Cover image for The promise fulfilled : a portrait of Norwegian Americans today
The promise fulfilled : a portrait of Norwegian Americans today
Lovoll, Odd Sverre.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xv, 299 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Published in cooperation with the Norwegian-American Historical Association."
Shifting face of Norwegian America -- In the American mosaic -- Burden and the glory -- Perspectives on the American dream -- Legacy of national mutuality -- Norwegian-American matrix.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.S2 L686 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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On October 9, 1825, the sloop Restauration sailed into New York harbor with the first fifty-three Norwegian immigrants to America. In the next 100 years over 800,000 people would leave Norway to become members of a proud new community in the United States. Today, the Norwegian American population numbers nearly 4 million -- almost as many people as live in Norway.

The Promise Fulfilled is an enlightening -- and not uncritical -- consideration of Norwegian American history, continuing the story begun in the bestselling The Promise of America. Prominent historian Odd S. Lovoll details where Norwegian Americans live, what kinds of jobs they hold, how their ethnic heritage is passed on, and to what extent their dreams of life in the United States have been fulfilled.

Lovoll researched historical documents, conducted an extensive questionnaire, and performed hundreds of follow-up interviews. He introduces us to wheat farmers in North Dakota, halibut fishermen in the Pacific Northwest, and carpenters in Brooklyn who all consider themselves Norwegian Americans. He interviews prominent Norwegian Americans, like Walter Mondale, and everyday people -- factory workers, at-home mothers, small-business owners, and teenagers. One unique aspect of The Promise Fulfilled is Lovoll's pioneering consideration of the social history of all seven generations of Norwegian Americans.

From the traditional luterisk dinners to civic activism, Lovoll uncovers the festive spirit of contemporary Norwegian American culture. This vibrant ethnic community, with large enclaves in New York City, California, the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest, maintains ties through genealogy, family reunions, and a sharedculinary and arts and crafts heritage. Lovoll's lucid, engaging, and nuanced history will be essential reading -- and a popular gift for anyone interested in Scandinavian culture.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Drawing on historical documents, an extensive questionnaire survey, and hundreds of follow-up interviews, Lovoll's truly pioneering work traces seven generations of Norwegian American social history, culminating in a thorough examination of the status and sense of ethnic heritage of today's Norwegian Americans. It significantly complements Lovoll's earlier authoritative work, The Promise of America: A History of the Norwegian-American People (CH, Dec'84), and represents the most detailed study of any American immigrant group in this regard. Full scholarly apparatus is provided, yet this is a marvelously readable work in its careful, often critical, objectivity and is quite free of filiopietism. Interestingly, Lovoll limns the surprising degree to which the descendants of Norwegian immigrants to this country continue to identify with their ancestral culture, albeit in a quite distinctly Americanized way, through ethnic organizations, family reunions, and a shared heritage in foods and crafts. Recommended for any academic or public library with collecting interests relative to Scandinavians in America, and particularly the Norwegians. All levels. K. Smemo; Moorhead State University

Table of Contents

The Promise Fulfilledp. i
Prefacep. ix
Chapter 1 The Shifting Face of Norwegian Americap. 1
Chapter 2 In the American Mosaicp. 35
Chapter 3 The Burden and the Gloryp. 77
Chapter 4 Perspectives on the American Dreamp. 139
Chapter 5 A Legacy of National Mutualityp. 183
Chapter 6 The Norwegian-American Matrixp. 219
Notesp. 263
Indexp. 287