Rask & Bertelsen Butter
Submitted by gfrere on Wed, 2014-11-12 11:57
Hjalmar Bertelsen was born 1897 in Hallund, Denmark and immigrated to Chicago in 1928. In the 1930 census he was working as a linotype operator, but by 1933 he was operating a "butter and egg" business in the heart of Chicago's Danish community. His daughter remembers:
"Gunder Rask and Pop started a wholesale business in the early 30's. They got butter in wooden crates from another cousin - Dahl Rask - and cut and wrapped it in back of the store.They hired drivers to deliver butter and eggs to grocery stores in the Chicago area. This was during the depression and the drivers were friends who were out of work. On the second floor, some of the drivers lived and a woman was hired to make dinner at noon for everyone. We lived on the third floor until 1936. On Saturdays, I was supposed to help wrap butter. The pay was 10c for a movie and 5c for candy. Yes, I remember the butter and egg business."
30 years later, in 1958, Hjalmer became the editor of the biggest Danish-american newspaper, The Danish Pioneer. He served as editor until 1981. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark visited the newspaper's Elmwood Park facilities during her visit to the United States in 1976.
Hjalmer Bertelsen's story was told in a Danish episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" featuring noted Danish author Hanne-Vibeke Holst. Holst plans to include some of this family history in her next novel.
1928 - 1958