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From the Archives
    by Beulah Folkedahl (Volume 22: Page 236)

BIRGER OSLAND, Chicago investment banker, philanthropist, author, promoter of Norwegian Americana, and treasurer of the Norwegian-American Historical Association for twenty-five years, presented his papers, one of the largest collections in the archives, before his death in 1963. Among the topics are Osland’s work in securing American shareholders in the Norwegian America Line; various Norwegian societies, the Norwegian-American Hospital, and the Norwegian Old People’s Home, all in Chicago; the role taken by Norwegian Americans in the Century of Progress Exposition; and Norwegian Relief, Inc., of which he was treasurer. His files on the Norwegian-American Historical Association contain a wealth of material on the purposes, policies, and projects of the organization. Some of his correspondents were Kenneth O. Bjork, Theodore C. Blegen, L. W. Boe, Knut Gjerset, Marcus L. Hansen, Laurence M. Larson, David T. Nelson, D. J. Ristad, and Ole E. Rølvaag.

An ANDREW FURTJSETH bibliography compiled at the Library of Congress is one of the items in the papers of the "Abraham Lincoln of the seamen."

The HENRY B. HAMRE record books are the accounts and undated prescription lists of a Northfield, Minnesota, pharmacist.

In the papers of JOHS. JOHANNESEN is an article written by his daughter, Mrs. Amelia Bakken, about pioneer life in Winneshiek County, Iowa. It contains names of early settlers, sketches of families, the story of the founding of the Norwegian Methodist Church [237] in the area, and anecdotes about the Civil War, country schools, and community life.

Letters written by several members of the REYMERT FAMILY to one another should prove a rich source of biographical material, especially on James Denoon Reymert, first editor of Nordlyset. They are in the papers of his nephew, August Reymert, New York attorney.

A rare document in the PETER A. RASMUSSEN Papers is the letter of call issued by the Lisbon, Illinois, congregation in 1852, containing the signatures of the members. The papers, mostly letters from Rasmussen, reveal his views on education, mission and lay activity in the church, the St. Olaf-Augsburg controversy, and life in the Lisbon settlement. There are also letters from Gjermund Hoyme, John N. Kildahl, and Friedrich A. Schmidt.

CLARA JACOBSON’S "Childhood Memories" (1943) is a glowing, detailed record of family activities in the Perry parsonage (Dane County, Wisconsin) during 1868—78. Special mention is made of Ole Bull, Aamund B. Dahle, John N. Fjeld, Guibrand Jensvold, Monona Academy, and the devastating tornado of 1878.

A roster, written by Asbjørn Isaksen of Oslo, of the names of emigrants to America from Sandsvær and Kongsberg (1866— 1925), as they appeared in Kongsberg Laagendals posten (1952—ca. 1954), is an item in the papers of GUSTAV SOLUM, a resident of Seattle. According to Isaksen this roster, which includes dates of sailings and occasionally the names of ships, is neither complete nor accurate.

In the papers of OLE OLSON ØSTERUD are diaries that include items about farm and church activity at Ostrander, Minnesota, and letters with references to the Civil War, Wisconsin pineries, and the migration movement.

Included in the archives is the manuscript material gathered by John J. Sonsteby, Chicago judge, about the Norwegian Guard of Chicago and the part it played in the fire of October 8—9, 1871.

One of the larger collections, the OSCAR A. TINGELSTAD Papers, contains data on church colleges in general and on Luther College and Pacific Lutheran University in particular. Tingelstad, as a conservative, defended the classical course of study. He opposed rationalism, evolution, lodges, and church union. Among the papers are letters from Ole E. Rølvaag. [238]

Reports by OLE SINGSTAD, internationally famous Norwegian-born engineer of New York, include one to the New York City Tunnel Authority on the proposed Narrows vehicular tunnel between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Richmond, and one to the Washington Toll Bridge Authority on the Cascade Mountains low-level tunnel survey.

The AAKER FAMILY Papers include a collection of letters written by a Luther College student during the early 1860’s.

Arne Garborg, the Norwegian author, wrote several letters to Mabel Johnson Leland of Kenyon, Minnesota, translator of his Den burtkomne faderen (Christiania, 1899), published in Boston in 1920 as The Lost Father. The letters discuss practical aspects of publication.

The account books of GUDMUND SKARTVEDT, realtor, insurance agent, and farmer of Canton, South Dakota, are included in his papers.

GUNHILD ANDRINE JACOBSDATTER LARSON recalls in lively fashion, in articles written in 1923 and 1925, her passage across the Atlantic, life in Muskego, Wisconsin, in the 1840’s and 1850’s, and her marriage in 1856. She mentions Nordlyset, national politics, and various leaders in the community.

NICOLAY ANDREAS GREVSTAD, editor of Skandinaven, included in his papers his correspondence as United States minister to Uruguay and material on such items of Norwegian-American interest as the Guyman (Oklahoma) settlement, the wheat farmer in World War I, and the patriotism of the Scandinavian Americans during the same period.

NILS ENDRESEN BØE (Anderson), Lutheran clergyman, lived in Wisconsin, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. He was an early graduate of Augsburg Seminary, and his correspondence offers considerable detail about the problems connected with Marshall Academy and Augsburg, and with church union. His correspondents included J. A. Bergh, N. C. Brun, T. H. Dahl, Gjermund Hoyme, Sven Oftedal, Ole Paulson, Georg Sverdrup, and August Weenaas.

The ANDREW JOHNSON (Aasen) family of Wiota, Wisconsin, had correspondence with relatives in California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, South Dakota, and Wisconsin that presents an over-all picture of the migration movement both in the country [239] and in town. The papers include several letters written by a student at Mount Horeb Academy in the 1890’s.

The policies and publications of the association and the collecting of artifacts for the Norwegian-American Historical Museum at Decorah, Iowa, are the chief topics in the papers of KNUT GJERSET, professor of history at Luther College and a founder of both the Norwegian-American Historical Association and the museum.

Account books of the general mercantile retail store at Lisbon, Illinois, for part of the period 1854—82 contain interesting data about the buying habits of the local citizens and the prices of merchandise.

The Gerhard Naeseth transcript of the Norwegian portions of two reels of microfilm covering the 1844 and 1845 lists of passengers from Europe offers pertinent information. The roster, which includes names of ships, dates of sailings, and ages and Occupations of immigrants, contains well over a thousand names.

Two items in the MARCUS THRANE Papers are significant: A bound volume of Dagslyset, a philosophical-religious monthly journal edited and published by Thrane, that contains most numbers, January 30, 1870—October, 1873; and a translation of Wisconsin bibelen done by Linsis Caroline Krook, a granddaughter of Thrane.

The KNUD LANGELAND Papers include items on Langeland’s political views, his attack on the Norwegian Synod, and the financial policies of Skandinaven, of which he was the first editor. A copy of Aaben erklæring, by August Weenaas and Sven Oftedal, and letters from Rasmus B. Anderson, Ansten K. Nattestad, and Knute Nelson are other items.

The records of the Norsk Læse og Samtaleforening (Norwegian Reading and Discussion Society) of Silvana, Washington, include minutes of meetings, the constitution, membership lists, library records, and financial accounts.

The files contain some 125 Civil War letters written by Norwegian Americans in the Northern army. The archives also have information, compiled by Judge Derwood Johnson, Waco, Texas, from the muster rolls in the National Archives and Records Service in Washington, D.C., about Norwegian Americans in the Confederate army.

The Civil War files include an address given in 1900 in Chicago [240] by OLE STEENSLAND, a Hollandale, Wisconsin, farmer, in which he recounts his war experiences — especially those at Andersonville prison — and an earthy story by OLE GRIMSTVEDT, a farmer from Dane County, Wisconsin, about hospital life during the Civil War.

A unique item is a volume of Vossing America letters copied by LARS NELSON NESHEIM of Voss, Norway, who considered these letters from Chicago, Ottawa, and Racine so significant that he transcribed them into books for preservation. Ivar D. Hustvedt, Cannon Falls, Minnesota, presented them.

The LARS A. ROSSING Papers offer clues to the economic life of a rural community in southern Wisconsin during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Rossing was a storekeeper in Argyle.

The OLE E. RØLVAAG Papers (about eight thousand items) include correspondence from Waldemar Ager, L. W. Boe, Peter J. Eikeland, Einar Haugen, Theodore Jorgenson, and Julius Olson, among others, as well as many Rølvaag letters. Among the manuscripts of articles in the Rølvaag Papers are "The Peer Strømme I Knew," by Helen Egilsrud, and two papers by Rølvaag: "Kildahl ved St. Olaf" and "Hvis det er sandt." The latter deals with the Americanization problem.

Among the papers of OLAF OLSEN, ship machinist and engineer of Hillsdale, New Jersey, are 123 diaries, logbooks, and notebooks from 1885 to 1917. Olsen was employed on both international and coastwise shipping.

A valuable item is the diary of the late REVEREND CARL K. SOLBERG, a Lutheran clergyman in Chicago, Minneapolis, and South Dakota. He was strongly interested in evangelism, temperance, and Christian missions among the Jews. His diary covers most of the period between 1892 and 1945, and includes his student days at St. Olaf College and at Luther Theological Seminary.

MAGNUS LARSEN, draftsman and designer, in letters written 1887—99, criticizes the inequalities in American society and gives detailed accounts of his unpleasant experiences in metropolitan New York.

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