Oral Interview of Ole A. Olson

Name of Person Interviewed

Ole A. Olson


Kirby Harth



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Ole A. Olson, at the age of 100, talks about his early years in Norway, emigrating to America, and growing up on a homestead in South Dakota. He also discusses major events in United States history during this century, including the assassination of William McKinley, World War I, the Great Depression and New Deal, and World War II and its aftermath.


Ole A. Olson was born in Norway on November 6, 1878. His father emigrated to a homestead in South Dakota when Olson was four years old, followed by the rest of the family a year later. They moved to a farm near Morris, Minnesota, in 1890. Olson worked various jobs, including selling and maintaining tractors and other farm equipment, and bookkeeping. He managed farms for the National Life Insurance Company until his retirement in 1947. He passed away September 14, 1980, at the age of 102.

Date of Interview



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Named Persons

William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Edward R. Murrow, Woodrow Wilson, Harry S. Truman, Douglas MacArthur, O. E. (Ole Edvart) Rølvaag


Farmers, Selling--Farm equipment, Farm equipment—Maintenance and repair, Bookkeeping, Insurance


Elim Nursing Home (Fargo, N.D.), Evangelical Lutheran Church, Decorah-Posten, Skandinaven, Folkebladet, Ved Arnen, North Dakota State University, American Red Cross, National Life Insurance Company, Union Central Life Insurance Company, United States. Works Progress Administration, United States. Public Works Administration, North Dakota Nonpartisan League, United States. Air Force, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., United Nations


Norway, Great Britain, Scotland, South Dakota, South Dakota—Sioux Falls, South Dakota—Redfield, Norway—Kristiansand, Germany—Hamburg, Germany—Bremen, New York (State)--New York, Maryland—Baltimore, Castle Garden (New York, N.Y.), United States--Ellis Island, South Dakota—Ashton, Québec, Illinois—Chicago, Minnesota, Minnesota—Morris, Minnesota—Synnes Township, Minnesota—Donnelly, Iowa—Decorah, Minnesota—Minneapolis, Sweden, Minnesota--New York Mills, New York (State)--New York—Brooklyn, North Dakota—Medora, Washington (State)--Tacoma, North Dakota—Fargo, North Dakota—Wyndmere, Minnesota—Moorhead, Montana, Iowa, Germany, Vermont—Montpelier, North Dakota--Grand Forks, North Dakota—Bismarck, Newfoundland and Labrador—Labrador, England—London, New Hampshire, Japan, North Dakota—Abercrombie, Japan—Tokyo, North Dakota—Valley City, Russia


Frontier and pioneer life, Emigration and immigration, Free churches, Great Depression, Agriculture, World War (1914-1918), World War (1939-1945)

ID Number

S2632 2637

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce these oral interviews must be obtained in writing from Minnesota State University Moorhead Archives.


Oral History | Social History | United States History

Oral Interview of Ole A. Olson