization to which the WHOLE FAMILY can belong -from age four and upwards with equal consideration for the enjoyment of all.
To promote FRATERNALIZM.
To help one another in true FRIENDSHIP.
To develop in our children a recognition of their ancestry and a pride in their HERITAGE...
To encourage CULTURAL and TRADITIONAL ties with Finland.
To provide SCHOLARSHIPS to qualified members who wish to advance educationally.
Currently, there are seven OR Lodges
North Bend/Coos Bay
Vancouver B. C. Canada
Note: OR also offers the option of joining as a "Associate" member*, as an alternative to joining a local Lodge if a person / family doesn't live within commuting distance of a lodge.
*formerly referred to as a "Security Lodge" member
HISTORY OF ALL LODGES, as docuented / researched by Ralf Lind, of Hässelby, Sweden.
Below are: (1) an email from Ralf that describes details of (2) the pdf document that provides info on all lodges since 1920:
From: Ralf Lind
Date: Sat, Dec 23, 2017 at 4:15 PM
Subject:Info about the IOR lodges
Attached you find a pdf-file with short information about all lodges of the International Order of Runeberg (except the Finlandia lodge) as I’ve been able to gather it. My sources have been the following:
Ledstjärnan/Leading Star issues (1920-2010) found in the members section of the Swedish Finn Historical Society website. Unfortunately the issues for 1923-25 are missing at this point.
Leading Star issues (2011-2017) found on the Order of Runeberg website.
Memorabilia of the International Order of Runeberg 1898-1968, issued in 1968. Edited by Anders Myhrman.
Finlandssvenskar i Amerika (Finland Swedes in America), issued in 1972. Anders Myhrman, author.
For each lodge I have tried to determine the date, or at least the year, when they were organized. And also possible year and date when they have disbanded. As I assume that the numbers for each lodge was given in the order they were organized, I think the information about the year for each lodge is not all accurate. That information is mainly from the Memorabilia book. There it sometimes stated that a lodge was organized in 1920 but the lodge no. indicates that it should be 1921 or so.
I have looked through most issues of the Ledstjärnan/Leading Star for information about the number of members for each year. I have collected that in an Excel sheet, which I can share if there is an interest for such detailed information. Membership information has not always been shown on a regular basis in the Leading Starand also the different districts haven’t always reported that to the paper (or the information haven’t been printed).
In the pdf have tried to show ther membership situation for every then years, but it haven’t always been possible.
I have also noted which the forerunners to the different lodges were and what year those organizations organized. I also added som pictures of Runeberg halls that I have been able to visit myself.
There seem to be so much interesting information about each and every lodge that ever existed although some were very shortlived. One must especially admire the New Haven lodge, that started out with only 20 members and stayed fearly steady around that number into the 70s. All other lodges with such a low number of members are all long gone, while New Haven still strives on! Impressing!
But as you see there’s quite a few question marks here and there, indicating that the information isn’t final or that I am only assuming based on lack of definitive information.
I am looking forward to see what additional (or correcting) information that Dale might have!
Hope you find some of this I have put together interesting.
Tomorrow, Dec 24, is the big Christmas celebrating for us over here. No snow on the ground to lighten up the celebrations, but we will enjoy good food, spending time with family and friends and hopefully receiving one or two Christmas presents, too…
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Click the pdf icon to view short information about all lodges of the International Order of Runeberg