Olive Margrethe Torgerson Isaksen Oral History Interview, 1979  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Isaksen, Olive Margrethe Torgerson
Title
Dates
1979 (inclusive)
Quantity
2 file folders.
1 sound cassette
1 compact discs
Collection Number
t027
Summary
An oral history interview with Olive Margrethe Torgerson Isaksen, 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

Olive M. (Torgerson) Isaksen was born on August 10, 1905 in Ålesund, Norway, and was one of eight children by Ingeborg and Tobias Torgerson; her father was a farmer and fisherman. Olive emigrated in October 1925, leaving from Bergen, Norway. She had family in Tacoma and worked for one year in the diet kitchen at Tacoma General Hospital, where she learned English. Her husband, Anton Isaksen, was a friend of her brother's and fished in Alaska, and they had four daughters and lost two sons. Olive attends the Lutheran church and is a member of Circles, Ladies Aide, and Senior Citizens, and her husband is a member of the Elks. She has visited Norway several times, once staying for ten months.

Lineage

Full Name: Olive Margrethe Isaksen. Maiden Name: Olava Margrethe Torgerson. Father: Tobias Torgerson. Mother: Ingeborg Torgerson. Maternal Grandfather: Christian (?). Maternal Grandmother: Ragnhild (?). Brothers and Sisters: Torger Torgerson, Christina Torgerson, Severin Torgerson, Anna Torgerson, Johannes Torgerson, Ingvar Torgerson, Gudrun Torgerson. Spouse: Anton Isaksen. Children: Annie Ingeborg Isaksen, Olive May Isaksen, Inez Ruth Isaksen, Anton Martin Isaksen (died at birth), Annette Margrethe Isaksen, Anton Marvin Isaksen (died at age 10).

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The interview was conducted with Olive Isaksen on April 26, 1979 in Tacoma, Washington. This interview contains information on family history, emigration, voyage to America, learning English, work in the U.S., keepsakes, marriage, children, maintenance of Norwegian language, Scandinavian foods, differences between the U.S. and Norway, church life, hobbies, and trips to Norway. The interview was conducted in English with some Norwegian towards the end of the interview. Also see Anton Isaksen.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on use.

Preferred Citation

[Collection Number, Collection Title] New Land New Lives Oral History Collection. Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Collection. Archives and Special Collections Department. Robert A.L. Mortvedt Library. Pacific Lutheran University. Tacoma, WA 98447

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
27, side 1 007/11: PERSONAL BACKGROUND
Born August 10, 1905 in Ålesund, Norway.
27, side 1 014: PARENTS
Tobias Torgerson and Ingeborg. Father was a farmer and a fisherman. Father lived in the U.S. for three years and returned to Norway.
27, side 1 021: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
(See attached)
27, side 1 028: MATERNAL AND PATERNAL GRANDPARENTS
Good Christians. Christian and Ragnhild were her maternal grandparents.
27, side 1 035: BACKGROUND OF FAMILY NAME
She has a book on family history.
27, side 1 042: ARRIVED U.S.
October 1925 at age 20. She did housework. She knew no English.
27, side 1 047: BOAT TRIP
Left from Bergen, Norway with her destination of New York. TRAIN TRIP: Three days to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (see counter I-58).
27, side 1 053: FEELINGS LEAVING NORWAY
Felt bad leaving grandfather, but had family in Tacoma, Washington.
27, side 1 058: TRIP TO U.S.
Beautiful never wanted to leave. English difficulties. Employed at Tacoma General in the diet kitchen. Here she learned English (see counter I-47, I-106).
27, side 1 090/13: KEEPSAKES
Lefse rolling pin (see counter I-283).
27, side 1 097:
Cold in Norway. Nicer here.
27, side 1 106: HOSPITAL WORK
Had rooms for employees. Worked here for one year.
27, side 1 118: FEELING AT HOME
In year or two. Climate helped. Had family around.
27, side 1 125: MEETING HUSBAND
Friend of brother. Employed in Alaska as a fisherman.
27, side 1 136: CHILDREN (see attached)
Four girls living. Lost two boys. The girls live in Portland, Oregon, Tacoma, Washington, Federal Way, Washington, and North Carolina.
27, side 1 136/14:
The girls went to Pacific Lutheran University. One daughter is a nurse.
27, side 1 168: HOUSEKEEPING
Norway vs. U.S.: All together different.
27, side 1 186: CHILDREN SPEAK NORWEGIAN TODAY
Talked only Norwegian at home after school days. Tells of life in Milton, Washington and Sunday school.
27, side 1 212/15: SCANDINAVIAN FOODS
Fish cakes, fish pudding, potato balls, lefse.
27, side 1 222:
Women and men both had it tough. Started at the bottom. Used to working hard. Received $35 a month for housekeeping work.
27, side 1 240: CHURCH LIFE
Lutheran Church. Member of Circles and Ladies Aid and Senior Citizens. Her husband is a member of the Elks.
27, side 1 253: HOBBIES
Knitting. Talked of a folk story, Prillar Guri, which was told to her as a child.
27, side 1 266/16: SEVERAL TRIPS BACK TO NORWAY
Stayed ten months once. Too socialist today.
27, side 1 283: KEEPSAKES
Family history book. Confirmation pictures and picture of the old school house. Norwegian Cookbook (see counter I-090).
27, side 1 296: SPEAKS NORWEGIAN
Special prayer to thank God. Still speaks a little today.
27, side 1 319: CLOSING STATEMENT
Nice to go back (Norway) and see relatives.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family--Norway
  • Norway--Social conditions--1945-
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Railroad travel
  • Personal Names :
  • Isaksen, Olive M. --Interviews (creator)
  • Isaksen, Annette Margrethe
  • Isaksen, Anton
  • Isaksen, Anton Martin
  • Isaksen, Inez Ruth
  • Torgerson, Ingeborg
  • Isaksen, Annie Ingeborg
  • Isaksen, Olive May
  • Torgerson, Olive M.
  • Torgerson, Tobias
  • Family Names :
  • Isaksen family
  • Torgerson family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Ålesund (Norway)
  • Milton (Wash.)
  • Tacoma (Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Domestics
  • Nurses