History of Norwegian-Language Publications in North Dakota


Odd S. Lovoll

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The thesis endeavors to give the history of Norwegian-language publications in North Dakota. The first paper, Red River posten, was established in 1878 and the last paper, Visergutten, was discontinued in 1955, only a few months after the main Norwegian organ in the state, Normanden, stopped publication. In this period there were fifty-six ventures, counting both the secular and the religious papers.

The Norwegian-American press concentrated in the three or four commercial centers in the Red River Valley. The majority of the papers were short-lived; only a few of them could celebrate even their decennial. They had a relatively small circulation; only the Normanden had for a time close to 10,000 subscribers. Almost without exception they were weeklies.

The Norwegian-language press in the state was predominantly Republican, but it supported the liberal-progressive faction in the party. In the 1890's some of the papers were spokesmen for Populism, and the Farmers' Alliance movement had support in the Norwegian- language press during most of its life. The press was divided in its support of the Nonpartisan League.

The dominating concern of much of the press was prohibition. Several of the most influential papers like the Normanden and the Afholds-basunen were established to promote this reform, and later the Fram became the official organ of the prohibition and temperance movements in North Dakota.

One of the striking features of the press was the prominence and capability of the men who preserved it. They were devoted men who made substantial sacrifices to retain a Norwegian-American press in the state. The long life of the press bears witness to their effort and devotion.

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