Excellent Minneapolis-Published Map Illustrating Norwegian Immigration to the Region
This is a fabulous map of the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas with a specific focus on Norwegian immigration. The map was published as part of Martin Ulvestad's 1901 Norge i Amerika med Kart, a brief work that sought to document all major Norwegian settlements in America.
This map is very detailed, counties, roads, rivers, and state borders. Only cities and towns with a pre-existing Norwegian population are shown, and these are numerous. Cities with a Norwegian church or congregation are shown with an orange circle.
Norwegian emigration to the US was second only to Irish in terms of percentage of the country which emigrated. Over one million people of Norwegian descent lived in America by 1910, with 90% of them concentrated in the region shown on the map. Many Norwegians settled in the northernmost (and coldest) part of the continental United States, the then-sparsely populated states shown on the map. Norwegians emigrated for a variety of reasons: at first, they were escaping religious persecution (these were the so-called Sloopers), while later ones came after a series of crop-failures. In a deeply racist and anti-immigrant America, Norwegians were unusually well-received, and were perhaps the original "model minority."
The map was created by Martin Ulvestad, a Norwegian emigre who moved to the United States in 1886. Once there, he set about documenting the lives and heritage of Norwegians in his new country. This map was included in Norge i Amerika med Kart, a brief work in which he lists the many towns in America with Norwegian communities, including their populations and some statistics about the states. Two maps were included in this work, one of the United States, and this one, which shows the region most densely settled by Norwegian immigrants. As such, it was likely targeted at Norwegians still in the homeland considering moving to America.
In all, this makes for a wonderful cartographic reflection of a Norwegian's interest in his people's settling the United States.
Summary of Norwegian Text
Along the right-hand side of the map lie four blocks of text detailing information about the map, written in Norwegian. The black-lettered text at the top states that all cities here shown on the map have a significant Norwegian population, and locations of Norwegian churches or congregations are denoted with a red dot. Additional information on each of these towns is stated to be available in the accompanying book.
The short sentence commencing with County-Navnene simply states that counties are shown in red. The next block, Mileafstanden, explains that each red grid corresponds to fourteen American miles, or two Norwegian miles, and explains how to calculate distances on the map. The final paragraph provides a guarantee of accuracy with the map, with the exception of certain post-offices that they place only in the vicinity of their respective cities.
Martin Ulvestad (24 December 1865 – 19 January 1942) was a Norwegian-born American historian and author whose writings focused on Norwegian-American immigration. He was a pioneer in documenting the early history of Norwegian settlers in America.
Ole Johannes Martinus Ulvestad was born at Volda municipality in Møre og Romsdal, Norway. He was the son of Peder Olsen Ulvestad (1825–1918) and Alexandrine Knudsdatter (1824–1894). He immigrated to the United States in 1886. During his next three to four years, he worked as a book printer and as a typesetter for various English, German and Scandinavian language newspapers.
Ulvestad published an English-Danish-Norwegian dictionary in 1895. Ulvestad subsequently collected and published extensive information regarding Norwegian-American immigration and settlement in North America. His books provided biographical information, history of the settlements associated with Norwegian immigration and information regarding those who fought in the American Civil War. These books also contained articles about Norwegian music in America, listing of newspapers and magazines, and Norwegian-American educational institutions. His most notable work was the two-volume Nordmaendene i Amerika published in 1907 and 1913. The narrative portion of Nordmændene i Amerika was subsequently translated into English by Olaf Kringhaug (1928–2008).