Luther College Moment in History #65

Diderikke Brandt was born on March, 9, 1827 and moved to Decorah with her husband Nils O. Brandt (campus pastor and teacher from 1865 to 1882) in 1865. Their family lived together in the Campus House at Luther College. Her service to during the early years of Luther College was characterized by a strong commitment to community and a cheerful helpfulness and her close association with the students accorded her the title “Mother of Luther College.”She organized the community to help students with mending and fundraising, and offered Sunday entertainment and Christmas parties. A highly educated woman, Brandt invested time tutoring girls and women in Decorah—teaching music, handcrafts, and German, and persuaded Luther teachers to give instruction in English and history. Her efforts laid the foundation for the founding of the Luther College Womans’ Club in the 1920s and ultimately the admittance of women students in 1936. She fell ill in January, 1885, and died on the 21st of that month. Her dedication to community-building and the education of women is memorialized on campus in the naming of Brandt Hall.

[Part of the Sesquicentennial Homecoming Journey Portraits]