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STUDIES
    Volume XXX

1985
The Norwegian-American Historical Association
NORTHFIELD, MINNESOTA

Copyright 1985 by the
NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
ISBN O-87732-070-5
Printed in the United States of America
at the Colwell/North Central inc.,
St. Paul, Minnesota

To the Memory of Peter A. Munch

THE NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN HISTORICAL
ASSOCIATION

LAWRENCE O. HAUGE, President

Board of Publications:
ODD S. LOVOLL, Editor
ARLOW W. ANDERSEN
CARL H. CHRISLOCK
C. A. CLAUSEN
ERIK J. FRIIS
CLARENCE A. GLASRUD
EINAR HAUGEN
TERJE I. LEIREN
CARLTON C. QUALEY
KENNETH O. BJORK,
Editor Emeritus

Preface

THE SCENERY of Alaska and the west coast of the mainland United States is strongly reminiscent
of the coastal districts of Norway. Many Norwegians were attracted to these parts of the continent; the landscape, as well as familiar modes of livelihood in lumbering and fishing, added to the regionís appeal. Some Norwegians moved there from their settlements in the Midwest and others migrated to the area directly from Norway. It might be claimed that they transferred a Norwegian coastal culture to the Pacific coast. This volume of Norwegian-American Studies, the thirtieth in the series, makes evident the rich opportunity for scholarly research that Norwegian settlement in the Far West provides; six of the nine articles in the collection are devoted to this topic.

In her essay, Patsy Adams Hegstad identifies the motivating forces for Scandinavian migration to Seattle and the Puget Sound area in general. These included topographical and climatic conditions, employment possibilities, and active recruitment by economic interests. But also important were family connections and the emergence of immigrant social and cultural institutions. Rangvald Kvelstad reveals similar pull factors in his sympathetic account of Norwegian pioneers in western Washington: a Norwegian community grew up on the Kitsap peninsula with the little town of Poulsbo as its natural center.

There is a sense of adventure in Kenneth O. Bjorkís colorful essay on Norwegians in Alaska. They worked, to be sure, to develop bountiful forest and fishing resources. Their wandering northward in large numbers was, however, associated with the discovery of gold and the prospects of easy riches in the gold fields of Alaska and the Klondike. Interwoven in this intriguing tale is an attempt marred by greed and scandal to introduce domestic reindeer from Norway into Alaska. Sverre Arestad surveys Norwegian fishing enterprise on the Pacific coast, a major branch of the economy in which Norwegians from around the turn of the century constituted a dominant element. Arestad, however, moderates the common view of their role in the founding years.

The lead article by Lloyd Hustvedt profiles the shifting fortunes of a Norwegian-American labor leader, O. A. Tveitmoe. Tveitmoe was a product of radical reform currents at the close of the last century; he pursued his socialist ideology and political ambition in California. The article is highly suggestive of the volatile situation in which organized labor strove to gain a voice. World War I and the victory for Bolshevism in Russia adversely affected the entire American left, the progressive camp as well as the socialist. Many earlier progressives became avidly anti-radical. In this connection, Terje I. Leiren discusses the political career of Seattle mayor Ole Hanson, who began as a progressive but in 1919 joined the crusade against the Reds. Taking into account Hansonís Norwegian immigrant background, Leiren analyzes his change of allegiance.

Larry Emil Scottís contribution on the poetry of Agnes Mathilde Wergeland might properly be considered together with the articles on the Far West. She was a professor of history at the state university in Laramie, Wyoming. But the authorís interest is primarily in Wergelandís inner life as reflected in her sensitive and revealing verse, and he thinks of her as among the finest of the Norwegian-American poets. James S. Hamre presents the educational philosophies of three prominent Norwegian-American defenders of the academies --- secondary schools --- established by Norwegian Lutheran churches. Hamre concludes that the views of these men represented a minority position within the immigrant community, a fact that contributed to the demise of the academy movement. Claire Selkurt

investigates the material culture of Luther Valley, a pioneer Norwegian settlement in southern Wisconsin, and shows the persistence of certain Norwegian traditions in architecture and in furniture making. Simultaneously there was a broader movement toward adopting prevailing American styles in both forms and materials.

C.A. Clausen continues his listing of recent publications in the field of immigration, assisted for Norwegian titles by Johanna Barstad, librarian in the university library in Oslo. Charlotte Jacobson describes new acquisitions in the Associationís archives. In preparing this volume, I have enjoyed the gracious assistance of our board member Terje I. Leiren, who initially helped to plan the volume and solicited articles from west-coast authors. It remains to acknowledge with thankful appreciation the kindly services of Mary R. Hove, my competent and dedicated assistant in the editorial process. Her professional skills and genial cooperation are constant resources.

ODD S. LOVOLL

St. Olaf College

 

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