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,
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-present) — have built upon the Blegen tradition
as they have opened up new areas of research and expanded the range of
critically acclaimed publications.
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.
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
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 e-mail
us to schedule an appointment to visit the archives. Our part-time
archivists can best serve you if we know when you are coming. We charge
a modest hourly fee for research
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.
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.