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THE STRUGGLE OVER NORWEGIAN . By Einar Haugen (Volume XVII, page 1){1}

Now the question no longer is: how shall we learn English so that we may take part in the social life of America and partake of her benefits; the big question is: how can we preserve the language of our ancestors here, in a strange environment, and pass on to our descendants the treasures which it contains? {2}

Throughout the history of the Norwegian-American community, the relation of English and Norwegian has involved an element of controversy. Known as Sprogspørsmaalet, or the Language Question, this controversy raged more or less openly within family, neighborhood, and social institutions wherever Norwegian immigrants settled in sufficient numbers to create a self-contained group. We cannot hope to do more here than sketch the profile of this struggle. Some of the more spectacular episodes will be told, but it must be understood that these are only the public expression of a private tension that had its root in the steady pressure exerted on the immigrant by the dominant American environment. The public discussion was protracted and often bitter, with vigorous agitators on both sides; but the basic trend was probably not greatly affected by it. The heart of the matter was the situation within the family; this was the primary battleground. But the individual family was supported in its linguistic usage by other families, which together constituted a neighborhood. Social institutions grew up which organized the teaching and indoctrination of the language, the most important of these being the church. We shall consider the role of each of these social groupings in the language struggle --- home, neighborhood, and institutions --- and then [2] sketch some of the major developments in the campaign that the immigrant fought so gallantly but vainly to maintain the language of his ancestors.


Within the family the maintenance of a foreign language depends on the desire of the parents to carry it on, the authority of the parents over their children, and the degree of pressure from outside. Parents who had immigrated from Norway as adults usually had little inclination to adopt English as the family language. All the lore that it is natural for parents to transmit to their children had come to them in Norwegian and was available to them only in that language. The nursery rhymes, the proverbs, the anecdotes, the family sayings, the prayers, the songs: all of these had been woven into the very process of language learning in childhood. Even if the adult could learn them in a new language, they would have no flavor; and who was available in any case to teach them to him? Only in Norwegian could the immigrant father and mother function as such, and they vigorously resisted any attempt to lessen their socio-cultural role. By living in a Norwegian-speaking community they multiplied their chances of being able to carry out this role, since their children were not then under any strong social pressure to use English. Wherever contact with English-speaking children was active, as in an urban community, the children brought home with them a keen desire to speak English. Only by the establishment of ironclad rules, by which English was banned from the home, could the parents resist this invasion. This counterpressure by the parents had to be stronger than the social pressure toward English of the environment. If the social pattern in the community was favorable to English, the parents were in a difficult position. It now became a question of parental authority, with the children often sullen and rebellious and the parents torn between a determination [3] to impose their own linguistic pattern and a desire to see their children content. American social practice in general favored a weakening of parental authority, and so the rebellion against the Norwegian linguistic pattern went hand in hand with a freeing of the children from their other social modes of behavior.

Wherever the parents were successful in asserting their authority over the children, some degree of bilingual competence followed. In country communities the children learned to understand, speak, and eventually read and write Norwegian. Most of them became thoroughly bilingual, since the American public school prevented them from remaining Norwegian monolinguals. But within the family, Norwegian was the sole means of communication; and the second, or American-born generation, acquired the same set of childhood memories and everyday lore that their parents had brought along from Norway. Many of this generation have felt a loyalty to the Norwegian tradition stronger than that of many first-generation immigrants. But whenever a community grew sufficiently Americanized so that the social pressure from it set up a strong internal resistance to the children's learning Norwegian, both city and country reacted very much alike. Instead of a full competence in Norwegian, the children acquired only a partial competence. Writing fell away first, then reading. The effort required to impose these skills became too great for the parents. Similarly, the children succeeded in limiting the sphere within which Norwegian was spoken. They spoke it only to one or a few older members of the family, usually a grandparent, while they spoke English to all others. If their position was exceptionally strong, they succeeded in evading the speaking entirely, even to their parents. This bilingual situation was highly typical, with parents speaking Norwegian and children answering in English. Eventually the parents might also [4] succumb to the pressure exerted by this uncomfortable situation and go over to English themselves.

The development here sketched is so typical that one encounters it again and again in discussing these matters with children of immigrants. Both children and parents seem almost like pawns in a game which they do not themselves understand. The parents grumble because their children will not obey them and accuse the younger generation of turning their backs on the ideals of the past. The children complain at being made to learn a language which represents a "foreign" outlook to them and is in no way associated with the glory of the goals held out to them by their surroundings. Curiously enough, when they grow up and look back at their childhood years with adult eyes, they often blame their parents for not having taught them the language. By this time they have forgotten the bitter struggle they themselves put up against that teaching. They have come to realize some of the values that were lost in the shift, but only after it is too late.

A single family can, of course, carry on a linguistic tradition if its cohesion is sufficiently strong. Cultured families can be found where bilingualism is deliberately cultivated for the sake of maintaining contacts with the homeland. But most families cannot afford to carry on a bilingual tradition unless they are supported by the presence of other such families within the same neighborhood. Our discussion of the intra-family situation has shown that much depends on the strength of the external pressure. No family in a civilized society can live to itself alone, and if there is a whole neighborhood within which the immigrant language is maintained, the external pressure favors it, or at least is less insistently unfavorable. The children who play together all come from Norwegian-speaking homes, and the few who do not are forced to learn the language of the others, instead of the converse. As late as 1918-20, schoolteachers have had to [5] contend singlehanded in some Norwegian-American communities with this immigrant-language pressure. Informants report with monotonous regularity that as children they spoke Norwegian except during the actual classroom instruction. The teacher often threatened them with punishment for speaking it in the schoolyard, but they returned to it eagerly as soon as they were out of her surveillance.

In such cases the neighborhood becomes synonymous with those who speak the language; those who do not are outsiders, even if they live within the geographical radius. From Westby, Wisconsin, a story is told of a newcomer from Norway who wished to learn English and boarded in the home of the only Irishman in town, only to discover that Norwegian was spoken at the family table. {3} Under such circumstances the small villages which grew up as trading posts were themselves engulfed and became Norwegian-speaking centers. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, farmers came in to buy and sell and be entertained. Even if they had ceased to speak Norwegian at home because of the pressure from children or wives, they could here meet with others who spoke it, and gain a real enjoyment in the use of the immigrant tongue.

Studies of communities where Norwegian has survived the longest show that at the grass-roots level the neighborhood spirit has played a powerful role. John P. Johansen studied the prevalence of the language in the Norwegian churches of South Dakota in 1935-36. He found that the use of Norwegian was strongest "in the compact, early established settlement"! In those areas where the settlements dated from before 1880, Norwegian was still used in 22.8 per cent of the church services, while in the more scattered communities of the western part of the state it was used in only 4.4 per cent. {4} The same can be shown in Wisconsin. The areas where [6] Norwegian has survived the longest in popular speech are not necessarily those areas where the number of persons born in Norway is largest nor those which were settled most recently. More Norwegian was probably spoken in Waupaca County with its 861 foreign-born Norwegians (in 1940) than in Racine with its 688 or Milwaukee with its 2,020. The Waupaca County settlements go back to the early 1850's, but they are still more Norwegian than the later settlements in the northern counties of the state; for example in Barton County. The same applies to larger areas: more Norwegian appears to be spoken in Wisconsin than in the state of Washington, although the number of foreign-born Norwegians was 26,489 in the latter and only 23,211 in the former in 1940. Of course such factors as continued immigration have played an important role, since much of the recent immigration has gone to the same areas as did the earlier, thereby reinforcing the use of the language. But immigration which is dispersed in the cities or in marginal rural areas is more quickly anglicized than that which maintains its solid neighborhood core. In the latter people speak Norwegian simply because everybody else does, without reflecting much about it; for them it is not a cultural duty or a program of behavior. If you ask why they do so, it is difficult for them to find an answer.


In due course the family and neighborhood situation was formalized by one or more institutions that provided tangible symbols around which the speakers of Norwegian could rally. These institutions provided the terminology for a discussion of the use of the language on a community and nation-wide level. In the case of the Norwegians, as apparently among most immigrants, the church is the primary institution providing the immigrants with a justification for the use of the language. A map of the congregations of the Lutheran [7] Church, plus a few dissident churches, is practically a map of the organized use of Norwegian in America. The church provided most of the instruction furnished in the reading and writing of Norwegian. Because of its essentially conservative nature, the church acquired an institutional momentum which carried its insistence on Norwegian beyond the time when its younger members could appreciate using it. But eventually the rebellion against the immigrant language reared its head in the church also, and, faced with this problem, the church compromised its lesser goal for the sake of its larger one. To stay alive and carry on its spiritual message the church had to yield and become first bilingual, then increasingly English. This did not take place without controversy, whether on the local, parish level or on the national, synodical level. The private grumblings of the family heads were here translated into a vigorous agitation for the retention of the traditional language, with its freight of cultural values, spiritual insights, and emotional overtones. The more or less passive resistance of the children now turned into an aggressive policy of Americanization, which not only tossed the Norwegian language overboard, but with it a good many special practices of the church that had marked it out as an immigrant body in comparison with the older Anglo-Saxon churches. An instructive discussion of this development in the Swedish-American church can be found in George Stephenson's Religious Aspects of Swedish Immigration. {5} As might be expected, there are many points of similarity with the Norwegian-American development.

But the church as a formal institution did not stand alone. The threat of cultural extinction hovering over the Norwegian-American group from the beginning was met by other forms of organization as well. Local, regional, and national societies have been established in countless numbers. {6} While [8] these had many purposes, most of them contained as one plank in their platforms the "preservation of the Norwegian language." The greater number have been urban, and belong to the period after 1900. Through the Norwegian-American press they have reached out and formed larger organizations and conducted agitation on a wider forum. They have been a secular counterpart of the church in the work of reinforcing family authority in favor of preserving the language. But in general they have been less effective than the church in this part of their task, partly because they have seldom been able to include the whole family within their activities. A singing society has attracted the father, but not necessarily the son; a fraternal lodge has offered a type of program that did not always interest the children. American life has provided a multitude of seductions which competed successfully for the children's interest and attention, particularly in the cities and after World War I.

The most comprehensive of these organizations in point of numbers is the Sons of Norway, whose backbone of support is provided by fraternal insurance. But its ability to attract young people to Norwegian-speaking programs has been very small, and this part of the procedure has very largely been abandoned in recent years. Next to it comes the Norwegian Singers' Association of America; it carries on a male chorus tradition from Norway which has given many fine cultural values to American programs. The songs are still predominantly Norwegian, but the language of conversation within most of the choral bodies, at rehearsal and on festive occasions, is English. The so-called bygdelags, or home-valley societies, have retained more of the family-neighborhood speech tradition than other groups, but their membership is almost exclusively of the older generation. Their meetings are annual or semi-annual and are more in the nature of old settlers' picnics than of the gatherings of [9] effective, forward-looking organizations. The survival of most of the societies is limited to the life span of the Norwegian-speaking clientele, and will disappear with the disappearance of the language.


The earliest Norwegian immigrants had no idea that their language would survive as long as it actually has. They were few in number and settled in scattered communities, and they did not anticipate the mass immigration that would follow them for a century or more. Their first religious leader, Elling Eielsen, walked from Illinois to New York just to have printed an English translation of Luther's catechism. The Norwegian observer Johan R. Reiersen noted that most of the settlers in the Illinois settlement at Fox River understood English and usually attended the "American churches in the vicinity." An immigrant of 1845 expressed the opinion that the use of Norwegian would die out "in the second generation.'' Even the first immigrant newspaper, Nordlyset, made its appeal for readers in 1847 primarily to those who had not yet learned enough English to become properly acquainted with American institutions. Munch Ræder, the Norwegian jurist who visited southern Wisconsin in 1847, looked upon this development with some concern. The Norwegians, he wrote, learned the English language with great ease, but they showed equal facility "in forgetting their own as soon as they cease to use it every day." But Munch Ræder, who took the patriot's view of the matter, saw before his eyes the rapidly forming settlements of Wisconsin and realized that these would protect the Norwegians "against influences foreign to themselves, because their relationship to one another is stronger than their relationship to other races." This prediction was amply fulfilled in the century that followed, for mass migration made it possible to reinforce the family urge to retain Norwegian by the pressure [10] of neighborhood practice and the sanction of religious organization. {7}

Early immigrant pastors who might have been tempted to commence preaching in English or to instruct the young in this language were quickly encouraged to abandon such ideas. Instead, the Norwegian language proved to be the sine qua non of successful ecclesiastical organization among the immigrants. Preachers and parishioners alike were relatively unskilled in the English language, and there was obviously little attraction for them in English religious terminology. There were American faiths enough in the West that would have been happy to attract the immigrants and that did indeed succeed in siphoning off a good many during the early settlement days. By setting up a Norwegian Lutheran church the pastors established the only conceivable counterattraction which could have gathered the immigrants into cohesive and permanent congregations. This was clearly expressed by a later observer, the Reverend I. B. Torrison, who wrote: "The Norwegian language was an instrument of union and a barrier against the sects. {8} Here the immigrant who treasured the spiritual forms and values of his own childhood could carry on without a break the religious life that was the only one he had ever known and to him seemed the only one worth knowing. The Lutheran Church was not, like the Catholic, an international organization; in spite of common origin and many common features, its churches were national in organization and traditions. Even if there had been an effective American Lutheran church in the Middle West at this time, it is questionable whether the Norwegian immigrants would have patronized it. [11] The university-trained religious leaders who organized the Norwegian Synod in 1853 were clearly aware of this fact and expressed it through their concern for the establishment of Norwegian parochial schools. {9} Their work turned the tide of dispersion which had been conspicuous earlier. An unfriendly critic called it a "pastoral Norwegianization"; these ministers "pride themselves on winning a great victory among the Norwegian Americans by uprooting a desire and zeal among them to let their children be trained in Americanism.'' {10}

The critic, a Danish schoolmaster named Rasmus Sørensen, made himself the advocate of a program which later came to be espoused by the descendants of the same church fathers who had opposed it so vigorously. He roundly declared that it was the Christian duty of the Norwegian pastors to have the immigrants' children learn their religion and Christianity in "the language of their native country." Any other policy would be contrary to the best interests of the children, who might grow up as ignorant "Norwegian Indians." Sørensen was fearful of the possible transplantation to American soil of the pastoral overlordship found in many rural communities in Norway, and he looked with suspicion on the determination of the pastors to perpetuate the language. He and some others perceived that in the hands of the pastors it was a potential instrument of power. {11}

The church leaders did not allay this suspicion by their obvious leanings toward the German Missouri Synod, with whose doctrines and parochial school system they made themselves acquainted in 1857. The uncompromising stand of that church in its use of the German language may also have stiffened the determination of the Norwegian leaders [12] in their stand on Norwegian. The president of the Norwegian Synod, A. C. Preus, made his position clear in his answer to Sørensen's criticism when he wrote that religion must be brought to a child in "the language of the heart." And, "To bring in religious instruction in English to those who daily hear and speak and think in Norwegian is 'sheer humbug,'" he continued. In the following year (1859) the assembled clergymen of the Norwegian Synod took their stand on the question in these words: "As long as most of the members of our congregations do not yet have sufficient familiarity with the English language, and as long as the Norwegian language almost everywhere is the family language among us, the language in which most naturally the daily prayer and family devotions must be held, it is necessary that both our services and our religious instruction shall take place in the Norwegian language." This was practically an echo of the words Preus had written the year before, though he had then made a more definite prediction for the future, "When the English language supplants the Norwegian in the home, our Norwegian speech will have lost its right to be used in the church and in the religious school --- but not before." {12}

A year later Professor Laur. Larsen, then in St. Louis at the seminary of the German Missouri Synod, reported that the organ of that synod had printed the Norwegian declaration with approval. He particularly emphasized that the declaration was not, as some hinted, opposed to the use of English, but rather that it anticipated its eventual adoption. "To oppose it," added Larsen, "will always be in vain, precisely because it is in the order of nature." It was necessary to teach the people English and to provide pastors and teaching materials towards the time when English would become the language of the church. But the main objective must be [13] to maintain the Lutheran faith and "not be too quick to mimic everything American before we have tested whether it is better than our own." {13}

The church had said its last word on this particular question for a long time to come. We are not here concerned with the controversy that broke out when the leaders attempted to take the logical next step, the establishment of a parochial school system distinct from the American public school. This attempt was to fail; in the meanwhile a policy was gradually taking shape in the secular field also. Early writers in Nordlyset had exhorted the Norwegians to keep alive their language; for example, one Ole Marcusen, who wrote in 1847, "Above all, brother and sister, do not forget your mother tongue; for he who forgets his mother tongue is not far from forgetting his own self." The Norwegians were flattered in that year by the Wisconsin legislature, which ordered five hundred copies of the governor's speech to be printed in Norwegian. This took place over the protest of the representative from Walworth County, who did not wish to "encourage the immigrants to retain their old language by providing them with public documents in Norwegian or German." The editor of Emigranten, Carl F. Solberg, arrived at a formulation of policy which foreshadows most of the cultural agitation for the language. Apparently apropos of the debate between Sørensen and Preus on the church situation, he declared: "With regard to the amalgamation of the Norwegians with the Americans and the total exchange of the language with English, this is something that must take place gradually and will require several generations. We must not in every respect throw away the old Norwegian personality and at once adopt the new American one; there is much good in the Norwegian which should be transplanted in this country, and if the Americans have an influence in certain directions on our mode of thought and behavior, in others [14] we should have an influence on theirs." This policy was vigorously supported by a subscriber in Chicago, who expressed the doctrines of a romantic nationalism when he wrote, "The language and literature of a people are an expression of the characteristic spirit and self-consciousness of a people. . . . If one scorns the language and literature of one's ancestral land, then one also scorns the folk spirit that is expressed in it. . . . But who benefits his new country most, the one who retains his national character and therefore preserves its good sides, or the one who throws it away?" {14}

This constructive position with regard to acculturation is one that has underlain most of the argumentation on behalf of retaining the immigrant language. Solberg pointed out in an Emigranten editorial that there were two extreme types of immigrants who did not accept this position of mediation between the cultures. On the one hand there were those who praised America at the expense of Norway, usually the ones from the most poverty-stricken layers of Norwegian society; on the other were those who did the opposite; they included "a small part of the more cultivated Norwegians living here." The former might be expected to assimilate most rapidly, the latter most slowly. But the great mass of the immigrants belonged to neither group; they accepted their position as mediators who spoke Norwegian as long as it seemed useful to do so, but turned to English wherever Norwegian would no longer reach. (They did not take the uncompromising position of the crab fisherman at Prince Rupert, British Columbia, who refused to speak Norwegian to a Norwegian-American clergyman who interviewed him. "In Norway they speak Norwegian, in America English. I am 100 per cent American, therefore I speak English." {15} ) [15]

A later interpreter, the writer Waldemar Ager, described this early period as one of "fencing in" the group. The purpose of the leaders was to keep "foreign" influences out, not only American ones, but also many from Norway. It was his opinion that the shelter thus provided gave the immigrants a chance to strike root in the new country. These people were not trying to preserve a "bridge" back to their homeland; rather were they trying to secure "something to keep themselves spiritually afloat." Those parents who taught their children Norwegian could tell about the homeland, their family, and their memories, help them with their lessons, and in this way "occupy a position such that the children naturally would look up to them." Those who proceeded to a rapid Americanization would place themselves rather in a position of inferiority to their own children and inevitably lose their respect. {16}


As immigrants continued to pour in ever-increasing numbers into the settlements of the Middle West, the church had its hands full in attempting to provide them with services. The problems of the day were largely organizational and doctrinal; while the first generation constituted the bulk of its membership, the language was no problem. A new secular press sprang up in the many centers of settlement, which provided a forum for the debates of the day. These newspapers were naturally concerned in the retention of reading skill in Norwegian. Skandinaven, then only five years old, editorialized on the deplorable fact that "many of the older settlers read only English-language newspapers, while a good many of those who have grown up in this country do not even understand Norwegian." The editor maintained that "every Scandinavian who has not been completely absorbed in American life (gaaet op i der amerikanske) should [16] feel it as a necessity to keep in touch with the political, social, and religious movements of the homeland." That the inroads of English on the younger generation were considerable, even at this time, appears from this quotation. Another example from the same paper is a contribution by one who signs himself as "born in America and educated in English"; he says he would like to "keep up his mother tongue, but the opportunity for doing so is small." The writer must have grown up in a community where the Norwegian settlers were not dominant, for his statement contrasts sharply with a description of the situation from about the same time: "The fact that English is so to speak a dead language in the large Norwegian settlements is an extremely important matter, which must not be overlooked, since it puts the greatest obstacles in the way of the school's advancement. When the children begin their schooling, their vocabulary amounts only to a few broken words, like stove'n, pail'n, fil'a [the field], etc." The heart of the school controversy between the Synod clergy and other Norwegians in this period lay in the realization of the former that public school in English was bound to be an opening wedge in the settlements for that language, as indeed it proved to be. The compromise introduced by the young Norwegian-American politician, Knute Nelson in Wisconsin, of an hour's teaching of Norwegian in the public school, satisfied no one. Even such a wholehearted advocate of the use of Norwegian as Professor Rasmus B. Anderson could not stomach a parochial school by means of which the Norwegians would be cut off from their fellow Americans. In one eloquent passage he posed the issue very neatly: "If the Norwegian language cannot be preserved among us for two or three generations without taking our children out of the common school, very well; we will have to let the Norwegian language go. If the Lutheran Church cannot make any progress among us unless we take our children out of the common school, very well; let the Lutheran Church fall, [17] and I will say, peace he with its dust!" Fortunately for both church and language, no such drastic action was necessary. {17}

The acceptance of the public school by the Norwegians meant that other means had to be found for the preservation of their traditions. They resented any expression of nativism on the part of Americans which seemed to threaten their policy of gradual rather than sudden Americanization. The Bennett Law (1889) in Wisconsin, which required a specified amount of English in all schools, seemed to some to constitute such a threat. This time Anderson joined those who wished to repeal it, with the argument that the English language needed no artificial support. "The English language," he wrote, "is strong and aggressive; it makes its own way; it needs no artificial protection; it makes advances throughout the world; here in America it is not only the language of government and business, but also the language in which the various foreign nationalities communicate with each other, and the daily speech of practically all who grow up in this country. Nothing can stop the advance of this language; to use it as an excuse for persecutions is nonsense!" State Senator John A. Johnson, who had been as ardent a supporter of the public school as Anderson, agreed fully: "It is now almost impossible to find settlements where English is not spoken in every family --- excepting for newcomers --- and the use of the English language is constantly and rapidly increasing, while the use of foreign languages is decreasing in a surprisingly rapid degree." {18} These testimonials give us valuable information concerning the trend in family speech during a period when the use of Norwegian was still an accepted matter in all significantly large settlements. The Norwegian author Hans Seland, who visited the Norwegian [18] communities around 1900, was surprised to discover how faithfully the Norwegians had preserved their dialects and the formal church language. But he also noted that the time was near when English would catch up with them, especially in the cities. "The children who play in the streets soon grow accustomed to the language which the others use. And even if parents faithfully insist on Norwegian indoors, it does not do much good; they can ask in Norwegian, but the children will answer in English." {19}

In a schematic presentation of Norwegian-American history made in 1925, O. M. Norlie dated the "American Period'' as beginning in 1890, after a "Norwegian Period," 1825-60 and a "Norwegian-American Period," 1860-90. "In the American Period most of them speak English only. . . . The Norwegian summer schools are dying, and Norwegian in the Sunday School and young people's society is of the past." This was scarcely true at the beginning of the period which he calls "American," though it did become so by its end. The quarter century from 1890 to 1915 was a period when Norwegian activity was slowly dying out at the root, but nevertheless produced taller and finer blossoms than at any earlier period in its history. The flowering of the social and cultural Norwegianism of these years gave to some people an illusion of permanence, but it bore the seeds of its own dissolution. Prosperity had come to the descendants of the immigrants, and their sons and daughters had gone to school. Institutions had attained a maturity which made possible the unfolding of intellectual and literary activity. Immigration rose to a new peak in the early years of the twentieth century. The immigrants who now came were better educated than the earlier ones, and were more able to take part in an urbanized culture. But the very fact of their urbanization, their comparative prosperity, and their education made [19] it easier for them to enter American society on even terms. They still used Norwegian as their chief medium, but it was a Norwegian which no longer commanded the same simple loyalty as before. They also knew English, and their children did not learn Norwegian to the same extent as had the children of the early rural immigrants. {20}

The first signs of institutional concern about the situation appear around 1890. A pastor of the Norwegian Synod wrote anonymously in the Synod's chief organ about the inevitability of the transition to English and the need for preaching and teaching in that language. He admitted that while he was a student at the seminary, he had not seen any need for preaching in English. But now he had had to catch up on his English, and he demanded that the Synod provide English textbooks for the instruction of the young. He wished the children to learn Norwegian also, as his own had done, but deplored that many children were growing up with an inability to speak freely in English on religious subjects. The historian Laurence M. Larson reports that at a church convention which he attended as a delegate in 1897 only one speaker had the temerity to speak in English, and faced general disapproval for so doing. It does not appear that any sermons were being preached in English before 1900. But, in the words of a Synod pastor, "English seems to lie in the air everywhere." This pastor did not believe that the church should insist on Norwegian, though he himself wished to keep it as long as possible: "That would be to place the language above the kingdom of God." The suggestions, he made with regard to the transition were eminently sound and seem to have been followed: that English translations should be provided, so that the specifically Lutheran atmosphere would not be lost; and that congregations should not immediately change over to English, but should become bilingual and make the transition gradually. {21} [20]

Other expressions of opinion about this time tend in the same direction; for example, John Dahle, who points out that English is the speech of most of the young people. Andreas Wright (1835-1917), a pastor of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church, wrote in 1904 that "our religious schools will still be conducted in Norwegian for some time, but the day is not distant when they must be held in English. . . You cannot force America to speak Norwegian, but it has forced us to try to talk English and to have our children brought up in it." An outspoken pastor of the younger generation in Hauge's Synod, Lars Harrisville (1889-1925), accused his colleagues of deliberately hindering the advancement of the church by insisting on the Norwegian language. "The pastor may ignore the English work. He may hold back the tide for a while. He may ridicule it. He may accuse the children and young people of being high-toned and foolish. But at the least opportunity the young people will go to some neighboring church where English is preached." In the cities this is particularly true, he claimed, and he cried, "When will the Norwegian, the Swedish, the German, and Danish Lutheran synods awake out of their death-sleep?" He insisted that the seminary must produce pastors who "Speak a pure English" and who could pronounce their "th's, s's, and r's equally as well as a child in the kindergarten." Finally he predicted: "The English question is coming upon us as a mighty rushing tide. Let us be ready. . . . The storm is coming. It will sweep the churches from shore to shore." {22}


Whether the statement was made in a regretful or in an aggressive tone, the fact remained that younger church [21] leaders were increasingly determined to promote the use of English. There was a sudden, almost panicky realization on the part of the champions of Norwegian that the enemy was within the walls, determined not merely to demand a rightful place for English, but actually hostile to many of the values represented by the Norwegian language. This is certainly a part of the reason for the organization on a national scale during these years of secular societies dedicated to the preservation of various aspects of Norwegian culture. Singers led the way in forming the first Norwegian secular association on a wider base. In 1891 the Northwestern Scandinavian Singers' Association was organized at Sioux Falls, South Dakota; by 1910 it had become the Norwegian Singers' Association of America. In 1900 was organized the so-called "Supreme Lodge" of the Sons of Norway, a fraternity modeled on American lodges; by 1925 it had a membership of twenty-one thousand in two hundred and fifty lodges. Its first stated purpose was "to encourage and maintain an interest among its members in the Norwegian language to an extent that is not in conflict with the loyalty they owe the United States." In 1901-02 the Valdris Samband was organized; it was the first of the bygdelags, which came to be one of the most flourishing of the types of Norwegian organization. In the constitution of this society we read that one of its purposes is to gather and preserve everything that concerns the people, the communities, and the language of Valdres. {23}

But the really central organization in this movement was Der Norske Selskab i Amerika, organized in Minneapolis on January 28, 1903. The preservation of the Norwegian language was the first plank in its platform, as appears from the statement of its purposes in its constitution: "The [22] purpose of the Society shall be to work for the preservation by the Norwegian people in America of a) their ancestral tongue, b) their historical memories and traditions, c) their interest in Norwegian literature, art, song, and music, and d) their national characteristics (folkelige eiendommelighed) --- to the extent that this can be reconciled with our obligations and position in American society." The leaders included many of the best-known pastors, professors, and writers among the immigrants; the organization was widely noticed in the press and won support from many sides. Many fine speeches were held at the annual meetings; but the membership always remained small and its influence correspondingly limited. The activities which won most attention were the setting up of Norwegian monuments (chiefly of authors) in various centers, awarding of a fifty-dollar annual prize for the best piece of Norwegian-American literature and a medal for the winners of Norwegian declamatory contests. {24}

The dreams entertained by the founders had been a good deal more ambitious. Professor Julius E. Olson wanted the society to publish editions of popular Norwegian classics that might reach a wide public --- including the young people who ought to be given norskhedens stempel (the stamp of Norwegianness). It was his opinion that Norwegian was an asset to the church: "As soon as the Norse tongue is silenced, our people will discover the open doors in other churches and find it easier to leave the church of their fathers." Another early contributor declared that the practices then current in church and school showed that bilingualism could be maintained; however difficult, it was not impossible. {25}

This came to be the chief theme of the publication sponsored by the society, the Kvartalskrift, which appeared from 1905 to 1922 under the constant editorship of the author and journalist Waldemar Ager. In the first volume he [23] rejected a view propounded by Johannes B. Wist that the chief function of the society was to act as a bridge between the immigrants and the culture of Norway. Ager declared that it was more important to create something original, a literature and a culture that would have their own life. But this could only occur, he felt, if the Norwegian language were maintained as the group medium. "That a people give up their language is tantamount to cultural decay." He stated also, "History, I believe, will tell us that no nation can let its language decay and remain unpunished." {26} He appealed repeatedly to parents to teach their children Norwegian as a means of preserving the cultural continuity of the Norwegian group. The idea that the immigrant's soul somehow found its most adequate expression in Norwegian and that this would remain true of his descendants if sufficient effort were made appears repeatedly in Ager's writings. He abhorred the concept of the "melting pot"; in an article of 1916 he wrote ironically that the old Americans appear to take it for granted that the immigrants shall be happy to be melted down "into something greater and better than they were before. . . . Out of the melting pot there is supposed to come a new man, a supercitizen, a superman with all the best features from the various races and none of the bad ones. But the so-called American does not himself wish to be assimilated with the foreigners; he does not wish either to assimilate or take up in himself the Russian, the Pole, or the Jew; but he wants these to be absorbed in each other." {27} A series of articles by Ager entitled "The Great Leveling" showed that he valued cultural separatism as an enrichment of the life of his new country. But he had no faith in a cultural movement not borne by the native tongue: "In reality it is the language --- the Norwegian language --- which is the [24] bridge. When the language no longer carries, then there is no bridge." {28}

In 1913 an interesting discussion of the problem was initiated by Kristian Prestgard, editor of the literary periodical Symra. He asked two pastors with opposing points of view to present their opinions in his periodical. The "Norwegian" was represented by the Reverend Kr. Kvamme, who attacked rather bitterly the sense of shame that many Norwegian immigrants and their descendants felt about their language and culture. He gave examples, including expressions of scorn for "everything that is Norwegian," the attempt to disguise Norwegian names and adopt English ones, the feeling of prestige attaching to "American" ways of behavior both in secular and religious affairs, the criticism of Norwegian cultural trends in the homeland, reluctance to speak Norwegian in the presence of Americans. In his opinion the immigrants and their descendants were still "more than three-fourths Norwegian and only a tiny fraction American," and he described their striving to be something else' as a "Yankee fever," and a kind of childhood disease, which they will get over sooner or later and then become healthy, normal people again." He regarded this as a failure of personality, a loss of identity: "One can lose some of one's identity, forget or partially forget what one is. . . . lose one's way in a fog of 'Americanism' such that one never again can find the way home to one's self." The core of Kvamme's argument is the idea of a fixed national identity and the sacred duty of each individual to feel pride in this identity. {29}

The "American" viewpoint was represented by the Reverend I. B. Torrison, who argued that the characteristic quality of immigrants who had made America their permanent home [25] was precisely that their national consciousness had changed. "Their national consciousness is different from the one possessed by those who have not emigrated or who are here only temporarily and whose future lies in Norway." This feeling was other resented or misunderstood in Norway, and even many immigrants did not realize they possessed it until they met non-immigrant Norwegians or revisited Norway. Any work on behalf of Norwegian culture in this country had to take this factor of national feeling into account: the goal must be not to make Norwegians of the young people, but to stimulate their pride of ancestry and their assimilation of those elements in Norwegian culture which were of universal value. In practice the Norwegian language was no longer an instrument of union among the immigrants, but one of division. His final pointed remark concerned "the relatively recent arrivals, and those who live among us as colonials": one reason that many of Norwegian descent shun Norwegian culture as "foreign" is that these people "let a good share of their Norwegian patriotism consist in scolding those who are at home in this country." {30}

Both writers were agreed in deploring any inferiority complex that Norwegian Americans might feel; they both favored a program of cultural self-assertion. But there was a genuine difference in their views of national personality which was typical of all such discussions. The "Norwegian" point of view was maintained also by Professor O. E. Rølvaag in a fable called "Hvitbjørn og graabjørn, et indiansk eventyr" (White Bears and Gray Bears, an Indian Fairy Tale). The White or Polar Bears invade the country of the Gray Bears and settle among them; after a time the White Bears decided that they want to become gray, but in spite of everything they do, they still remain white, or at best a dirty or speckled gray. The biological simile here suggested, which Rølvaag also used elsewhere, implies the idea of an [26] immutable national personality. The editor Luth Jaeger threw himself into the discussion with a strong attack on this idea, maintaining that the immigrants' children were being hampered in their wholehearted devotion to America by the emphasis on the Norwegian language and "foreign ideals." The young people cannot "divide themselves and be both Norwegian and American without harming their development as American men and women." And, "To be a good American does not require a denim of one's ancestors and the Norwegian heritage. But then we must also not sell our American birthright for a mess of Norwegian pottage." The writer P. P. Iverslie, who had grown up in this country, disagreed violently with Jaeger and instanced his own upbringing in both languages and cultures as an example of how it was not only possible but even desirable to maintain bilingualism. "What a poverty-stricken half-life it would have been to know only the Anglo-American cultural life --- and that with a Norwegian ancestry!" His basic contention, that "those who know two or more languages have a wider horizon than those who know only one" has been a prominent and weighty argument in this debate. It is repeated by Pastor Hulteng in a contribution to the same discussion, contending that young people should and could learn two languages because of the ancestral heritage whose values would be lost otherwise. In his predictions for the future, however, Hulteng was probably the least realistic of the contributors; he did not want bilingual congregations, but advocated that those who wanted English in the church should form all-English congregations or even a distinct English synod. "But that goal," he wrote, "still seems to be far in the future." {31} The leading historian of the church, the Reverend J. A. Bergh, wrote in 1914 that the church must keep up with language development; "but most church work is [27] still conducted in Norwegian, and this will no doubt continue for a long time." {32}

The time of change proved to be less distant than Hulteng and Bergh had foreseen. The leaders of the church were not disposed to countenance any splitting up of congregations or synods into purely English and Norwegian parts. They preferred to keep parents and children together in the same organizations, instituting parallel services in the two languages so that both old and young might be satisfied. The Norwegian Lutheran Church was still split into a multitude of synods, and the problem of union was more important during these years than the problem of language. But on the local, congregational level the battle raged over a wide sector, for the language question was one that only the congregations had the power to settle. The president of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church, the Reverend T. H. Dahl, reported to the annual meeting in 1912 that the great need of the Synod was ministers who could preach in English. "Even parishes where the English language rarely or never has been used in the service demand English-speaking pastors when they change ministers. . . . The time is past when our congregations were satisfied with broken English. . . . It is an incontrovertible fact that our young people are becoming more and more unfamiliar with our mother tongue." {33} When Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota visited Luther College in Decorah, he brought a message from President Theodore Roosevelt, advising the Norwegians "not to cling too long to the Norwegian language as the language of the church. The result would be that the church would lose the young people. This had happened in his own church, the Dutch Reformed." {34} The response of the church was evident in the statistics on the use of English in the [28] official ministerial acts. By 1915 nearly one fourth of the sermons delivered in Norwegian Lutheran churches were in English: the percentage had risen from none in 1900 to 22 per cent in 1915. Those ministrations which predominantly affected the young were even more anglicized: religious instruction in the Sunday school and confirmation training was 27 per cent English. The strategic positions were all held by the older generation, but the trend was clear, as is shown by Norlie's table on the percentage of English services:

       1905 1910 1910
  Sunday School

The three leading synods showed a similar trend though a slower one. In the year before their union, 1916, in Hauge's Synod the sermons were 17.2 per cent English, in the United Lutheran Church 21.6 per cent, and in the Norwegian Synod 25.7 per cent. {35}


Then occurred a series of events which apparently shook the position of the Norwegian language more than all the previous agitation. In 1917 the three major synods were joined into a new, giant organization called the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America, with a membership of 443,563 in 2,811 congregations, ministered to by 1,215 pastors. In the same year the United States entered the First World War. Either of these events alone would probably have affected the use of Norwegian adversely; together they were catastrophic. Even so, they only intensified and hastened a development that was inevitable; but their dramatic effect was such as to make them seem responsible for it. The union of the synods raised in many leaders the vision of a future union among all American Lutherans, a vision to which the [29] use of Norwegian was a distinct obstacle. The solution of the internal squabbles and jurisdictional rivalries left time for the church to consider its language problem as a whole. One of the first acts of the new church was to organize an English conference, to which congregations "whose official language is English" might belong. This conference had a status equivalent to that of one of the eight geographical districts into which the church was divided, but congregations belonging to it were also members of the district organizations. At its first annual meeting in 1918, this conference, called the English Association, accepted applications for membership from fifty congregations. In his first report the president, Reverend C. O. Solberg, stated that the association might be only temporary, "in order to help the widespread bilingual church in the difficult question of handling the language transition." He recognized that the transition "brings up problems of a spiritual type of congenial practice in ritual and outward forms, and many others." {36}

Except for the minutes of the English Association and some of the financial reports, the language of all church documents and of debate on the floor was still Norwegian in 1918. But in this very first annual meeting of the amalgamated church there is a peculiar note of insistence on the importance of a rapid transition. The president's report declares that "one of the most urgent matters before us at this meeting is unquestionably the so-called 'English work.'" He recommended the appointment of a committee to make proposals on the most effective means of meeting the threatened loss of younger members due to rival activity by non-Lutheran churches or even by English (i.e. English-speaking) Lutheran churches. But his most startling proposal was to abandon the name adopted in the previous year for the new church by omitting the word "Norwegian" in its [30] title and substituting some such name as "The United Lutheran Synod." President H. G. Stub, himself an effective speaker of Norwegian, denied any possible charge of being disinterested in his Norwegian background and the preservation of Norwegian culture. But he pleaded the unwillingness of congregations and individuals to join a synod designating itself as "Norwegian"; he asserted that the Swedish Augustana Synod had abandoned the term "Swedish" many years earlier and that the German Missouri Synod had abandoned the term "German" in 1917. (The Augustana Synod had never included the word "Swedish" in its name.) He won strong support for his proposals; for example, a testimonial from the president of the North Dakota district to the effect that "the last year has promoted the transition to English in a disturbing degree" and that the pastors must see to it that the needs of the young are not neglected. The proposal to change the name was adopted by a vote of 533 to 61. As it turned out, this preliminary constitutional change was not effected for many years; two years later, in 1920, the annual meeting refused to confirm the action and voted the word "Norwegian" back by 577 to 296! {37}

It is clear that the 1918 meeting was influenced by a wind of public opinion that did not grow naturally out of the situation within the church. The change of name was so sudden that no one had even had time to think up a suitable new one. The president's report reveals quite clearly the source of pressure: "Since our country entered the war, a great reversal has taken place in the direction of rapid Americanization.'' A critic of the action taken at the meeting writes that "the killing poison gas of the war spirit was strongly in evidence.'' Those who tried to oppose the change were told that their opinions would lay them open to the suspicion of being disloyal. {38} At one of the meetings a circular from the office [31] of Governor Harding of Iowa was read. The governor had forbidden the public use of any foreign language in his state by a proclamation of May 23, 1918, and in his circular he interpreted the intention of this proclamation. He did not wish to forbid the use of foreign languages by those who did not understand English; but he did declare that their misuse "is resulting in discord among our own patriotic people and in giving our enemies an opportunity to hinder the work of our Government during these critical times." A resolution was also adopted refusing admission to the theological seminary to students who had not mastered the English language, since they could no longer find parishes. {39}

The results of this concerted action on the part of ecclesiastical and secular leaders were not slow in appearing in the statistical reports of the church. The percentage of services in Norwegian fell from 73.1 to 61.2 in 1918, or more than in any preceding or following year. About nine thousand Norwegian services became English during this year alone. That this move was somewhat overhasty is shown by the fact that the percentage bounded back up to 65.7 and 62.8 during the following two years, bringing it more into line with the normal decrease. From 1918 to 1948 the fall in percentage of Norwegian services was almost predictably steady, constituting an annual drop averaging 2.3 per cent, which probably corresponds approximately to the death toll of the older generation. Against this background. we see how lent the drop of 1918 was.

A generation of monolinguals was clearly on the march. Their voice is heard most distinctly in the annual reports of the English Association within the church. The report of 1920 is especially insistent that "English" interests be more actively represented in the high councils of the church, that theological training in English be encouraged, and that evangelistic work among potential Lutherans be extended. The report warns advocates of English not to be overoptimistic [32] and cites figures to show how strong the position of Norwegian is and how weak many of the all-English congregations are. One section of the report has the interesting suggestion that a church using the English language has essentially different problems from one using Norwegian: it becomes a church which seeks to proselytize among all peoples and no longer enjoys the sheltered existence of a "state" church. There is no doubt that the language had been the chief asset of the church among the immigrants; but now it was, in the opinion of some, rapidly becoming a liability. {40}


The supporters of Norwegian were taken by surprise in 1917-18, but the end of the war made it possible for them to counterattack. The Norwegian-language press re-echoed with appeals on behalf of the language and the name "Norwegian." Waldemar Ager continued his campaign in the columns of Kvartalskrift; a bitter note crept into some of his articles, as in this passage from 1919' "In order to kill whatever soul the immigrant may have brought with him, someone has hatched the plan of cutting him off as much as possible from outside cultural nourishment by forbidding him the use of the only language in which he can secure nourishment for his soul. It is a cultural blockade whereby his 'foreign' soul is to be starved out, and the bidding that he must build himself a new soul is accompanied by an authorized plan for that soul all worked out for him by salaried government functionaries in Washington. {41} But his old Norske Selskab no longer seemed to have much vitality left in it.

A new organization was felt to be necessary, and leading pastors, professors, and writers gathered again as they had done in 1903; this time they met in Eau Claire on October 19, 1919. They organized a society with the fitting name of For Fædrearven ---"for the ancestral heritage." The [33] constitution was not specific about preserving the language, but emphasized the cultural values: "To awaken among the people of Norwegian stock in America a deeper appreciation of and love for the great values we have received from our fathers in history, language, religious and secular literature, art, and national characteristics." {42} But whereas Ager had been the moving spirit of the old society, the man who surged to the front in the new one was Ole E. Rølvaag, professor at St. Olaf College and author; in the forefront among Norwegian-American cultural leaders, he still was not as well known outside his group as he soon afterward became. He was elected secretary and edited the publications of the society, the most important of which was a page headed "For fædrearven" in the Canton, South Dakota weekly, Visergutten, February 3, 1921 to June 15, 1922. {43} Many of his essays in this publication were reprinted in his book Omkring fædrearven, which appeared in 1922. {44}

Rølvaag's doctrines were the outgrowth, in the words of his biographers, of "a social and cultural philosophy built upon years of experience and serious thinking." Rølvaag's direct contacts in his classrooms with the young people of the church gave his ideas a more authentic ring than those evolved by men associated only with the older generation. In his classes he also had a forum from which he could naturally expound his doctrines; he was in addition gifted with a personality and a talent of literary expression that won him followers among the younger generation. Rølvaag was an idealist, not amenable to the kind of practical but compromising reasoning which was fashionable in his day. He was also stubborn and outspoken, with a vein of quiet, earthy humor which gave his utterances force if not always tact. An extended discussion of the views he advanced may be [34] found in his biography. In brief, he advocated a cultural pluralism for Americans, based on a devotion to the heritage of their fathers: a knowledge of Norwegian was an "ethical duty" resting on every descendant of Norwegians. This "duty" did not hamper, but advanced the best interests of America. The creative emphasis is clear in the words he used in a classroom lecture: "I am well aware that many people today are seeking to blot out all racial traits in this country. To me such an act is tantamount to national suicide. If richness of personal color is desirable in the individual personality, why should the monotonous gray be desirable as a national idea?" {45} When Rølvaag resigned as secretary of For Fædrearven in 1922, it quietly collapsed. Its chief function had been to give an outlet for Rølvaag's energy at a time when the events of the war and its antiforeign psychosis had seriously disturbed him. The discussion of the twenties was the richer for his contributions; and even if they did not alter the course of development, they were their own justification, if only for the stimulus they provided toward his writing of Giants in the Earth.

There was in the twenties a general feeling that an era had come to its close, in spite of everything Rølvaag and his fellow believers could advance. The number of living Norwegian immigrants had reached its peak in 1910 with 403,858 and declined in 1920 to 363,862. In 1924 Congress passed the National Origins Act, which allotted to the Norwegian group an annual quota of immigrants amounting to only 2,377. Farsighted leaders could not help but see that this was the handwriting on the wall. An immigrant observer who had returned to Norway after twenty years of wide experience among his countrymen had written in 1918: "As long as Norwegian emigration continues at the same undiminished pace as hitherto, the Norwegian language will survive in America, and just so long the church and the press will work [35] side by side with the immigrants in retaining the language. But when immigration ceases, . . . . it will not take a generation before the Norwegian language is a thing of the past in the Norwegian-American settlements." {46} This feeling that the era was ending may have contributed to the enthusiasm with which the Norse-American Centennial was celebrated in 1925. The initiative came from the associated bygdelags and the celebration was carried through by a committee representing all religious and secular organizations among the immigrants. The program and the exhibits at the Minnesota fair grounds included the finest that could be displayed by the group; it was an impressive demonstration of the passing of an era.


<1> This essay is chapter nine of an unpublished manuscript entitled "The Norwegian Language in America: A Study in Bilingual Behavior."

<2> Thrond Bothne, Kort udsigt over det lutherske kirkearbeide blandt nordmændene i Amerika, 828 (Chicago, 1898).

<3> This story was told to the writer by the Reverend J. H. Holum.

<4> John P. Johansen, Immigrant Settlements and Social Organization in South Dakota, 56 (South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Department of Rural Sociology Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin no. 313 --Brookings, South Dakota, 1937).

<5> P. 458-476 (Minneapolis, 1932).

<6> See Carl Hansen, "Der norsk foreningsliv i Amerika," in Jobs. B. Wist, Norsk-amerikanernes festskrift, 266-291 (Decorah, Iowa, 1914).

<7> Theodore C. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America: The American Transition, 73, 74, 136 (Northfield, 1940); Nordlyset (Norway, Wisconsin), July 29, 1847; Gunnar J. Malmin, ed., America in the Forties: The Letters of Ole Munch Ræder, 33 (Norwegian-American Historical Association, Travel and Description Series, vol. 3--Minneapolis, 19~9). The library of Luther College at Decorah, Iowa, has a file of Nordlyset, July 29, 1847-May 18, 1850; a few issues are lacking.

<8> Symra, 9:53 (1913).

<9> See the excellent discussion in Blegen, American Transition, chapter 8.

<10> Arthur C. Paulson and Kenneth Bjork, tr. and ed., "A School and Language Controversy in 1858," in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 10:90 (Northfield, 1938). The letter cited appeared originally in Emigranten (Madison, Wisconsin), November 1 and 8, 858.

<11> Paulson and Bjork in Studies and Records, 10: 84, 91, 92.

<12> Blegen, American Transition, 248; Kirkelig maanedstidende, 4:156 (1859); Paulson and Bjork in Studies and Records, 10:98. Preus's answer to Sørensen appeared in Emigranten on November 29, 1858.

<13> Kirkelig maanedstidende, 5:50 (1860).

<14> Nordlyset, October 28, December 30, 1847; Emigranten, November 15, 1858, April 18, 1859. The Chicago letter writer, Rasmus Sørensen, is probably not the same as the schoolmaster mentioned above; the latter's home was in Waupaca County, Wisconsin.

<15> Emigranten, February 1, 1859; Fra pioner-presternes saga, 195 (Decorah, Iowa, 1931).

<16> "Norskhetsbevægelsen i Amerika," in Nordmands-forbundet, 18:211-219

<17> Skandinaven, December 20, 1871, March 27, 1872, October 17, December 27, 1876; Blegen, American Transition, 261. The Wisconsin law authorized instruction "in any of the foreign languages, not to exceed one hour a day."

<18> D. M. Sehøyen, Bennett-loven, 22 (Stoughton, Wisconsin, 1890); A. Bredesen, Mod Bennett-loven, vidnesbyrd og grunde, 2 (n.p., [189-?]). The Minnesota Historical Society has a copy of the Bredesen pamphlet.

<19> Hans Seland, Um Amerika og frendefolket i vesterheimen, 64 (Christiania, 1904).

<20> History of the Norwegian People in America, 95, 96 (Minneapolis, 1925).

<21> Evangelisk luthersk kirketidende, 36:277-280 (1892); Laurence M. Larson, The Log Book of a Young Immigrant, 249 (Northfield, 1939); Oluf Hanson Smeby, De krav som stilles til os med hensyn til brugen af der engelske sprog, [3] (h.p., n.d.). Luther College library has a copy of Smeby's pamphlet.

<22> John Dahle, "Norskdom," in Vor tid, vol. l, no. 1, p. 49-53 (1904); Andreas Wright, Religionsskolen, 24 (Minneapolis, 1904); Festskrift udgivet i anledning af Red Wing Seminariums femogtyve aars jubilæum, 118 (Red Wing, Minnesota, 1904). Wright immigrated in 1860, Dahle was born in Iowa in 1875, and Harrisville was born in Chicago.

<23> Nordmands-forbundet, 18:205, 305 (1925); Norlie, Norwegian People, 534; A. A. Veblen, The Valdris Book, 282 (Minneapolis, 1920).

<24> Aarbog for Det Norske Selskab i Amerika 1903, 4 (Minneapolis, 1904).

<25> Aarbog 1903, 28, 84.

<26> Kvartalskrift, vol. 1, no. 2, p. 2-10, vol. 1, no. 4, p. 14-29 (April, October,

<27> "Smeltedigelen," in Kvartalskrift, 12:33-42 (April, 1916); see also 12:108-119 (October, 1916).

<28> "Den store udjævning," in Kvartalskrift, 13:73-89, 100-115 (July, October, 1917). 16:9-16 (1920), 17-18:5-14 (1921-1922); Nordmands-forbundet, 18:211-219 (1925).

<29> Symra, 9:110-115 (1913). Kvamme was born in Norway in 1866; he immigrated in 1882.

<30> Symra, 9:49-54. Torrison was born in 1859 in Wisconsin.

<31> Symra, 9:116-119, 170-173, 193-195, 251-254. Hulteng was born in Sweden in 1860; he immigrated in 1887.

<32> Den norsk lutherske kirkes historie i Amerika, 524 (Minneapolis, 1914).

<33> United Norwegian Lutheran Church, Beretning 1912, 55 (Minneapolis, 1912).

<34> Cited by I. B. Torrison in Symra, 9:51.

<35> Norlie, Norwegian People, 357; Norwegian Lutheran Church in America, Report, 1931, 29 (Minneapolis, [1931]).

<36> Norwegian Lutheran Church in America, Beretning 1917, 538 (Minneapolis, 1017), Beretning 1918, 425-430 (Minneapolis, 1918). The statistics are from the report of 1918.

<37> Beretning 1918, 20, 315, 392; Norwegian Lutheran Church in America, Beretning 1920, 247 (Minneapolis, 1920). Stub was born in Wisconsin in 1849.

<38> Navneforandringen, 5 (Decorah, Iowa, n.d.). This pamphlet was signed by five pastors. It was probably printed about 1929.

<39> Beretning 1918, 307, 315. See also Survey, 40:394 (1918).

<40> Beretning 1920, 369-374.

<41> Kvartalskrift, 15:44 (1919).

<42> Here cited in the translation given in Theodore Jorgenson and Nora O. Solum, Ole Edvart Rølvaag: A Biography, 294 (New York, 1939).

<43> This date was checked for me by O. M. Hovde, librarian at Luther College.

<44> Published in Northfield, Minnesota.

<45> Jorgenson and Solum, Rølvaag, 291-293, 294, 298.

<46> Knut Takla, Det norske folk i de Forenede Stater, 290 (Christiania, 1913).

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