John Howard Tveter Oral History Interview, 1981  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Tveter, John Howard
Title
Dates
1981 (inclusive)
Quantity
2 file folders
1 sound cassette
2 compact discs
Collection Number
t060
Summary
An oral history interview with John Howard Tveter, a Norwegian immigrant.
Repository
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
98447
Telephone: 253-535-7586
Fax: 253-535-7315
archives@plu.edu
Access Restrictions

The oral history collection is open to all users.

Additional Reference Guides

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Howard Tveter was born on January 18, 1912 in Tacoma, WA to Nels Tveter and Oliana Sunde. Nels was from Skjeberg, Norway and Oliana was from Nordfjord, Norway. Nels came to America in 1901, living first in Wisconsin and then the Tacoma area, where he worked as a carpenter. Oliana first immigrated to South Dakota before coming to Tacoma, where she had a sister. After they were married, Nels and Oliana moved to Gig Harbor, which had a large Scandinavian population. As a child, Howard spoke Norwegian until he began attending school at the age of five, and his mother tried to keep the Norwegian culture alive in the family by celebrating the 17th of May and maintaining traditional Norwegian Christmas customs. Howard's daily activities included helping with the farming, berry picking, and his father's carpentry. Howard married a Yugoslavian woman, whose mother worked in the berry fields for his family. They had three daughters: Beverly, Kathryn, and Linda. Howard is active in the Sons of Norway and has visited Norway as well as Yugoslavia. He enjoyed the visit but is glad his parents came to the United States.

Lineage

Full Name: John Howard Tveter. Father: Nels Tveter. Mother: Oliana Sunde. Spouse: (?) Tveter. Children: Beverly Tveter, Kathryn Tveter, Linda Tveter.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This interview was conducted with Howard Tveter on May 28, 1981 in Gig Harbor, WA. It contains information on family background, growing up in Gig Harbor, community activities, family, and Norwegian heritage. Also see Hans Tveter (cousin). The interview was conducted in English.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The partial interview transcription highlights important aspects of the interview. Numbers may be used as guides to important subjects. Two numbers separated by a slash indicate that the first number is for cassette and the second for CD.

Container(s) Description
Cassette
60, side 1 006/13: FULL NAME
John Howard Tveter. Born on January 18, 1912. Family home is in Gig Harbor, Washington. Born in Tacoma. Father was a carpenter but had rheumatism so they moved to Gig Harbor to farm.
60, side 1 021: PARENTS
Nels Tveter from Skjeberg, Norway and Oliana Sunde from Nordfjord, Norway. His father worked as a carpenter with his dad in Fredrikstad, Sarpsborg, and Skjeberg, Norway. Maternal grandfather was a farmer and fisherman.
60, side 1 030: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Only child. Many cousins here and in Norway. His father's uncle, Nels Johnsen came first.
60, side 1 040: FAMILY NAME
Talks about the name Tveter and how it came about.
60, side 1 047/14:
Father came to the U.S. in 1901. Uncle lived in the Tacoma area. Father was a carpenter. Went to Wisconsin first and then to the coast.
60, side 1 058:
Mother first came to South Dakota and later came out to Tacoma where she had a sister. She had another sister in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
60, side 1 066:
Move to Gig Harbor, a very Scandinavian community.
60, side 1 075: NORWEGIAN LANGUAGE
Spoke Norwegian until schooldays. Had to speak Norwegian to his mother, she wouldn't answer otherwise.
60, side 1 082:
Mother and father both picked up English.
60, side 1 086: SCHOOL DAYS IN GIG HARBOR
60, side 1 091: GROWING UP IN GIG HARBOR
"Better than now, got to know neighbors better."
60, side 1 098: CELEBRATING HOLIDAYS
Dance before and after halibut fishermen's trips.
60, side 1 107/15:
He discusses what brought Scandinavians to Gig Harbor.
60, side 1 111:
Cousins' immigration time was a special time.
60, side 1 121: ACITIVITIES OF THE DAY
Farming, berry picking and his father's carpentry work.
60, side 1 135:
Picking up the English language.
60, side 1 141: TOOK THE STEAMER TO TACOMA
Day trip. Changes that came with the Narrows Bridge. Finished high school.
60, side 1 166/16: VARIOUS OCCUPATIONS
: Carpenter, ferries, and commercial fishing. Retired in 1971.
60, side 1 179: MEETING HIS WIFE
Her mother worked in the berry fields for them.
60, side 1 189:
He learned to pay the accordion. Played for dances.
60, side 1 207: MARRIED IN GIG HARBOR
Married a Yugoslavian. Many Yugoslavians lived in another section of Gig Harbor.
60, side 1 225/01: LIFE IN SMALL COMMUNITIES
Everyone was friendly, everybody needed each other.
60, side 1 237: MEDICAL CARE IN GIG HARBOR
He was 6 when the first doctor came.
60, side 1 243:
Bad flu epidemic and diphtheria.
60, side 1 246: CHURCH
First Lutheran church was in Cromwell, Washington and later moved to Gig Harbor. English was spoken. Before this time a Lutheran minister came out from Tacoma and preached in the Methodist church.
60, side 1 259: HOLIDAYS WHEN GROWING UP
Mother tried to keep culture alive (17th of May, June, Midsummer).
60, side 1 271: CHRISTMAS EVE/LITTLE CHRISTMAS
A big doing.
60, side 1 296:
Preparing lutefisk, spareribs, fattigmand, lefse, flatbread, and kringler. Neighbors would visit from house to house.
60, side 1 313/02:
Reasons for continuing special foods.
60, side 1 325: CHILDREN'S NAMES
He has three daughters, Beverly, Kathryn, and Linda, twelve grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Daughters haven't learned Norwegian.
60, side 1 343:
Active in the Sons of Norway. Special lutefisk dinners in the Lutheran church.
60, side 1 367/03: ACTIVITIES NOW, CHORES AS A CHILD
Gardening, cutting wood, caring for the berry fields. Milking cows, berry fields, and haying.
60, side 1 384/04: VISITING NORWAY
Went to Gardemon, Halden, Skjeberg, Tistedal, Nordfjord, and went to Yugoslavia too. Camping and foods in Norway.
60, side 1 522/05:
IMPORTANCE OF NORWEGIAN HERITAGE 540:
Still speaks Norwegian.
60, side 1 565: 17TH OF MAY
Picnics in Crescent Valley in the early days.
60, side 1 583:
Lived in Tacoma for a while but moved back to Gig Harbor.
60, side 1 600:
Gig Harbor today.
60, side 1 644/06:
Says the Norwegian Table Grace.
60, side 1 686:
Glad parents came to the U.S. Liked visiting Norway.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Christmas
  • Family--Gig Harbor (Wash.)
  • Norwegian language
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Personal Names :
  • Tveter, Howard--Interviews (creator)
  • Tveter, Beverly
  • Tveter, Kathryn
  • Sunde, Oliana
  • Tveter, Linda
  • Tveter, Nels
  • Corporate Names :
  • Sons of Norway (U.S.) Norden Lodge No. 2 (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Family Names :
  • Sunde family
  • Tveter family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Gig Harbor (Wash.)
  • Nordfjord (Norway)
  • Skjeberg (Norway)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Carpenters