NAHA Header


About NAHA

Our Mission
Faces Collage Voices calling for the creation of a center for Norwegian-American history go back to 1875. Fifty years later the Norse-American Centennial provided the needed stimulus for action. On October 6, 1925, individuals of vision and talent founded NAHA.

To understand ourselves we must understand our past. We need to develop an awareness of the many strands that make up the fabric of our country's history and the society in which we live. Important among these are the stories and records of the immigrants who settled our land. Each ethnic group brought its own character to an ever-expanding diversity. The result is a cultural richness unique in the world.

The goal of the Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA) is to locate, collect, preserve and interpret the Norwegian-American part of this whole with accuracy, integrity, and liveliness. In doing so, Norwegian Americans will have an identifiable position in America's past, present, and future.

Theodore C. Blegen, noted University of Minnesota historian, was appointed the Association's first editor. He brought to his assignment the high intellectual and editorial standards that have characterized the NAHA publications which, to date, total more than 100 volumes. Later editors — Kenneth O. Bjork (1960-1980), Odd S. Lovoll (1980-2000), and Todd W. Nichol (2001-2017) — have built upon the Blegen tradition as they have opened up new areas of research and expanded the range of critically acclaimed publications. In July of 2018, the Association welcomed Anna M. Peterson of Luther College as its editor.

Ole E. Rolvaag, the author of Giants in the Earth, became the Association's first secretary and archivist. He initiated the collection of archives including letters, papers, books, periodicals, photographs, diaries, and newspapers related to Norwegian-American life. Through later growth and careful organization the archives have become a treasure trove for scholars of immigration history.

St. Olaf and NAHA
St. Olaf LionFrom the beginning NAHA has been located on the campus of St. Olaf College. Although both institutions are independent entities, they maintain close cooperation on common causes. A pinnacle of mutual effort was reached in the creation of the King Olav V Chair in Scandinavian-American Studies, inaugurated in 1992. This chair, funded by the Norwegian government, St. Olaf College, and the Norwegian-American Historical Association (through the Kenneth O. Bjork Endowment Fund), serves both the college and NAHA: the college is assured that immigration topics will be taught in the classroom and the occupant of this chair serves as publications editor of NAHA. The editor receives time for research and is provided with editorial assistance, safeguarding the future program of NAHA.

NAHA's archives are located in the special collections area of St. Olaf's Rolvaag Memorial Library. Our doors are open to the public and we encourage use of our resources. Please call us at (507) 786-3221 or email to schedule an appointment to visit the archives. Our part-time archivist can best serve you if we know when you are coming. We charge a modest hourly fee for research assistance.

The Norwegian-American Historical Association in Norway, NAHA-Norge, is an independent non-profit organization that works cooperatively with NAHA at St. Olaf College. Known in Norway as Det norske-amerikanske historielaget i Norge, NAHA-Norge aims to promote scholarly interests in Norwegian-American Studies in Norway, as well as encourage Norwegian contributions to this field of study.

About This Site
Visit NAHA's archives pages to find search tools developed to access our extensive collections. The site is designed to serve all users, regardless of browser choice, operating system, or use of accessibility software. Please contact us if you experience any difficulty using our site.

To the Home Page