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Studies and Records
Volume I

Published by the Norwegian-American Historical Association, Northfield, Minnesota
Copyright 1926 by the Norwegian-American Historical Association

Preface

The board of editors of the Norwegian-American Historical Association present herewith the first volume in a series of publications intended to include both primary and secondary materials relating specifically to Norwegian immigration and to the history of the Norwegian element in the United States.

One of the marked tendencies of present-day American historiography is the increasing study of population movements and their Old World backgrounds- a trend for which Professor Frederick J. Turner and the western school of historians are no doubt in part responsible. It is believed that the materials in this volume, though of primary value for their contribution to knowledge of a special field, are not without interest for this wider study of American backgrounds. They are therefore presented to the public as a modest contribution to general American history.

The documents and articles in the volume illustrate both the special and the general viewpoints. The examination of health conditions and medical practice among the Norwegian settlers in the period before 1865 is not only an important contribution to the story of the Norwegian-Americans but also a study of wide interest for the social side of the history of the West. The analysis of the situation of the Norwegian Quakers in 1825 throws light not only upon the beginnings of Norwegian immigration to the United States in the nineteenth century but also upon the north European backgrounds of American immigration in general. The pastoral letter of the Norwegian bishop, issued in 1837, may perhaps be interpreted as a revelation of the attitude of the clergy not merely in Norway but in the Scandinavian North toward the rising movement of emigration in the period of the middle nineteenth century. Reiersen's account of the Norwegian settlements in the West is an illuminating contemporary document of the westward movement in the forties. The conditions described in the account of an emigrant packet, though of special Norwegian-American interest, are probably similar in many respects to those attending hundreds of trans-Atlantic emigrant journeys before the American Civil War. Solberg's reminiscences not only reveal the manner in which the Norwegian settlers adjusted themselves to the political situation that confronted them in the West in the fifties but also shed some light upon the cultural interests of the foreign-born pioneers.

In the latter part of the volume are printed several items about the association that now makes its first bow to the public. Special attention may be directed to the brief article by the president of the association, in which the ideals of the society and its plans for future publications are sketched, and to the certificate of incorporation and the by-laws, which define the objects of the association and explain the nature of its organization.

Theodore C. Blegen
Minnesota Historical Society
St. Paul, Minnesota

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