Papers of Rasmus Bjorn Anderson, a leading scholar of Scandinavian life and literature. Anderson taught at Albion Academy and the University of Wisconsin, served as minister to Denmark from 1885 to 1889, and was instrumental in bringing to the U.S. on tour or as permanent residents many Scandinavians prominent in the world of music, literature, religion, and science. He wrote, translated, and edited a number of articles, pamphlets, and books; from 1898 to 1922, edited the Norwegian language weekly Amerika; and in 1895 published his First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration, a history of the movement up to 1840, embodying numerous narratives by the immigrants themselves. He also engaged for brief periods in business enterprises, including the sale of life insurance, the American agency for a Norwegian cod liver oil, and the development of a rubber plantation in Mexico. Anderson carried on a voluminous correspondence in Norwegian, English, and other languages, covering all these phases of his career. Also present are translations, articles, and addresses; social memorabilia for his years in the diplomatic service; an account book for a Mexican rubber plantation; diaries kept by Mrs. Anderson, 1876-1889 (with gaps); and other financial records.
More than 2,500 correspondents are represented in the collection. Among them are his classmates at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa; faculty members there and at Albion Academy; aspiring writers and translators of Scandinavian literature; notable critics and authors; newspaper and magazine editors; book publishers and dealers; churchmen; committees seeking Anderson's services as a lecturer; guests whom he had entertained; personal friends; pioneer Norwegian settlers giving historical information; diplomats; travelers; and, in general, almost everyone in the United States and many in foreign countries interested in the study of Scandinavian life and literature. Included are literary figures Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Georg Brandes, Knut Hamsun, Jonas Lie, and Viktor Rydberg and Thorstein Veblen.
The processed portion is summarized above and is described in the register. Additional accessions are described below.
A small portion of the correspondence is available only on microfilm.
Presented by Rasmus B. Anderson and his heirs, 1931 and 1936; additional portions presented by Donald McGill, July 21, 1949; by Mrs. Hjalmer Anderson, Seattle, Washington, via Einar Haugen, June 29, 1955; by Susanna Wieland and the Mrs. Henry Hulst Estate, 1957; and by E. W. Morehouse, 1965.
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