by Forrest Brown (Volume 33: Page 341)
Many accessions to the Archives are additions to existing
collections. Two collections which continue to grow rapidly
are Congregations and Family Histories and Genealogies. A
number of anniversary publications were added to the first
collection, which now fills thirty-eight boxes. A wealth of
materials about Chicago area churches, Lutheran and non-Lutheran,
was assembled and contributed by Bert Benson. The Family Histories
collection now fills thirty-six boxes and dozens of clothbound
family histories have also been added to the library collection.
Notable recent family histories were published by NAHA members
Sanford K. Fosholt, Ann Urness Gesme, and Arlene J. Pettersen,
all of whom have published earlier books on other family lines.
Many family histories include much general community history.
Merle Gregerson’s "Norsk Turkey River Settlement, 1852—1982"
treats a group of linked families in that community of northeast
Iowa. Dalton C. Bergan’s histories of the Bergan and Hugos-Hinoien
families provide details on the development of several Minnesota,
northwestern North Dakota, and Canadian communities. Family
photographs in many of these family histories provide a rich
visual documentation of immigrant life.
Nearly 125 new collections have been added to the Archives
since the last report, bringing the total number of collections
to more than 1,500. Collections vary greatly in size, from
a single item to the Rølvaag papers filling fifty manuscript
boxes. Four of the recently added collections (Erickson, Farseth,
and Fletre) fill four boxes each. Most materials are manuscript
or typescript, but many are photocopies of materials in private
hands or other collections. Many collections include pamphlets,
articles from periodicals, and newspaper clippings. Since
it is impossible to describe all the new collections, the
following notes should be considered as representative examples.
Preparation of the Chicago history by Odd Lovoll brought
to the Archives many collections. Helen Svensson Fletre (1909—1987)
was a prominent member of the Chicago Norwegian colony from
1954 when she and her husband Lars Fletre settled there. She
was active in many Norwegian groups and activities and wrote
and translated extensively for the newspaper Vinland. Her
papers therefore touch many aspects of the life of the colony
and complement the large collection of her husband’s papers
(eleven boxes) already in the Archives. The papers of Laurel
Neidig, editor of Vinland 1977—1982, cover a similar
range of activities.
The First Vice President of the Association, Rolf Erickson,
has contributed papers which document his wide-ranging scholarly
interests and involvement in Scandinavian-American activities,
including studies of Norwegian-American artistic and musical
life, family history, and library collections. The papers
of Harriet Nordhagen, a native of Drammen who settled in Chicago
in the mid1920s, and John Kallestad, a master mariner who
came from Kristiansand in 1921, reflect life in the Norwegian
colony during an earlier period.
Scholarly treatments of Scandinavian life in Chicago have
also been added to the Archives. William K. Beatty has contributed
articles on medical affairs, including biographical articles
on the prominent doctors Niles T. Quales and Petra Marie Dahl.
Much material has been added to existing collections on Chicago
hospitals sponsored by Norwegian Americans. Several academic
dissertations treat Chicago topics like "The Swedish
maid, 1910—1915" (Stina L. Hirsch, 1985); "The Swedes
of Chicago" (Gustav E. Johnson, 1940); and "The
Pioneer Norwegian community in Chicago before the Great Fire"
(Man Lund Wright, 1958). Christian Nielsen’s typewritten history
of the Chicago Danish colony, 1837—1927, covers that Scandinavian
Norwegian-American participation in the arts arouses increasing
interest and inspires additions to the Archives. Several additions
tell of musical activity, especially choral. Alf Lunder Knudsen’s
dissertation (1989) is on "The Norwegian male chorus
in America." Paul Benson’s 1985 paper "The empire
of song" surveys the development of choral music at Scandinavian-American
Lutheran colleges, and provided the basis for his article
in volume 31 of Studies. Ole Hanche-Olsen contributed
his manuscript "biography/documentary novel" about
his uncle Ole Windingstad, a prominent conductor of choral
and instrumental groups in the New York City area from his
emigration in 1906 until his death in 1959. Increasingly material
is being made available on artists. Katherine Mather Littell
has contributed a number of articles she has written on Norwegian-born
Finn Haakon Frolich (1868—1947) who was a sculptor active
in California during the first half of the century; at one
time he was a member of the Jack London circle. She has also
given materials about Christian Jorgensen (1859—1935) who
emigrated at the age of ten to California and became a distinguished
landscape painter specializing in views of Yosemite, the California
missions, and old San Francisco. Information has been added
about Brynjulf Strandenaes, a Norwegian portrait and landscape
artist who had a New York studio in the 192 Os. An article
by Mona Lange McCroskey tells about Henry O. Jaastad (1872—1965)
who emigrated as a boy from Hardanger to Wisconsin and became
a prominent builder and architect in Tucson, Arizona, as well
as mayor of the city from 1932 to 1947. Ivar Viehe-Naess (1870—1959)
in his autobiography tells about his activities as architect
in Chicago following his emigration in 1891. A number of catalogues
of art exhibits have been added: the Norwegian-American Art
Exhibit (Chicago, 1920—1930), Norse Art League (Chicago, 1931),
Society of Scandinavian-American Artists (Brooklyn, 1932)
and the Norheim Art Studio (Brooklyn, 1948—1952).
A number of new collections treat particular Norwegian-American
communities. Avis Anderson contributed a thesis on "Scandinavians
in Dawson County, Montana" (1973). A special 1976 issue
of the Eau Claire (Wisconsin) Daily Telegram covers
the history of the Chippewa Valley, including articles on
Waldemar Ager and Norwegian folk culture. Patricia M. Wiff’s
"The lefse and lutefisk belt: a history of the village
and township of Martell, 1840—1920" (Pierce county, Wisconsin,
1983) includes excerpts from many original documents, transcripts
of early church records, and a chronicle of events (including
births, marriages, and deaths) for each year from 1878 to
1920. Lillian Knudsen Quamme, as the "self-appointed
historian of Dwight, North Dakota," has contributed a
"Centennial Review" (1974) and "A history of
Wild Rice Lutheran Church, 1878—1938." M. David Haugen
has collected a number of family reminiscences and historical
accounts about the communities in Rice and Otter Tail counties,
Minnesota, where his families settled, including information
on his relative Haldor E. Boen, editor and politician.
Scholarly studies, in addition to those already mentioned,
include Lars Erik Larson’s "Norwegian Emigration to Canada,
1850—1874" (1988); Heather D. Prince’s "Norwegian
Clothing and Textiles in Valhalla Centre, Alberta" (1988);John
R. Jenswold, "The Hidden Settlement: Norwegian Americans
Encounter the City" (1990); David C. Mauk’s "The
Colony that Rose from the Sea: The Norwegians in the Red Hook
Section of Brooklyn" (1991); April Rose Schultz’s "‘A
Peculiar People’: Celebration, Historical Memory, and the
Creation of Ethnic Identity among Norwegian Americans in the
1920s" (1991), a study of the 1925 Centennial; Erik Luther
Williamson’s studies of Lutheran church life in North Dakota,
including the Ladies Aid societies (1987) and the short-term
parochial school (1991); Glen Ellen Alderton’s study (1989)
of M. Truman Fossum, who was born in North Dakota in 1912
and became the "father of floricultural economics."
Stephen J. Keillor has written a study of "Rural Norwegian-American
reading societies of the late nineteenth century" (1989),
which provides a context for the recently added accessions
list of 409 titles owned by the Fremad Reading Society of
Beaver Creek, Wisconsin.
More and more translations of Norwegian-language publications
are coming to the Archives. Clarence Clausen translated reports
which Carl F. Solberg (1833—1924) contributed to the newspaper
Emigranten in 1862 on the Fifteenth Wisconsin ("Norwegian")
Regiment. Harry T. Cleven has translated Kristofer Janson’s
historical novel on this regiment which was first published
in 1887. These complement Della Kittleson Catuna and Clarence
Clausen’s translation of Waldemar Ager’s book, "Colonel
Heg and his Boys," on the regiment which was added earlier.
Neil A. Hofland and his parents, translated the voluminous
(520 pages) local history of Årdal, Sogn og Fjordane,
published in 1932. Ansgar Sovik has contributed a "somewhat
abbreviated" translation of L. M. Biørn’s biography
of P. A. Rasmussen, published in 1905. Biørn’s grandson,
Boral Biorn, has written a biography of his grandfather, utilizing
family materials and cast in the form of an autobiography
Increasing Norwegian interest in what happened to their emigrants
has resulted in production of a number of compilations, printed
or computer print-out, of emigrants from various communities,
including Vang and Sør-Aurdal in Valdres, Hallingdal,
Lesja, Hjartdal, Østfold, Biri/Snertingdal and Vardal/Gjøvik,
Vik i Sogn, Skatval, Vrådal, and others.
Many new collections consist of more traditional personal
papers such as correspondence, diaries, reminiscences. A few
examples will show the range of experience represented.
Reidar N. Qualley (1864—1952) emigrated in 1890 from Vestre
Slidre, Valdres, to Madison, Wisconsin, where he became active
in trade union activities and state government and played
a role in many Norwegian societies and activities.
Søren S. Urberg (1861—1930) emigrated from Aust-Agder
in 1889, graduated from Luther Seminary in 1893, and spent
the remainder of his life as pastor in Blair, Wisconsin.
The family of Assor Halstenson Groth (1815—1907) emigrated
from Hol, Hallingdal, around 1850, and Assor joined the Clausen
colony at St. Ansgar, Iowa, in 1854. He helped many Norwegians
find homes in northern Iowa, southern Minnesota, and Dakota,
and carried on an extensive correspondence with friends and
Olaus M. C. Farseth (1852—1913) emigrated from Vega, Helgeland,
to Canton, South Dakota, in 1882. Ordained in 1887, he served
parishes in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.
He wrote extensively and served as editor of several religious
journals. Forty letters from his fellow Nordlending O. E.
Rølvaag, which were quoted extensively in the Jorgenson-Solum
biography of Rølvaag are included.
Dreng Bjornaraa (1903—1987) had a career as a journalist,
educator, federal government official, and public relations
officer for United States Steel Corporation. He collected
newspaper clippings on many Norwegian-American activities.
Helle Mengshoel (1863—1929) with her husband Emil L. Mengshoel
published in Minneapolis from 1903 to 1925 a Norwegian newspaper
representing the Socialist party, writing most of the contents
themselves. A microfilm copy of the newspaper is in the collection.
She corresponded with a number of Norwegian Socialist leaders.
Karl S. Birkeland (1853—1919) emigrated from Sunnfjord to
Michigan in 1872 and became a farmer in Oceana county. Letters
from family and friends during the next several decades comprise
Anna Eriksen (1873—1895) emigrated from Mo i Rana about 1890
to Faribault, Minnesota, where she worked as a servant. Her
letters to a friend comment on Norwegian-American religious
life and chronicle her declining health, probably the result
The letters of the Naesheim-Moe families, 1851—1908, report
on life in various communities in Wisconsin and Iowa.
Carl J. Foss emigrated from Sør-Trøndelag in
1902 and settled on the Minnesota Iron Range. In "The
Immigrants: An Autobiography" he tells, in the third
person, the story of his life as a builder and engineer in
the American West and especially in Alaska, where he worked
for the United States Army Engineers and the Civil Aeronautics
Art Brunstad (born 1908) emigrated in 1919 from Rise near
Arendal to Washington State. He became a chemist for the Hanford
Atomic Energy Works and from 1958 to 1972 was with the Atomic
Erik T. Rogne (1858—1936) emigrated from Østre Slidre,
Valdres, in 1872 and had a long career as a Lutheran pastor
in a number of different states.
Letters (1875—1888) to Bertha Olsdatter Fjeld Johnson (born
1853) who emigrated to Blair, Wisconsin, were written by her
mother in Fåberg and her future husband, a railroad
station agent in various American towns.
Eva Lund Haugen in "An Editor Chooses America: The Story
of Einar Lund" fills in and corrects previous accounts
of the life of her father, editor of Decorah Posten from
1946 to 1962.