Norwegian-American Studies and Records
Copyright © 1936 by the Norwegian-American Historical
Printed at the Lund Press, Minneapolis
The nine contributions that comprise the present volume afford, I believe, a fair demonstration of the purposes and interests of the Norwegian-American Historical Association. It will be noted that there are four historical essays, an equal number of edited documents, and finally a bibliographical report. The essays, taken together, represent historical interpretation, biography, analysis of a "type settlement," and a challenge to meet fundamental problems of records. Professor Hansen offers an essay in historical interpretation that digs deep into the realities of American life. Seeking to illuminate the interrelations of Puritanism and immigration, he adds to our understanding of both. Dr. Ristad recalls the achievements of a Norwegian-American collector of historical data who had the imagination and enterprise to visit the pioneer immigrant settlements in the 1860's with the purpose of recording first-hand narratives of migration. Mr. Qualey adjusts a microscope over a Norwegian-American agricultural settlement and draws a picture that has wide significance because of its typicality. The fourth of the essays is a searching discussion by Professor Larson of one of the basic problems confronting historians and historical associations, that of collecting and preserving sources.
Not less interesting than the essays are the four documentary contributions. The first, presented by Dr. Swansen, makes available in English an America letter of 1839 which throws new light upon the genesis of Norwegian settlement in Iowa. The second shifts the scene to the fifties and we have, in Professor Clausen's translation, a document written by an immigrant observer who was particularly interested in the facility and speed with which pioneers created towns in the Middle West in that booming age. The third presents five characteristic letters written in America in the eighties by the exiled Marcus Thrane, prophet of Norwegian labor. American readers will be interested in Professor Westergaard's remark that the two Scandinavian exiles, Marcus Thrane and Louis Pio, who joined hands in issuing a little midwestern magazine called "The New Age," were respectively the founder of the labor movement in Norway and the founder of social democracy in Denmark. The fourth and final document is one of reminiscence, the narrative of a courageous pioneer pastor in Dakota, translated by his daughter, Miss
At the end of the volume is the fifth in Mr. Hodnefield's valuable series of bibliographies of recent publications in the Norwegian-American field.
Theodore C. Blegen
Minnesota Historical Society