From the Archives
by Charlotte Jacobson (Volume
32: Page 267)
Tributes, clippings, correspondence, information about honors
and decorations, and photographs of the Norwegian-born aviator
and polar explorer who became world-renowned for his career
which included rescue missions, transatlantic flights, South
Pole expeditions with Byrd and with Ellsworth, and service
in the Second World War to the Scandinavian countries. He
came to the United States in 1926 and was made an American
citizen by a special act of Congress in 1930.
Bergeim, Ingeborg Olsdatter
A 3500-page collection of fifty-two notebooks, which constitute
the daily records of a woman from Surnadal who emigrated to
the United States in 1880, married Peter Bergeim, and settled
with him in Watertown, Dakota Territory.
The first diaries are written in Norwegian, but beginning
in 1903 they are in English. They cover her thoughts, personal
and family life, and everyday happenings. There are accounts
of the Atlantic crossing and of an attempt at homesteading.
Her son Joseph discovered the diaries and translated the
story of her early married life into a manuscript called “Ingeborg’s
Story.” This volume also includes genealogy, chronology of
important events, her husband’s autobiography, and family
pictures, as well as a summary of the diaries.
Bjork, Kenneth O.
Papers relating to the Norwegian-American interests of a
professor of history at St. Olaf College, 1937-1974. A graduate
of St. Olaf College in 1930, he earned his doctorate at the
University of Wisconsin in 1935. His publications dealing
with the immigrant experience include a great many articles
published in Norwegian-American Studies and in other journals
and books. His two books, Saga in Steel and Concrete, 1947,
and West of the Great Divide, 1958, are landmarks in the field
of immigration studies.
He served as editor for the publications of the Norwegian-American
Historical Association from 1960 to 1980, during which time
twenty-four books were published. On the occasion of his retirement
as editor, he was presented with a book of essays in his honor:
Makers of an American Immigrant Legacy. The opening essay,
“Kenneth O. Bjork: Teacher, Scholar, and Editor,” by Odd S.
Lovoll, is an assessment of his career which reflects “a consistent
view of the nature and goal of historical investigation, planted
securely in a broad interest in human endeavor.” His own statement
of purpose was to tell “the whole story of a transplanted
people that is now deeply rooted in America.”
In Norway his work was recognized with the award of the Knight’s
Cross, First Class, Order of St. Olav, in 1962, and with the
presentation of an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree at
the University of Oslo in 1976.
Papers relating to his career as teacher of history at St.
Olaf College and as a political activist are filed in the
St. Olaf College Archives.
“Ei Amerikaferd,” the memoirs of an emigrant who helped build
a railway, the Grand Trunk Line, in Canada, 1907- 1909. The
memoirs were edited by Reidar Djupedal and published in Jul
i Nordfjord, 1982-1984. The accounts cover the trip across
the Atlantic to a place near Kenora, Ontario, as well as life
and working conditions on the railway and in a new country.
Fedde, Gabriel Anensen
“Pennestrøg - Oplevelser,” the reminiscences of an
emigrant from Feda to Brooklyn in 1880. In Norway he had been
a teacher and sea captain; in Brooklyn he established himself
as a ship chandler and ship builder. He was influential in
the religious life of the community as a lay preacher and
Sunday School teacher. He was one of the founders of Trinity
Lutheran Church in Brooklyn and also of the Norwegian Deaconess
Fosholt, Sanford K.
Notes for a speech given by Fosholt when he made a donation
of $50,000 to establish an Archives Fund at the Norwegian-American
Historical Association in 1985. In it he explained how he
became aware of the need for the preservation of records from
Also included is a pamphlet, “A Visit to Dunvegan,” an account
of his trip in 1983 to the Island of Skye where some of his
ancestors had belonged to the Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan.
Gunnersen, Elise Margrethe Cammermeyer Welhaven
Xerox copy of pages 135-270 of the handwritten reminiscences
of the wife of Professor Sven Rud Gunnersen, who taught at
Augsburg College, Minneapolis, 1874-1883.
The memoir is a lively account of the interrelated lives
of the Sverdrups, the Oftedals, and the Gunnersens, who occupied
three apartments in the same house near the Augsburg campus.
Elise Gunnersen found it difficult to adapt to life in Minneapolis,
and her husband was not happy in his work at Augsburg. After
leaving Augsburg the family spent a year at the Hauge Seminary
in Red Wing, where August Weenaas was president. The Gunnersens
returned to Norway in 1884, where Elise settled into a life
that was more in accord with her background.
Hagen, Ole Erikson
Scattered papers of a Norwegian immigrant from Skjåk,
Gudbrandsdalen, who came to the United States in 1881, and
who spent much of his life at Crookston, Minnesota, where
he worked as a stonemason and contractor. In 1896 he became
Judge of Probate Court in Polk county.
He was also a journalist who established the popular weekly
Rodhuggeren in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, in 1893, editing it
for the next three years. Eventually this paper consolidated
with others to become Fram, which he edited from 1899 to 1902.
In 1904-1905 he was editor of Normanden in Grand Forks, North
His other publications include a novel Tilfjelds, a summary
of which is in the papers; a number of pamphlets published
in Crookston; and a biography: Erik O. Hagen, kort omrids
af hans liv og virksomhet i Norge og Amerika (A brief sketch
of his life and activities in Norway and in America). There
is also one issue (1/9, August, 1896) of Frisind, a periodical
which he published together with Halvor Shirley in Fergus
Haslerud, Peter Peterson
“Petersen fra Peterson,” a pamphlet containing translations
of an article about and letters to and from Peter Peterson
Haslerud, an 1843 emigrant from Rollag, Numedal, who founded
Peterson, Fillmore county, Minnesota. The translation is by
Karl Pedersen, edited by John Erickson.
The story of Peter K. Haslerud, a nephew of Peter Peterson
Haslerud, is also included in the pamphlet.
Correspondence and records dealing chiefly with Landsforbundet
for Norsk Ungdom i Amerika, the national union of Norwegian
youth societies. Hjelmeseth, who was born in Nordf3ordeid,
was the editor for the Landsforbundet publication Norsk Ungdom.
He was also associated with other Norwegian-American publications.
Correspondence and other materials collected by a retired
Norwegian-American Episcopal priest in connection with his
interest in Waldemar Ager. This interest began when he was
growing up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and learned to know members
of Ager’s family and led eventually to his receiving a master’s
degree at the University of Minnesota in 1978 on the completion
of a thesis, Tragedy in the Life and Writings of Waldemar
Ager: Immigrant, Author and Editor, a copy of which is in
the St. Olaf College Library.
This collection supplements and in part duplicates papers
previously contributed by Kilde to the Ager Papers.
Chiefly letters from Norway to the family of a Norwegian-American
educator. Included also are the citizenship papers of Michael
Larsen, 1885, and three letters from N. J. Thomasberg, then
a student at Augsburg Seminary, to members of the Larson family.
Letters from 1928 to 1937 are to Harold Larson from his mother.
Larson was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and received his B.
A. degree from Morningside College, Sioux City, in 1927, and
his M. A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. In 1929-1930
he was a Lydia C. Roberts Traveling Scholar to the University
of Oslo. The King’s College Press published his doctoral dissertation,
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: A Study in Nationalism,
Larson taught history at McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois;
at the Municipal University of Omaha; at the University of
Maryland; and at the Pentagon. He was an archivist at the
United States National Archives and served as an historian
for the United States Army and the United States Air Force.
Complete details of his professional career are covered in
a letter from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia
University, where the bulk of his papers are kept.
Lindley, Lester G.
“To Fulfill This Mission: A History of Kendall College, 1934-1984,”
written by a teacher at Kendall College, Evanston, Illinois,
to commemorate its fiftieth anniversary. Kendall was originally
a two-year college, called Evanston Collegiate Institute;
it had been the recipient of property from the Swedish Methodist
Episcopal Theological Seminary and the Norwegian-Danish Theological
Seminary. The name was changed to Kendall College in 1950,
and the school became a four-year college in 1976.
The building that was originally constructed for the Norwegian-Danish
Theological Seminary and later turned over to the Evanston
Collegiate Institute was made into an office building by Frank
Wheby. His notes on the building are in the file.
Logan Square First Baptist Church, Chicago
A church register listing membership, officers, chronology,
and statistics of the Logan Square Norske Baptist Menighet.
Minutes of the meetings, written in Norwegian, cover the period
1908-19 18. Some of the other listings continue until 1956.
Lundeberg, Knut Olafson
“Glimt fra mit liv” (Glimpses from my life), an eighty-one
page memoir, together with some biographical data, about a
prominent Norwegian Lutheran pastor who emigrated from Kviteseid,
Telemark, in 1878. He came to Chickasaw county, Iowa, and
wrote his first letter to his people in Norway from there.
He studied at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, in 1881-1882.
During the years 1886-1889 he attended the seminary which
was located at St. Olaf College from 1886 to 1890. This seminary
later became part of the Theological Seminary of the newly-formed
United Lutheran Church. He was ordained in 1889 and had a
varied career as pastor, teacher, and administrator. A founder
of a small Lutheran group, Brodersamfundet, he served as editor
of their publication, but later returned to the United Lutheran
Church. An interesting item in the collection is a brief history
of the seminary in Northfield.
“Settlement Patterns for Immigrants from Verdal, Norway,
a Survey and Analysis,” a study prepared by a Norwegian student
at St. Olaf College, 1981-1982, as part of a thesis to be
completed at the University of Trondheim.
A collection of letters, dated from 1907 to 1948, written
from Chicago, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Kvalshaug, Norway,
by siblings, brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews
of Randi Larsdatter Øien Flatreit. She was the only
one of eight children from the last generation to be raised
at the Øyegrinde husmanns place at Nedre Øien
who remained in Norway. An explanatory letter concerning the
relationships is included in the file.
Oyen, Odin J.
“A Catalog of the Oyen Collection from the University of
Wisconsin, La Crosse,” which gives the history of the Oyen
Interior Design Firm. Oyen came from Trondheim in 1870 with
his parents to Chicago and later to Madison, Wisconsin. After
having studied art in Chicago, Oyen settled in La Crosse in
1888, where, together with Louis Nelson, he organized an interior
decorating firm, working chiefly on public buildings. The
firm was dissolved in 1931.
Peterson, Gerhard Augustine
Biographical data, clippings, photographs, sermons, and poems
of a Norwegian-American Lutheran pastor, a graduate of St.
Olaf College in 1916. As a member of the St. Olaf College
Band he traveled to Norway and remained there for a year of
study at Menighetsfakultetet. After serving in several parishes
he became Executive Secretary for the Zion Society for Israel,
Scandinavian Young Men’s Christian Society, Chicago
Minutes and financial records of two societies, the first
organized in 1872 as De unge Mænds kristelige Forening
tilhørende Trefoldigheds Menighed, Chicago, Illinois,
and soon disbanded. The second organization was founded in
1876. The purpose of these societies was to foster spiritual,
intellectual, and social development among Scandinavians.
Sohner, Jacob Theodore
“J. Theodore Sohner, Portrait Painter,” by lone Kadden, the
story of a versatile artist who was also a fine musician.
Subjects for his portraits were many distinguished Minnesotans:
governors, senators, judges, scientists, and musicians. A
plea is made in the story for locating the extant Sohner portraits
so that this record may be preserved at the Vesterheim Museum
in Decorah, Iowa.
Solwald, Gunnar Olsen
“Remembrance From My Life,” an autobiographical account of
an 1875 emigrant from Skien, who tells about his childhood
and youth and his career as seaman, soldier, and teacher in
Norway. The emigrant journey in 1875 is covered in detail;
it finally ended near Rushford, Minnesota, where Solwald was
a farmer and teacher. Later he and his family moved to Clay
county, Minnesota, and in 1887 went to the state of Washington.
An epilogue by Gertrude Solwold Wells tells the story of
the last years of his life in Tacoma, Washington.
A later addition to the collection is “Borghild,” a memoir
by Borghild Solwold Melbye.
Records of a local bygdelag organized by immigrants from
Stavanger in Chicago, whose stated purpose was to foster traditions
and connections among the members through regular meetings
and social gatherings. For a time the group published a newsletter,
Mortepumpen, for its members. Some of the articles and stories
from it are preserved in the papers.
Clippings, naturalization certificate, letters, and other
data concerning a Norwegian-born pastor who came from Karmøy
in 1888. After serving as a parish pastor, he became editor
of Lutheraneren, the official organ of the Norwegian Lutheran
Church in America. Among the papers is a manuscript “En fiskedag
på vestsiden af Karmøi,” a memoir of a day in
Poems, stories, and an unpublished novel by a Norwegian-American
teacher, folklorist, and writer, a graduate of St. Olaf College
in 1914, who received a master’s degree from Indiana University
in 1930. He taught English in an Indianapolis high school,
1916-1941, and saw army service in France during the First
The papers include information about his father, Anders Winger,
who had been an actor in his youth in Norway, but who emigrated
to the United States in 1882 and lived in Minnesota the rest
of his life. He died in 1928.
Woodside, Lorence Munson
The papers of an American woman, born in Hamilton county,
Iowa, the daughter of Norwegian emigrants Sivert and Mesine
Monson. She was a graduate of Highland Park Normal College,
Des Moines, Iowa, in 1893, and did further study at the University
of Chicago and at Boston University. She was an instructor
in elocution at Buena Vista College, Storm Lake, Iowa, and
for a short time Director of Physical Culture for the Iowa
WCTU. From 1901 to 1927 she was employed by the Redpath Lyceum,
the Eastern Lyceum, and the Chautauqua system as a reader,
occasionally as a manager. In 1909 she married Alonzo Woodside,
a veteran of the Spanish-American War, whose later career
included service in the First World War and work in the Boston
Lorence Woodside’s varied interests led her into many fields
in addition to her career in public speaking. She was a gardener,
leading school garden projects during the two world wars;
she developed a dahlia which was given the name “Mrs. Woodside.”
Much of her energy was devoted to civic and community service
and to clubs and organizations.
Her trips to Norway in 1906, 1913, and 1926, the last as
an Honorary Fellow of the American-Scandinavian Foundation,
brought her into contact with many Norwegian writers. Her
major achievements in this regard were the translation of
Sverre Brandt’s play, Sonja and the Christmas Star, produced
by the New York Junior League Players in December, 1929, and
the translation of Barbara Ring’s short story, Peik, published
by Little Brown in Boston, 1932.