by Beulah Folkedahl (Volume 21: Page 289)
In November, 1960, the Norwegian-American
Historical Association, in conjunction with St. Olaf College,
began the long-delayed task of organizing and describing its
considerable body of manuscript source material, housed in the
Rølvaag Memorial Library at the college. This work, a
preliminary to professional cataloguing, is directed by the
association’s secretary assisted by an archives committee, and
is being performed by Miss Beulah Folkedahl. Significant listings
of the papers of individual Norwegian Americans have appeared
in the News Letter. Miss Folkedahl, at the request of the editor,
has agreed to prepare informal "Notes from the Archives"
for this and subsequent volumes of NorwegianAmerican Studies.
It is hoped that these notes will alert scholars to the variety
and richness of the collection. K.O.B
Nordlyset’s subscription list for 1847—49, included in a
bound volume found in the D. G. Ristad Papers, is organized
according to states, counties, and post offices. Maanedstidende’s
subscription list, contained in the same volume, is similarly
organized but includes no dates. Financial reports add to
the value of Maanedstidende’s list. Both were pioneer Norwegian
newspapers published in Wisconsin.
A document found in the Ole A. Buslett Papers is reminiscent
of the Norwegian korbrev (contract). Drawn up in Waupaca County,
Wisconsin, in 1886, it is a bond between a father and a son
 that stipulates in detail the arrangements whereby the
parents transferred their farm to the son on condition he
furnish them a sum of money and maintenance and medical care
for the remainder of their lives.
An album containing excellent photographs of prominent pioneer
Lutheran church leaders and their wives was donated by Ingeborg
and Karen Larsen of Northfield, Minnesota.
A typewritten copy of Laurits J. Fribert’s Haandbog for emigranter
til Amerikas vest, med anvisning for overrejsen samt beskrivelse
af livet og agerdyrkningsmaaden, nærmest i Viskonsin
(Christiania, 1847) contains 96 pages. Fribert discusses Indians,
church, government, disease, and emigration, but devotes more
than half of the pages to agriculture. He had been a Danish
official and was a farmer in the Pine Lake settlement in Wisconsin,
In the manuscripts collection are three letters written in
English during the late 1840’s to persons in Kendall County,
New York. Nelson Nelsone (Nels Nelson Hersdal?), probably
a slooper, writes of his agricultural pursuits and of Mormon
and Jansonist preachers in La Salle County, Illinois. The
author of the other two letters, Harriet Pierson, was a student
in Hartland, Michigan. Photostatic copies of several Elling
Eielsen letters include one in which the pioneer preacher
refers to C. L. Clausen, J. W. C. Dietrichson, Ole Andrewson,
and Paul Andersen. Other letters in the collection are from
Muskego, 1854; Freeborn County, Minnesota, 1861; and Four
Mile Prairie, Texas, 1867.
Typewritten copies of the Olaf S. Houkom America letters
(1870—83) were donated to the archives during the early 1930’s
by John A. Houkom. Both father and son were clergymen in the
Lutheran Free Church. The letters were written from Highland
Prairie and La Crescent, Minnesota; Coon Prairie, Sparta,
and La Crosse, Wisconsin; and from Augsburg Seminary in Minneapolis.
The author describes his journey from Norway to Coon Prairie;
tells of his experiences as farm hand, railroad section worker,
and teacher; and characterizes representatives of groups that
he met. He also discusses such church leaders as August Weenaas,
Bernt J. Muus, Sven Oftedal, and Georg Sverdrup.
The Ingebret Eriksen Papers (1854—92), donated by Judge 
Alfred O. Erikson, Chicago, in the late 1930’s, include original
letters from Lutheran clergymen about doctrinal controversy,
several Civil War letters from Ericksen’s relatives written
from Tennessee in 1865, a letter dated Trondhjem, 1890, from
Pastor O. F. Duus, others from relatives and friends, and
a bound volume of typewritten copies. Those on doctrinal matters
were written by A. Mikkelsen, Chicago and Sioux Falls; H.
A. Preus, Keyser, Wisconsin; J. Krohn and N. J. Ellestad,
Chicago; W. J. L. Frich, La Crosse; and H. G. Stub, Luther
Seminary, St. Paul. Those written by friends and relatives
are from Mayville and Fargo, North Dakota; Green Bay and Manitowoc,
Wisconsin; and McIntosh, Minnesota. Ingebret Eriksen was a
farmer and merchant in Scandinavia, Wisconsin.
Another group of Civil War letters, mainly from Kentucky
and Tennessee, describe battles and other war experiences,
and mention prices of provisions.
The letters of J. O. Hougen, a Lutheran minister, contain
material about church disputes in the 1880’s.
G. M. Bruce’s "Lidt pionærhistorie," a manuscript
account in the Bruce Papers, tells of childhood days on a
claim near Yankton, South Dakota. Most of the 10 pages are
devoted to a description of the fearful blizzard of January,
The "Biography of Hans Helliksen Ramberg and His Family,"
a typewritten copy of which was donated by Hans Ramberg, Cambridge,
Wisconsin, was written by Severt Hansen Ramberg, Madison,
Wisconsin, in 1912. It is an anecdotal account of the family’s
migrations (1855—64) from Norway to Wisconsin, to Minnesota,
to Kansas, and back to Wisconsin. It deals with Indians, slavery,
weather, farming, church, and social life. The original manuscript
is owned by Mrs. Hans Ramberg, Cambridge, Wisconsin.
A two-volume "Referat protokol" (minutes) and a
"Journal" of the Arne Garborg Club in Chicago for
the early 1890’s were donated by Birger Osland, former treasurer
of the Norwegian-American Historical Association. The club,
organized in 1891, heard lectures on such subjects as "Labor
and Wages," "Capital," "Realism and Romanticism,"
and "Woman Suffrage."
A "Protokol for Den Norske Dramatisk Forening i Chicago,
Illinois" (Minutes of the Norwegian Dramatic Society
in Chicago,  Illinois) contains the bylaws, detailed
secretary’s minutes, treasurer’s reports, and printed programs
of the society’s frequent dramatic productions. The club was
organized in 1868.
The logbooks of Olaf Olsen, who migrated to the United States
in 1890, cover his activities as machinist and ship’s engineer,
largely with Atlantic coastal steamship lines, for more than
The Olav Stokkestad America letters (1885—97), written to
Kristian Prestgard, editor of Decorah-posten, and found in
his papers, are unique in that they discuss cultural life,
especially in urban centers, rather than economic conditions
in rural areas. The subjects are books, newspapers, libraries,
the theater, forums on spiritual matters led by Kristofer
Janson, F. A. Schmidt, and others, political campaigns, and
working hours and conditions. Most of the letters were written
from Benson and Swift Falls, Minnesota, and from Minneapolis
and New York City. Stokkestad was an artist, photographer,
and theater decorator.