#WHM – Dikka Bothne Brown, Mezzo Soprano and Alpha Gamma Delta

Her name at birth was Diderikke Johanne Bothne, but for most of her life she was known as Dikka. A 1917 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where her father was a professor, she was an initiate of the Alpha Gamma Delta chapter there.

The Delta Chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta

The Delta Chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta, Dikka Bothne is in the seccond row down, third from the left.


A 1916 Alpha Gamma Delta Quarterly mentioned that three members – Gladys Reker, Katherine Fobes, and Dikka Bothne – were touring with a university musical group and “Dikka did all of the solo work, as she was the only soloist on the trip.”

“New Idea in Vaudeville,” was the headline in a 1917 Quarterly. It told that, “This year, instead of the active girls giving a vaudeville, the alumnae gave a movie vaudeville at the Calhoun Theater. Besides the movies there was a skit, interpretative dancing, and vocal solos, part of which were given by one of our girls, Dikka Bothne, in Norwegian costume.
The alumnae cleared almost a hundred dollars which is to go toward buying furniture for our house and our capable Corinne Odell Ballou did all the ‘managing.'”

She graduated in 1917.  The United States entered World War I, and she, like many college educated women of the time, applied to do “war work.” According to a report in a 1919 Quarterly, she was “in the translation section of the Intelligence Division at Washington, D. C. She says her work is intensely interesting and full of the humorous, as well as the pathetic. The indications are that their department will be made a permanent one.”

Perhaps the department was not made a permanent one. She was selected as a Fellow of the American-Scandinavian Foundation. She was spending a year in Norway studying singing in “Christiania under Miss Mimi Hviid specializing in the music of Grieg Kjerulf and Sinding.” According to a  1922 Quarterly entry, she “was one of twenty chosen from all over the U. S. for a year’s study in Norway. She has the additional advantages of already knowing the language thoroughly and of having influential friends there. She is studying history, literature, languages and folk dancing at the University of Norway, beside her music. She is at present singing for Nils Larson, one of Norway’s greatest composers, pianists and coaches of today. He is particularly interested in our ‘Negro Spirituelles’ and Indian melodies as well as Norwegian Folk songs, and as Dikka is, also, she is rather specializing in them. She is expecting to have work under another of Norway’s great teachers, in addition, soon. She has sung at several affairs over there and has been very well received. She is the fortunate holder of a pass, for two seats, to all the theatres of Christiania.”

A history of Norwegians in Minnesota included this about Bothne, “The vocally gifted daughters of Prof. Gisle Bothne, Dikka and Agnes, frequently appeared at concerts and entertainments. Dikka Bothne was the soloist of the ‘Minnesota Chorus’ on its Norway tour in 1923.” A St. Paul newspaper had mention of a 1924 mezza soprano performance in St. Paul. (I could find no information that Agnes was a member of an NPC organization.)

The December 1926 University of Minnesota Alumni newspaper told of a two-month long trip, Bothne’s mother took that fall. After a stint in Washington, D.C., she traveled to New York City to visit her daughter, Dikka, who lived in the city along with a roommate, “Miss Herborg Reque, formerly of Minneapolis.”

In July 1929, Bothne married Robert Breen J. Brown of Lyndhorst, New Jersey. The ceremony took place in New York City. The trail went cold after that. The 1930 census had the Browns living in New Jersey and by 1940, they were in Philadelphia. She entered a Pennsylvania hospital in May of 1963 and died in September of that year.

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2016. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory.

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