NAHA Header

NAHA Logo

Who Was Herm. Wang?
    by Ingrid Semmingsen (Volume 31: Page 215)

In Johannes B. Wist’s knowledgeable survey of the Norwegian language press in America after the Civil War one reads as follows: “Older readers of Verdens Gang in Kristiania will remember a familiar pseudonym that appeared in the latter part of the 1870s under several well-written satiric articles about such matters as military life on a drill ground or politics and the authorities. At the time, these articles created something of a stir and contributed greatly to the popularity of Verdens Gang. Later similar articles appeared in the same journal and from the same pen about the police in Kristiania, articles that were read with interest all over the country. The pseudonym was ‘Herm. Wang.’ In time it became just as well known in America as it once had been in Norway. The real name that for a long time was hidden behind this nom de plume is Ole S. Hervin. He was born in Stange, Hedmark, in 1852, attended the military academy for petty officers, and became a sergeant in 1873. Besides holding a military commission he was also for a time a policeman in the capital. He emigrated to America in 1880, and was here associated with various newspapers, among them Budstikken, Nordvesten, Skandinaven, and Nationaltidende. The last he edited in 1895-1896. In 1901 he started a small monthly in St. Paul called Smuler (Crumbs) in which he gave, in his own characteristic way, his opinions on ‘men and forces’ among us. Smuler appeared regularly until 1912. Since then it has been published occasionally. Hervin has a sharp pen. As a writer he possesses a good deal of originality and a great fund of humor.” {1}

It is easy to subscribe to most of what Wist wrote in 1914. In addition it may be possible to put the life and work of Ole S. Hervin into a broader historical perspective in regard both to Norway and to the Norwegian-American milieu.

Ole Simensen Hverven - Americanized into O. S. Hervin - was the son of a cotter. But his father, born in 1825, was the son of a freeholder. The situation is typical of the social development in the eastern lowlands of rural Norway at the time. Ole’s father was one of the many victims of the downward social mobility that resulted mainly from the population pressure caused by decreasing infant and child mortality. Ole’s mother was the daughter of a cotter. His parents were not married when Ole was born, nor did they marry until two years later, presumably because they could not afford to do so. This is also typical of the social conditions at the time. By 1865 three more children had been added to the family, according to the census of that year. {2}

The farm Hverven (today Verva) was one of the largest in the municipality of Stange. According to the census of 1875 seven cotters’ houses belonged to the farm. It also had a blacksmith’s shop, and Ole’s father was the blacksmith. The combination of blacksmith and cotter was not an unusual one in these districts. The occupation of blacksmith gave considerable esteem to a cotter and usually allowed him more favorable terms than the ordinary cotter’s contract. The shop must also have been of great value to the farm and its owner.

Young Ole was a bright boy. When he was confirmed in September, 1867, at the age of fifteen, the pastor gave him very good marks. He ranked second among the confirmands. Out of a total of twenty boys he was one of nine who scored “very good” both in “knowledge” and in “diligence at work and general behavior.” {3} Many years later Hervin gave an amusing, ironic, but possibly somewhat romanticized account of how this happened, which also involved an element of social criticism. In this account he praised his teacher in the elementary school as an excellent man who did not pay too much attention to all the baffling questions in the big Pontoppidan catechism, or their complicated answers. But the pastor was different; he wanted all the answers given verbatim. Hervin claimed to have had religious doubts already at that age. He knew, however, that confirmation was socially a “must,” an entry to the world of adulthood.

After consulting an older man, whom he later in a poem called “the Anti-Christ of the community,” he decided to follow his advice: to dissemble until confirmation was over. In playing the hypocrite, Ole was helped by his ability to read a text upside down. One by one the young girls and boys were called to stand in front of the pastor, who had the catechism lying on the table before him. The pastor praised Ole for having prepared himself well, but in reality he had done very little homework. He just read the text from the book lying in front of him, an ability he had developed at an early age by looking at his father’s newspaper. This, incidentally, suggests that the father was an unusual cotter. In the Norway of the 1860s very few cotters had the means and the intellectual keenness to subscribe to a newspaper.

A showdown came, however, on the final examination day at the church. This time the pastor was standing as he directed his questions, and young Ole could see only the back of the book. He floundered, stammered, and stuttered, and was therefore moved one place down in the rankings. In his reminiscences he admitted that the pastor did not seem to bear any grudge against him. On the contrary he gave him a suit of clothes. In the same account Hervin also told of a young girl whom he admired. She had doubts similar to his own, but while he had been of the opinion that he ought to “cry out his protest” at the top of his voice, she felt that he should show patience and respect for other people’s beliefs if they were honest and true. She insisted that the main thing was to remain true to oneself, that they were part of a leaven that in time would permeate all of humanity and make freedom, truth, and happiness into more than empty words. They might see the dawn of a better morning, but they would not be able to lift the sun over the ridge of the hill with their own hands.

“Browneyes,” as he called this girl in both prose and poetry, died young. In more mature years, he felt no grief at remembering her, for she had been his guardian angel. He saw her as an image of honesty and good will, and he tried, he said, to be an interpreter of her bright, optimistic principle of life. {4}

Three years after his confirmation, at the age of eighteen, Ole was accepted as a student at a military academy for the education of petty officers in Kristiania. It offered a three-year course and it was free. The students got clothes and even an allowance, however small, for their daily expenses. The school provided an opportunity for boys from the countryside with an intellectual bent who did not have the means to continue their education beyond the basic common school. The school in Kristiania was a good one that gave some theoretical education besides the military training. It had a small library of its own, and it offered a course in English as an elective.

According to the military rolls, Ole Hverven became successively a first corporal, an unpaid sergeant, and finally, in July, 1874, a salaried sergeant, commissioned for six years. He took part in various military exercises between 1874 and 1878, either with his batallion or with the entire brigade, or as a sergeant in training young recruits who were called up for their first service. He is described as being five feet, five inches tall, well built, with dark hair and brown eyes (the last characteristic surprised some of his descendants in America who remembered him as having blue eyes). In the census of 1875 his civil profession is given as “dyer.” {5}

During this period Ole Simensen Hverven married Nicoline Hansen, who was born in Sande in 1854. As was the case with Ole’s parents, the marriage took place only after their first child, Hulda, was born in 1875. They soon married, however, and the census of 1875 states that Ole supported both mother and child, and that they lived together on the outskirts of Kristiania. {6}

His economic situation was not very good in the late 1870s. As a salaried sergeant he obtained a fixed wage amounting to about twenty-five cents per day in American money. In addition he received extra pay for taking part in exercises every summer with his batallion or his regiment. Still it must have been hard to raise a family on the income he was able to bring home. Poverty therefore was probably the reason Nicoline and Ole did not marry until after their first child was born. It also explains why, in order to earn some extra money, he chose to do military service for another man who was conscripted. Until 1879 this could be done in Norway. The well-to-do could be released by paying another man to do their service. Strained economic conditions and a growing family also explain why he worked temporarily in the police force in Kristiania. He may even have started his journalistic career with Verdens Gang - at the time one of the most outspoken representatives of the political left in Norway - in order to earn some extra money as a free lancer.

He must also, however, have had a real urge to write, to express himself and to comment on the events of the day, mostly events in the city of Kristiania. He himself definitely belonged to the opposition party - to the critics of the conservative national and municipal authorities. In one of his articles he criticized the lack of staircases from the roof of the recently constructed market hall down to the galleries where the butchers had their stands. Housewives ought not to try to jump down three or four meters. Consequently they had to make a detour and descend to the square below where they had to force their way through a crowd of farmers who were offering their products in the square in order to reach the galleries. It would not have cost much to build such stairs during the construction of the bazaars. To add them afterward would be very expensive. He found that few customers were able to advance to the butchers’ counters, and there were long faces among them. One could even hear “American wishes” being expressed. For just as the Americans would like to have wars or bad harvests in Europe in order to take over trade and commerce, these butchers wished for storms and sleet to chase away their competitors in the open air of the square below. {7}

Authorities in Kristiania, he wrote a little later, spent large sums on the erection of a monument in the center of the town, but neglected the upkeep of crowded streets in the outlying neighborhoods where poor people lived. A person who was hoping for an inheritance from a long-lived aunt or uncle could not gain it more quickly than by advising the old kinsman to walk in Helgesen Street on a dark night. If the relative should miraculously get by the hundreds of holes deep as the height of a man, the poisonous gas inhaled in passing the garbage dump would surely contribute to the shortening of life. Yet authorities and conservatives frowned when the people who lived in these parts of the city wanted to make use of their right to vote. {8}

1879 was an election year, and Herm. Wang also commented on the intense political debate of the year, which was especially violent in the capital, and ridiculed conservative press contributions. Very often articles in the newspaper Aftenposten were his target, perhaps because Aftenposten had numerous subscribers from the middle and lower social strata. Hervin was journalistically very active from the summer of 1879 onward. The heated political atmosphere apparently released his abilities, or perhaps he was stirred by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s speeches. He was obviously an ardent admirer of the great poet. In consideration of Hervin’s later views it is tempting to assume that Bjørnson’s radical political attachment as well as his religious development away from orthodoxy and dogma over to the Darwinian theory of evolution inspired the young petty officer who had known religious doubts at an early age.

Why did he use a pseudonym? The explanation is simple. His critical articles with their satire directed against national and municipal authorities would have made his position in the military ranks impossible, with consequences that would have been fatal to his economic situation. He did not even spare his military superiors, the officers of higher rank. In an article titled “Plain Words” he criticized a lieutenant colonel who had given vent to his displeasure with the petty officers by saying that he would dismiss all of them if he had the opportunity. Herm. Wang commented: “Whether this remark will serve to strengthen discipline or not, the colonel himself knows best. But so much is certain: If the petty officers are such miserable individuals that the outburst is justified, the colonel who himself has appointed them has not shown good judgment in choosing among the numerous applicants for vacant positions. Or else the service under him is a veritable school of moral deterioration. At the time - it is now some time ago - when he treated his subordinates considerately, he never had reason for dissatisfaction.” Fortunately, Herm. Wang continued, “there existed only one colonel in the Norwegian army who would not find it beneath his dignity to tell his subordinates that he wanted to make conditions ‘hot as Hell’ for them.” {9}

In the fall of 1879 Ole Simensen Hverven made a dramatic decision. He sent in an application to be relieved of his military obligations as a commissioned petty officer in order to emigrate to America. According to a newspaper note, he had written in his application to the authorities that he wanted to emigrate because he was a freethinker and a republican - like Bjørnson at the time. {10} At a formal meeting of the Norwegian cabinet on the 12th of December the permission was granted. In the tortuous language of the time he was told that he was relieved “with the condition that he is bound by his military obligations until his departure and that the permission to leave the country must be used before the end of March next year.” {11}

Ole went to America alone the first time, but he was back in Norway by the end of 1880 as a representative of the Cunard Line. He put notices in the newspapers offering his services to prospective emigrants and as a consequence was accused in an anonymous letter to the newspaper of recruiting emigrants. His wife Nicoline, with their three children, left Norway in February, 1881, on a prepaid ticket to Chicago. Hervin may have accompanied them or he may have gone back to America somewhat later as guide to a group of emigrants traveling with Cunard. The family soon moved to St. Paul, the city that became their permanent residence. Two brothers and a sister joined them there during the following years. {12}

By July, 1880, O. S. Hervin was already active in the Norwegian-American milieu. He took part then in a mass meeting of Norwegians in Minneapolis that passed a resolution to pledge support to the Norwegian political leader Johan Sverdrup and the liberal opposition in the so-called “veto fight” then under way, which was testing the limits of the royal veto. The resolution was sent to Sverdrup and to Dagbladet and Verdens Gang. Hervin then made a motion that it also be sent to the peasant leader Søren Jaabæk and one other representative in the Storting because they both had publicly declared that they were republicans, that is, opponents of monarchy. {13}

Hervin continued his journalistic activity without interruption, partly by sending articles back to Verdens Gang in Norway and partly by working for Skandinaven in Chicago. He did not take part in a big excursion organized in the summer of 1880 by the Northern Pacific Railroad for Scandinavian “editors, consuls, and journalists of all levels.” He did go with the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad through northwestern Minnesota, visiting Norwegian settlements and land offices which cooperated with the Cunard Line. In an article sent back to Verdens Gang he played on social dissatisfaction in Norway. No hats in the hands out here in the free West, no question about what newspaper you read when you are trying to get work, no contempt for the common man, no oppressor and no slave. As a postscript he added that if anybody wanted further information, his address was in care of the agent of the Cunard Line in Chicago. In an article to Skandinaven he told about one S. D. Peterson, who provided most of southwestern Minnesota with agricultural machinery, and who besides, as an agent for Cunard and other lines, sold a good many tickets every year to compatriots who wanted relatives and friends to emigrate. In every article he praised the fertility of the land, but admitted that the winters might be hard. {14}

Being in principle an adherent of the republican form of government, he obviously felt drawn to the Republican party in America. Late in 1880 he wrote to his Norwegian journal that he rejoiced in Garfield’s victory in the presidential elections. “It would have been a great loss to the cause of freedom if the Democrats with their ‘States rights’ views had succeeded in dividing this great union into small, insignificant states. A strong republic here means progress for republican thought all over the world.” {15} Despite these sympathies, the liberal Democrat Luth. Jæger made Hervin editor of his newspaper Budstikken in Minneapolis, in the late summer of 1881, while he himself left on a trip to Norway. This was surely a token of confidence in the young man so recently arrived from the old country. {16}

It would be tedious to follow in detail O. S. Hervin’s journalistic career during the 1880s and 1890s. It is doubtful that at any time he made enough money from journalism alone to support his fast-growing family. Together, he and his wife reared nine children, while a tenth died young. He kept his ties with the Cunard Line through its representative in the Twin Cities, A. E. Johnson Co., on Washington Avenue South, a strongly Scandinavian district. According to family tradition he made several trips to the Scandinavian countries and guided groups of emigrants to land for settlement in the Middle West, presumably land owned by the Johnson company. Sometimes he wrote in Smuler about his travels for the company and about the people he met in the various places he visited. He wrote with a humorous but mostly friendly irony, as when he mentioned prohibitionists who did not always refuse a glass of beer. But his economy was always strained and his appointment to a position at the Sons of Norway headquarters may have given him and his family a degree of economic security they had never experienced before. {17}

The first issue of Smuler, in the spring of 1901, opened with an article carrying the title “No Apology.” Here Hervin recorded that he had started to write “smuler” more or less regularly for Skandinaven about twelve years earlier, and that he had received many letters from readers, most of them very positive. There was, however, one letter that made him wonder. The letter writer said that Smuler was the driest, simplest, and emptiest twaddle he had ever read. He continued: “I know what I am talking about. When the newspaper arrives, the first thing I read is Smuler.” The effect of the letter and subsequent reflection was that Hervin decided to publish his commentaries as a separate periodical. He went straight to the printing office and ordered the vignette that was to become his trademark - the head of a buck with big curved horns. At the time he did not pursue the idea further because of other work and then because of bad times.

Now he evidently thought that it was time to put the old plan into effect and he sent out a circular inviting subscriptions. Many of those solicited reacted by giving him advice about how to edit the periodical. “I suppose that most of the scribbling idiots among my countrymen have shared with me the affluence of their wisdom. . . . Some of the ideas received in this way will be salted, hung up to dry, cured, and then brought to the market as my own.”

He then said that Smuler would have no definite program. “Let this be said to console those who have expressed fear that I shall be too radical to get entry into the houses of respectable citizens or too conservative to be able to see anything of value outside one single political party. I shall be radical enough to agree with the Synod pastor in many matters when I believe that he is right and I shall be that much of a conservative that once in a while I shall maintain that Lazarus [the poor man] does not have a monopoly on being right. I shall take things as they come and speak freely to the right and to the left. Politics I shall handle with great care. I am forced to this, if for no other reason, because of the fact that I am myself a Republican and my fellow staff member, Jeremias Pedersen, is a Populist. We cannot start by disturbing the peace in our own kitchen. Otherwise we won’t have time to disturb other people’s.” {18}

This was the kind of humor of which he was to show many examples in the issues of Smuler that appeared during the following years.

In another article in that first issue he took up a matter that in different forms was to attract his attention for many years, namely the unfriendly relation between the church and the lodges. He found no rational cause for the antagonism, since the latter dealt with matters of this world, mainly through insurance of various kinds, whereas the task of the church was to convert sinners and save souls for a coming life. “The struggle is as a rule more bitter on both sides in a war that has begun without any reason worth mentioning, and that continues with just as good reason.”

To illustrate with a touch of comedy that he was an expert in the field, he made up a nonsense list of all the associations, lodges, and other institutions he belonged to: “I shall begin by confessing that I am a Freemason, an Odd Fellow, a Druid . . . and a member of the Independent Scandinavian Workers’ Association (I.S.W.A.) and that in addition I have been a member of some other secret organizations.” As a “traveling agent” he was, although under another name, a member of a Lutheran congregation. “In a similar way I am also Methodist, Unitarian, Freethinker, Catholic, Adventist, Theosophist, Spiritualist, and a few other things in addition. I once thought of becoming a Jew, but there were some ceremonies of admission that I did not care for, and furthermore I am too fond of fried pork and blood sausages and pickled pig’s feet.” {19}

In a more serious vein he criticized the church for being too rigid in not permitting lodge members or Freemasons to be godfathers. On the other hand he asked the members of lodges to reflect on the fact that in America the various churches were voluntary associations. They had the same right to deal with their own affairs as the lodges. He found that in this respect the church was in general more liberal than the lodges. “The church opens its broad portals liberally and hospitably to wretched individuals, to the publican and the sinner, to the lame, blind, and crippled - people for whom the narrow and secret doors of the lodges are closed. The church welcomes the Negro, the Indian, and the Chinese, whereas an Odd Fellows association debates with statesmanlike solemnity the question of admitting a person with one-sixteenth Negro blood in his veins - when he is honest enough to tell them about it.” The Freemasons are just the same.

He pointed out that lodge members should be aware of the difference between the State Church of Norway that every one automatically grew into and the separation of Church and State in America that changed the churches into private institutions.

Today it is not easy to grasp the antagonism that existed between the lodges of the Sons of Norway and the Norwegian churches in America around the turn of the century. The pastors evidently felt that the lodges of the Sons of Norway invaded the territory of the church with their use of rituals and ceremonies. Some of the pastors also disliked the practice of insurance against the various misfortunes of life. They believed that human beings should trust in God and accept what His will decided for them. The Sons of Norway people were not irreligious, but many of them were reformists. They wanted to improve this world through various popular movements. {20} Therefore when someone had written that it brings joy to the Lord to take a pious soul up to Heaven - in this case a married man - Hervin, the lodge member, asked: What about the widow who was left with five children? Should she be happy about it? And he wondered: When would the theologians stop representing the Lord as a butcher, a hangman who is gratified when his children suffer and die? To Hervin death was a calamity and he favored insurance to reduce some of its most disastrous consequences, whereas many of the church people at the time felt that insurance was a challenge to the almighty God. {21}

When he wrote in a more serious vein, he showed himself to be a convinced Darwinian evolutionist. Evolution to him was synonymous to progress, although he recognized that the road was uneven and sometimes rough. Again he aimed at the pastors. They were not called to quarrel about interpretations of dogma. “To guide and to protect us, that is what you are called to do.” The upward path of progress is steep and rough, sometimes darkish too. “We are in need of enlightenment. Here you could help and give compensation for the ‘board’ we pay you. Until the sun of real freedom rises and chases away the darkness of old prejudices, most of us must toil and struggle by ourselves in the twilight.” {22}

Almost every issue of Smuler had an attack, sometimes several, on the church and the pastors - their dogmatism, their differing interpretations of the Bible - attacks that were not always of the most refined sort. Derision, ridicule, and irony were his weapons. He seems to have had little sympathy for the low-church, evangelistic faction among the Norwegian churches in America. In his introductory article he had presented himself as a secret member of the Synod under a false name, and some years later he admitted that the Synod was the church toward which he felt most drawn. {23}

However, when he started his monthly this attraction was totally overshadowed by his antipathy toward one of the most prominent members of the Synod, Professor Rasmus B. Anderson, who had recently returned to the church and become the editor of the newspaper Amerika in Madison, Wisconsin. When Anderson began his long campaign against modern Norwegian literature, denouncing it as depraved and blasphemous, Hervin rose up in righteous anger and as early as 1899 in Nordvesten made a frontal attack on the famous RBA. It was not to be the last, as the great Anderson not only carried on his war for many years against authors like Alexander Kielland and Arne Garborg, but even included Henrik Ibsen and his old friend Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in his list of “immoral” Norwegian writers.

Hervin’s indignation at the attack on what to him were the most valuable expressions of Norwegian culture may have been an important factor in his decision to start his own periodical. At any rate, from the founding of the monthly Smuler in 1901 Anderson was the chief target of Hervin’s ridicule and sarcasm. He used various techniques. For example, he never used the title “Professor” R. B. Anderson but named him “Pastor Anderson” or “Pastor Kvelve” (the name of the ancestral farm in Norway), or even “Bishop Kvelve,” the “bishop in Madison” - or simply Rasmus. He also created a new name for Anderson’s views as they appeared in Amerika. They were “kvelverier” - ”Kvelveries,” that is, absurdities, in Hervin’s opinion.

It is safe to say that Anderson went overboard in his criticism of Norwegian literature, and few were able to follow him to the end. Hervin may not have been the most important among Anderson’s adversaries, but he was one who counted, and Anderson did not spare him. Hervin got his share of insults from Anderson’s rich fund of abusive language; for example, “Bishop Kvelve” called Hervin “herr vin” (“Mr. Wine”) - a reminder that the St. Paul editor had little sympathy with the prohibition movement. {24}

When the Synod pastor H. G. Stub made a speech in St. Paul on Bjørnson’s seventy-fifth birthday, in December, 1907, Hervin wondered why this event had not aroused a new howl from the zealous “Pastor Kvelve” just to keep the comedy going. The greatest honor Bjørnson received on his birthday, Hervin wrote, was that he did not get a greeting from the reigning Swedish Bernadotte or from “Pastor Kvelve.” {25}

Hervin continued his fight against RBA and the “kvelveries” throughout the existence of Smuler. He ridiculed Anderson’s condemnation of Bjørnson’s novel Mary (1906). He did so by publishing a rather lugubrious story of minimal literary value about Oline Rotterud (rotte = rat) and her male acquaintances. He also took part in an angry debate about Anderson’s advertising principles and his practice of these principles - “cleansing” the texts of the advertisements without removing them from the newspaper. Hervin changed the name of the most debated one - the patent medicine Kuriko - to Fjuskiko (Cheatiko). Analyses had proved that Kuriko contained fourteen percent alcohol along with some laxatives. In 1908 he wrote a satiric tale about Kuriko: On Saturday evening an old woman takes a spoonful of this wonderful fluid that “rejuvenates the old and gives strength to the young.” It will have a beneficial effect before breakfast the next morning. Then she gets a dose of the “pure doctrine” at 10 o’clock on Sunday morning, with perhaps one more in the evening, and hopes it will last through the coming week until the rush for the dollar gets the upper hand once more and the process begins all over again. The church’s teaching is a kind of patent medicine. Like Kuriko it contains “spirits”- Kuriko fourteen percent wine spirits, the pure doctrine ninety-seven percent “pope spirits.”

Yet he became somewhat milder over the years. In 1910 he admitted that Kvelve himself was a pleasant and lovable person. But he still maintained his aversion to the “kvelveries,” because to him they represented the principle of hypocrisy. {26}

Another of Hervin’s targets was the prohibitionists, especially the best writer among them, Waldemar Ager - “Brother” Ager. Time and again Hervin praised Ager as the editor of Reform, but felt that he saw only one issue. He quoted a statement by Ager: “If you put a silver dollar close up to your eyes, the entire world with all its misery is hidden from you.” According to Ager the metaphor explained the continued success of the saloon traffic. “Yes,” answered Hervin, “but then it also explains the existence of prohibitionism. Without the saloon, no Reform next week, and that would indeed be a pity. Consequently something good derives even from the saloon.” He continued in the same vein: “Personally I dislike both the saloons and the prohibitionists. I acknowledge, however, that the Creator, who has let the one grow out of the other, has a better understanding of what serves mankind. I wish there were no saloons, but I am willing to wait for the fulfillment of that wish as long as Ager publishes Reform.”

At this point he became almost philosophical. He believed, he wrote, in a supreme power - one might call it God, fate, or evolution. Evolution was his creed. In the evolutionary process, everything would contribute its share to the progress and happiness of mankind. He wrote: “A pile of manure stinks in the beginning. But sunshine and air transform the manure, and soon we see the grass grow and sniff the fragrance of flowers as they cheerfully sway in the wind.” {27}

At another time he seemed to doubt his optimistic picture of the role of the saloon. What would the prohibitionists do, he asked, if and when they attained their goal? He felt sure that a fight against tobacco would come next. What else could all the speakers and agitators do? Then in due course a campaign against cards and kisses would begin, soon followed by speeches against all other things that mankind so far has used to make existence tolerable. “Then when all of us have become compulsory Sunday angels, we will easily be able to afford a rope to hang ourselves. Life won’t be worth a shilling anyhow.” The quotation is a good example of his bittersweet humor and irony. Another example: Minneapolis Tidende had expressed concern about divorced couples who despite their divorce continued to live together and had suggested two possibilities: They could be charged with illegal cohabitation, or they might be persuaded to remarry. Why not just leave them alone, Hervin asked. {28}

He was a skeptical person not only with regard to religion but also in more practical matters among his countrymen in America. For instance he predicted no bright future for Det norske Selskab (The Norwegian Society). He had his doubts from the very beginning. In 1901, when plans were discussed, he told his readers that it would be impossible to find “a common hat” that would suit all Norwegian heads. He admitted that they had their Norwegianness in common. “In all my ungodliness I am at least as Norwegian as any Synod pastor. We can meet on level ground to talk about high mountains, blue lakes, rakefisk, and cloudberries without stepping on each other’s religious corns. If we are careful, we may even remain friends as long as we stay inside the four walls of the society. But, when the meeting is over, we will go back to our various businesses, each to his own stabbur [storehouse], and we shall have the same yawning abyss between us, over which no bridge can be built.” He foresaw future conflicts in the composition of the board of the society. Should a Mason be president and a man from the Church vice-president? Was it possible to imagine a saloonkeeper and a temperance man together on the committee for organizing a banquet? Could the målmann (supporter of “New Norwegian”) Dr. Leland write a program together with Editor Lange from Bergen? “Is it possible that a sulphurous pastor could read a non-sectarian Lord’s Prayer” together with Herm. Wang who could be “a Mason, a journalist, an Odd Fellow . . .” and he goes on to repeat the comic list from the first issue of Smuler. “Oh no, we shall keep our Norwegianness, but in small groups, each in our own duck pond . . . Well, I do not say that a Norwegian Society is impossible, only that we, the eventual members, are impossible.” {29}

One might think that Hervin’s skepticism at this early stage was due to his suspicion that the archenemy Rasmus B. Anderson would be one of the leading figures in the coming society. But even when Anderson refused to join, Hervin remained dubious. “Even if the changeling grows a bit, he still resembles his illegitimate father, Rasmus Kvelve. The child smells Kvelve although the bishop has rejected him.” {30}

He was negative also in response to the first issue of Symra, the periodical that Johannes B. Wist edited from 1906, with one surprising exception. He was enthusiastic about Pastor U. V. Koren’s account of his experiences as a pioneer pastor. That account reminded Hervin “of the most beautiful chapters in the Acts of the Apostles.” “There is elevation and inspiration in this contribution.” {31} He had a strong dislike of nynorsk, the “New Norwegian” that was based on rural dialects in Norway and that some authors tried to introduce among Norwegians in America. He declared himself satisfied as long as he had the language of Holberg and Ibsen. He pretended that he did not understand the Telemark dialect of Torkel Oftelie in Telesoga, and he was delighted when he found an attack on New Norwegian neatly formulated by Knut Hamsun. Why shouldn’t we write the old Dano-Norwegian as we have always done, he concluded. But fighting and quarreling - that seemed to him to be the national heritage. {32}

Posing as the defender of a pure Norwegian language he sometimes made fun of authors or journalists who wittingly or unwittingly used American loanwords in Norwegianized forms, with a different meaning in the two languages: for example, “Han reiste prisen,” that is, he raised the price, whereas “reise” in Norwegian means “travel, go away.” In this as in many other small matters he liked to tease and have fun, to play with words and expressions. He quoted a short notice from a newspaper about an old woman who had died “without doctor’s help,” and commented: “When I think of it, both people and livestock used to die that way in the old days, before doctors and vets were invented. So it is possible. It can be done.” When Hervin read about thirty cases of smallpox in Utah of which one died, he reasoned: when the “case” died, the patient ought to be alive. {33}

Hervin rarely, if ever, commented on the discussions in the Kvartalskrift (Quarterly) of the Norske Selskab about the importance of maintaining Norwegian ways and Norwegian language in America. Being a part of the largest wave of Norwegian emigration in the heyday of Norwegian nationalism, he seems to have taken it for granted that a certain degree of Norwegian culture would be preserved. Probably he was one of those who thought bilingualism possible and valuable. He was interested in the various differences and even antagonisms inside the Norwegian-American community with regard to culture, religion, and politics, and he wanted to bring these differences up into the light, lay them bare, not cover them up. Although he did not say so explicitly, he seems to have seen himself both as a carrier of what he deemed valuable in Norwegian culture and a bridge builder into the broader American community. His defense of the purity of the written Norwegian language did not prevent him from letting the pseudonymous “Lars Lægmand” blame the pastors for slinging “the European slime” over everything American and hindering Norwegians from becoming acquainted with American conditions. He argued that Anglo-American literature was the greatest in the world, not only in quantity but also in quality. It had Shakespeare, Bacon, Darwin, Spencer, Emerson, Poe, and a multitude of others. Worst of all, the pastors kept the children from learning English properly. {34}

Once in a while Hervin commented on European and especially Scandinavian affairs. He was skeptical, but perhaps less anti-British than many Americans during the Boer War. At least, as he told his readers, he had little respect for the “political heroes” in and out of Congress who wanted to help the Boers, but showed no sympathy for Finland, a country that, tied hand and foot, was being devoured inch by inch by the Russian spider - exactly the same animal that was behind the so-called fight for freedom of the Boers. His perspective is of some interest even now. To him the main question was whether the Muscovites or the Anglo-Saxons should govern the world. “The Russians devour Finland, Manchuria, and Poland and gag their victims so that their cries cannot be heard. England fights the Boers in full electric light. The whole world can debate every movement. That is the difference.” Moreover, he thought that England was fighting to make the Boers peaceful citizens with the obligation to respect the rights of others, while Russia wanted to make the Finns into slaves. The Boer War had started because the Boers did not give full freedom to all citizens. His final statement brought the issue back to America: “We had exactly the same kind of war in this country when the slaveholding Southern states wanted to disrupt the Union.”

To Hervin Russia was the Big Bad Wolf in Europe, and he criticized England and Sweden for not seeing this. The Swedes armed instead to fight against Norway. {35}

He remained a Norwegian nationalist. In 1894 he wrote a poem in homage to the pure Norwegian flag (without the union mark in the upper corner), and he defended the Norwegian-born consul for Norway and Sweden in New York who had “forgotten” to show up at a dinner in honor of a visiting Swedish bishop - a dinner where the consul was supposed to propose the toast to King Oscar. {36}

The dissolution of the union between Sweden and Norway in 1905 delighted him. “One of the brightest chapters is just now being added to our saga of freedom,” he exclaimed in his June, 1905, issue. In prose and poem he commented on the various events of the year. The old republican even applauded the Norwegian adoption of monarchy and the election of a new king - for practical reasons. He consoled himself with the thought that the Norwegian ship of state would plow republican waters even if it was adorned with a gilded figurehead. He added that the best excuse for electing a new king when they had got rid of the old one was that their neighbors in Sweden and Denmark had kings. Norwegian Americans should not blame the people at home when they found that they had to make a deal. But there was no reason to be jubilant about it, either. One had to accept the situation with calm resignation. {37} However, when the king of Norway, as a friendly gesture, honored some prominent Norwegian-American men with the royal order of St. Olav, he again let satire have a free run. Why not establish a popular industry among Norwegians in America by cutting wooden St. Olav crosses, he suggested. Why not make different models for the various professions? {38}

What were Hervin’s views regarding American politics? In Norway he had been deeply moved by liberal, democratic, and even republican ideas. Coming to America in 1880, he would naturally applaud the election of Garfield. Like many Norwegians he continued to support the Republican party. Although he made his application for American citizenship as early as 1880, he did not become an American citizen until 1897. {39} He was never touched by populism, and he disliked William Jennings Bryan. Among Republican voters he may be characterized as an urban liberal or progressive. He was obviously an admirer of Theodore Roosevelt, although he seems to have had his doubts about imperialism. Yes, the Constitution follows the flag, he wrote ironically, but it does not always catch up. The flag goes first, and then the Constitution must try to crawl after it to the place where the flag, so to speak, has struck roots in new ground. During the coal strike of 1902 and the ensuing shortage of coal he considered himself one of the common soldiers in the battle against the coal trust. He used no coal during that winter; instead he burnt birch wood and exchange newspapers and by so doing kept his house warm. Even in this connection he could not resist a dig at Rasmus B. Anderson: “Incidentally, I have noticed that Amerika burns with a blue flame.” On other occasions he praised the president for having supported the Mormon senator from Utah, Reed Smoot, who was of Norwegian-Swedish descent, when the latter had to fight for his place in the Senate, and for having himself sat down beside a Negro at a banquet. {40} While he evidently remained an admirer of Roosevelt, he expressed his admiration in a humorous vein. In 1910, when Teddy was hunting lions in Africa, Hervin wrote: “A big lion with teeth torn to pieces has been observed in Africa. It tried to bite Roosevelt. It did not know him.” {41}

In the later years of Smuler’s existence Hervin was to a large extent engaged in a debate on socialism, with Emil Mengshoel, editor of Gaa Paa, the socialist journal published in Minneapolis, as his chief antagonist. Mengshoel and his wife Helle were real Socialists, even Marxists. Mengshoel, whose social background in Norway was not unlike Hervin’s, but who was more than ten years younger, had first been exposed to socialistic impulses when he attended the military school in Kristiania; Helle had pleaded the case of women workers during a strike in the capital in 1889. {42} Laurits Stavnheim - otherwise a good friend and a lodge brother - was another defender of socialism. Hervin agreed that the Socialists ably elucidated the evils of society as it existed, but he objected to the rigidity of their thought. He felt that they were unable to explain in detail how their system would work, and he feared that it would bring loss of freedom - a value that was of supreme importance to him.

Hervin now and then reprinted attacks on himself from other newspapers, sometimes proving himself very generous in this respect. In 1906 he printed in extenso an article by Christian Bødtker, the editor of Revyen, Chicago, under the heading “A Gentleman Socialist." {43} Hervin characterized Bødtker as a man who wanted to discuss matters in an honest and decent way, and who did not resemble other socialists except in his tendency to be boringly long-winded. In his own reflections on the article, Hervin first said that it had been a pleasure to print it in full because it was fair and well written. Furthermore, he disagreed only slightly with the content and felt that “Brother” Bødtker was a socialist of another kind than Mengshoel and Stavnheim. Bødtker seemed to Hervin to be an evolutionist like himself. Hervin declared that he would gladly vote for public ownership of railroads and trusts at the first opportunity, but he did not think that public ownership was equivalent to socialism. Socialism was a creed, and the Socialists were a sect in which the leaders, like the pastors, ordered the people how to vote. In the list of people able to give orders to voters he now also included the factory owner and the saloonkeeper. As a path to improvement, Hervin continued to believe in enlightenment and liberation from authority.

On another occasion he defended women’s rights. A Socialist had written that in a socialist society the liberation of women would follow of itself. Hervin replied: “On the contrary. I maintain that the liberation of women will make socialism superfluous. Our society will be able to improve, to repair itself, as soon as women are really put on an even footing with men. Men do not have the moral right to introduce socialism or any other form of government before women are regarded as equals and take part in the decision.”

He may even be regarded as an early ecologist. Mankind should remember that ants and butterflies were also part of God’s creation. He voiced his displeasure with gold digging because it destroyed nature to get possession of a metal that in itself had no value. His granddaughter recalled that Hervin “would never have a Christmas tree in the house, because he didn’t believe in cutting down the trees.” Ecologist or conservationist, in this respect too he was in agreement with Theodore Roosevelt. {44}

It should perhaps be added that although the tone was sharp between Hervin and Mengshoel, the distance between them was not great. They were both self-taught intellectual left-wingers. They both wanted to discuss and even provoke. But there was a difference. Mengshoel had a vision of a Utopia, a conviction, and even, as Hervin maintained, a creed. Hervin wanted different points of view to be clarified through discussion and debate. He was of a much more skeptical nature than Mengshoel. He could write that nobody rejoiced in the Socialist victory in Milwaukee in 1910 more than he did, but his main reason for feeling good was that the Democrats were beaten in the election. {45}

Individual freedom and personal responsibility were values that Hervin emphasized both in his campaign against the prohibitionists and in his debates with Mengshoel.

Who were the subscribers to Smuler and how many were there? It seems reasonable to assume that most of them lived in the Twin Cities or elsewhere in the Middle West. He sent his journal to a great many newspapers and periodicals and evidently received exchange copies containing articles that gave him material for reflection and eventual satirical or approving comment. Occasional copies, now kept in the University Library in Oslo, identify some of the readers. Professor Laur. Larsen at Luther College and some of his colleagues were subscribers, and one copy carries the name of Bishop Wexelsen of Oslo. The complete and elegantly bound four-volume copy of Smuler in the library of NAHA at St. Olaf College was donated by the widow of the poet Julius Baumann.

It is impossible to form any idea of circulation figures. In 1903, Hervin noted with pleasure that the one dollar subscription money was flowing in, with the consequence that the Smulemand could now afford to buy a new overcoat to replace his seven-year-old one. {46} In later years complaints and pleas for subscription money appeared with increasing frequency, and in 1912 he finally gave up. After that date only a few issues came out at irregular intervals.

Johannes B. Wist wrote about Smuler that it was primarily the editor’s own “crumbs” that gave “color and character” to the periodical, although there were other contributors. Many odd pseudonyms appear, like “Jens Jernspett” (iron rod), “Lars Lægmand” (layman), “Jakob Jonsok” (Midsummer Night) and “Reverend Per Pram” from the Norwegian settlement “Sutterud” down in Arkansas and his antagonist the teacher “Ræverud”. There was also “Julius Apostata,” the defender of both Voltaire and Darwin in lengthy debates with “Peter Olsen,” who interpreted the Bible. The signature “MOT” and perhaps Julius Apostata are identifiable as the physician and poet Knut Martin Olsen Teigen, who lived in the Twin Cities in the first decade of the century and whose poem Amnor got enthusiastic praise from Hervin. {47}

The editor of Smuler had a genuine journalistic talent. He wrote a clear and fluent nineteenth-century Dano-Norwegian. Although he can not be called a great poet, he shows an unusual sense of rhythm and rhyme in the poems he printed in Smuler and afterward published under the title Ved Hovedkirken (At the Main Church). His taste for literature made him include people like the lyric poet Julius Baumann and the novelist Simon Johnson among his favorites. He was well-read and knowledgeable in many fields. He was reflective and independent. He told himself he did not have to write according to a certain formula like so many other journalists. In his sense of humor he had few equals among Norwegian-American writers of the time. He was not a champion of “Norsedom” in the debate about the maintenance of Norwegian culture in America, though he consistently defended what he perceived as the Norwegian heritage in literature, religion, and politics, and tried to make his views known among his countrymen, mostly through humor and satire. At the same time, he was open-minded in relation to the larger American community. In many ways he may be seen as an assimilationist.

Within the Norwegian-American community he was very much a dissident. He found Decorah-Posten toothless, Skandinaven much too conservative, and Rasmus B. Anderson’s Amerika stupid and reactionary. His best friends among journalistic colleagues were people like K. M. O. Teigen, Anton B. Lange, active in Scandia in Duluth and later Chicago, Christian Brandt, who worked for many different newspapers, and Christian Bødtker from Revyen in Chicago. Men with whom he disagreed, but whom he respected and liked to debate with included Waldemar Ager, Laurits Stavnheim, Emil Mengshoel, and possibly H. A. Foss of Normanden.

O. S. Hervin is representative in many ways. For one thing he is a spokesman for eastern Norway in his lack of enthusiasm for causes like temperance and language reform. Further he is representative of socially mobile Norwegian groups, groups that were fired by social dissatisfaction and ambition. He was one of those who sought the remedy in education, a country boy with an intellectual bent. Such people were a minority within their group, but they did exert considerable influence in Norway, and in America as well, as teachers, journalists, publishers, and literary personages. Few of them, at least the literary ones, climbed very high on the social ladder. O. S. Hervin certainly did not. In the sociologist’s categorization he would be a white-collar worker, but only from the lower middle class. His granddaughter described their house as “two-story but rather small and poor. Dad told me that grandfather would not take any advertising for his Smuler, being proud and idealistic, and even with the other things he did, the family was always poor. Dad said he had to go to work when he was twelve years old in order to get shoes. He was the seventh often children, and there was never enough money to go around.”

The best known of these people lived in small towns - like Rølvaag, Wist, and Ager. But they were also found in the cities. In addition to those already mentioned they included men like Luth. Jaeger and Nicolay Grevstad. Many lawyers and medical doctors belonged to the same group. Together they formed a liberal and intellectual enclave to which historians have paid little attention. It may be worth noticing, however, as part of a more urbanized culture in Norwegian and Scandinavian America, with traditions back to 1848 - to the labor leader Marcus Thrane and the Chicago liberal Gerhard S. C. H. Paoli - and with a heritage down to our own times. If so, it would involve a study not only of the press but also of the various professions, the medical, the legal, and the scholarly. While it is true that the majority of Americans of Norwegian descent have been conservative in many respects, it is also true that in every period there has existed a liberal strand. This part of the picture has been neglected and the neglect has had harmful consequences for the contact with corresponding groups in the mother country. This trend could perhaps be reversed by the rediscovery of a tradition that is more than a century old.

Notes

<1> Johannes B. Wist, “Pressen efter Borgerkrigen,” in Norsk-amerikanernes festskrift 1914 (Decorah, Iowa, 1914), 100. Wist may have exaggerated the effect of these articles. An unsigned article about life on a drill ground appeared in Verdens Gang for July 14, 1875. The article, obviously written by a petty officer, shows sympathy for the common soldiers, most of them country boys. It is less aggressive than later articles signed Herm. Wang, but it may have been written by him. It has not been possible to find the pseudonym Herm. Wang before 1879. His journalistic activity in Norway seems to have been limited to 1879-1881.

<2> Census of 1865, Municipality of Stange, farm number 31, Hverven, in the National Archives, Oslo. The medieval form of the name of the farm is Hervin.

<3> The parish record from Ottestad Church in Stange states that Ole Simensen was confirmed September 22, 1867. All such records are in the National Archives, Oslo.

<4> “Et Konfirmationsminde,” in Smuler, 22 (February, 1903), 4-10. A versified account of the event is found on the pages just preceding. “Browneyes” is also treated in a poem titled “Verduvia,” in Smuler, 31 (November, 1903), 1. Hervin’s poems have been collected under the title Ved Hovedkirken (At the Main Church).

<5> The military rolls of Kristiania Batallion, 1874-1879, in the National Archives, Oslo. Ole Simensen Hverven has the number 163.

<6> This information is from the 1875 census for Kristiania, in the National Archives, Oslo. A computerized edition of this census is available at the Institute of History, University of Oslo.

<7> Verdens Gang, July 17, 1879. The articles from the pen of Herm. Wang are listed in J. B. Halvorsen, Norsk forfatter-lexicon. The list is relatively complete for the articles in Verdens Gang in 1879-1881, but less complete for articles in Norwegian-American newspapers. For a more complete list of the latter see the catalogue of Norwegian-American authors prepared in manuscript by Thor M. Andersen in the Oslo University Library’s Norwegian-American Collection.

<8> Verdens Gang, July 31, 1879.

<9> Verdens Gang, September 16, 1879.

<10> Bergens Aftenblad, April 7, 1881, and Halvorsen, Norsk forfatter-lexicon. O. S. Hverven’s application to the Army Department could not be found in the National Archives. The Protocol of the Norwegian Cabinet gives no indication of motives. The fact that Herm. Wang is mentioned in Halvorsen suggests that he was a person of some notoriety at the time.

<11> Protocol of the Norwegian Cabinet in Kristiania, December 12, 1879, in the National Archives, Oslo.

<12> Emigration protocols in the State Archives, Oslo.

<13> Verdens Gang, August 10, 1880.

<14> Verdens Gang, August 26, 1880, and Skandinaven, August 31, 1880.

<15> Verdens Gang, December 2, 1880.

<16> Wist, “Pressen efter Borgerkrigen,” 66.

<17> Obituaries from various newspapers and periodicals in the Norwegian-American Historical Association archives, Northfield, Minnesota. Karen Hervin, Portland, Oregon, a great-granddaughter of O. S. Hervin, is the source of the family tradition.

<18> Smuler, 1 (1901), 1-4.

<19> Smuler, 1 (1901), 12-16.

<20> Odd S. Lovoll, The Promise of America (Minneapolis, 1984), 187-189.

<21> Smuler, 3 (July, 1901), 10-13, and 7 (November, 1901), 24-25.

<22> Lars Lægmand, “Sermoner til vor Geistlighed. Den tiende Preika,” in Smuler, 23 (March, 1903), 11-29.

<23> Smuler, 1 (1901), 1.

<24> Nordvesten, June 6, 1899. R. B. Anderson’s fight against modern Norwegian literature is superbly treated by Lloyd Hustvedt, Rasmus Bjørn Anderson: Pioneer Scholar (Northfield, Minnesota, 1966), 249-283. There was a bit of competition between Hervin and A. B. Lange of Scandia, Chicago, about who had been the first to take up the fight against RBA. See Smuler, 31 (November, 1903), 29.

<25> Smuler, 21 (January, 1903), 21, 29. See also 19 (November, 1902), 27.

<26> About Mary, see Smuler, 68 (December, 1906), 4-5. RBA had called it “unchaste from cover to cover.” The story of Oline Rotterud is in Smuler in 1906. On Anderson’s fight for the removal of advertisements for patent medicines see Hustvedt, Rasmus Bjørn Anderson, 274-283, and Smuler, 83 (March, 1908), 15-19. On hypocrisy, see 82 (February, 1908), 30-31, and 102 (July, 1910), 4.

<27> Smuler, 31 (November, 1903), 16-18.

<28> Smuler, 83 (March, 1908), 25.

<29> Smuler, 7 (November, 1901), 5-8.

<30> Smuler, 28 (August, 1903), 22. Hervin was replying to Laurits Stavnheim, who had written that RBA had strengthened the Norwegian Society by withdrawing from it.

<31> Smuler, 58 (January, 1906), 18.

<32> On Ibsen and Holberg, Smuler, 78 (October, 1907), 1; on Telesoga, 100 (April, 1910), 14; on Hamsun, 104 (September, 1910), 3; on the national heritage, 27 (July, 1903), 8.

<33> Smuler, 21 (January, 1903), 31.

<34> Smuler, 23 (March, 1903), 16-17.

<35> Smuler, 12 (April, 1902), 21, and 28 (August, 1903), 21.

<36> On Consul Ravn in New York, see Smuler, 7 (November, 1902), 11-14. The poem “l7de Maj Flaget” was reprinted in Bergens Tidende, 169 (1894), from Norden (Chicago), May 12, 1894. It was also included in Ludvig Lima, Norsk-amerikanske digte (Minneapolis, 1903), 149-151.

<37> Smuler, 50 (June, 1905), 19-22, 27-28, and 58 (January, 1906), 7.

<38> Smuler, 82 (February, 1908), 21-29.

<39> Information from Karen Hervin.

<40> On imperialism, see Smuler, 3 (July, 1901), 29; on banquet with Negro, 8 (December, 1901), 28-29; on lack of coal, 22 (February, 1903); on support of Senator Smoot, 78 (November, 1907), 29.

<41> Smuler, 100 (April, 1910), 20.

<42> Records are in the Archives of the Norwegian Labor Movement, Oslo.

<43> Smuler, 57 (January, 1906), 18-25. Notes and articles on socialism appear in almost every issue of Smuler, together with a lengthy discussion between a rationalist and a Bible-reading fundamentalist. On socialism see for instance 78 (October, 1907), 7-9, and 82 (February, 1908), 16-17.

<44> On women’s rights, see Smuler, 60 (April, 1906), 9; on ecology, 52 (August, 1905), 8; on gold digging, 66 (October, 1906), 2; on Christmas tree, letter from granddaughter of O. S. Hervin to her niece, Karen Hervin.

<45> Smuler, 102 (July, 1910), 5.

<46> Smuler, 21 (January, 1903), 30. In “Salt for the Buck,” in 101 (April, 1910), 26, he complained about his bad mood around Christmas time because he had had no money for a “Christmas dram.” When Stavnheim’s Vor Tid had to close in 1910, Hervin got the subscription list. Apparently it was of little help.

<47> Professor Orm Øverland, University of Bergen, suggested that MOT, who began his contributions in the autumn of 1903, was the pseudonym of Knut Martin Olsen Teigen. In fact Hervin says so himself in Smuler, 54 (October, 1905), 31. Hervin here praises MOT for his contribution to Smuler with aphorisms called “Hickory-Nodder” (Hickory-Nuts). He also hopes for new contributions from Teigen in the future. Professor Øverland also came forward with the idea about “Julius Apostata.” Hervin himself probably wrote the letters from the “Sutterud settlement down in Arkansas”; he may also be the author of the poems in the later years of Smuler signed “Busterud’n.” Hervin said in Smuler, 11 (March, 1902), 2, that up to that time he had written all of the “smuler” himself. From then on he was willing to receive contributions provided they were written “paa smulevis,” in the spirit of Smuler. Wist, in “Pressen efter Borgerkrigen,” 86-88, also mentions that other “more or less sharp pens” contributed to the periodical, but maintains that Hervin gave it its distinctive character. Hervin praised Amnor in a poem in Smuler, 7 (November, 1901), 1-2, and again in a poem for Teigen’s Vesterlandske digte, 53 (September, 1905), 1-4. The next issue, 55 (November, 1905), 9-12, carried a review by Julius Baumann.

<<   Previous Page   |   Next Page   >>


 
To the Home Page