Louise (Malla) Amilia Sinland Dahl Oral History Interview, 1980

Overview of the Collection

Dahl, Louise (Malla) Amilia Sinland
Louise (Malla) Amilia Sinland Dahl Oral History Interview
1980 (inclusive)
3 file folders
2 photographs
1 sound cassette
1 compact disc
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Louise (Malla) Amilia Sinland Dahl, a Norwegian immigrant.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
Telephone: 2535357586
Fax: 2535357315
Access Restrictions

The oral history collection is open to all users.

Additional Reference Guides

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

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Malla Dahl was born Louise Amilia Sinland Dahl in 1888 in Harmony, Minnesota. Her parents, Samuel and Ingeborg Dahl, were of Norwegian descent, and there were four other children in the family: Anne, Teddy, Inez, and Alma. The Dahls left Minnesota when Malla was young and moved to Stanwood, Washington. Samuel was a carpenter and helped construct Harstad Hall, Pacific Lutheran University's first building. Malla later attended PLU, and her extracurricular activities included golf and basketball. In 1907, she was the captain of the women's basketball team. Dr. Anders Ramstad and Dr. Daniel Tingelstad were also at PLU while Malla was, and she later became friends with Agnes and Ole Stuen as well.

In addition, Malla met her husband, Hans Dahl, at PLU. Hans was also of Norwegian descent and was born in North Dakota. Malla and Hans were the first couple to be married in Trinity Lutheran Church, which is located on the corner of 121st and Park near PLU and was still under construction at the time. Hans owned Dahl's Peanut Butter Factory, and after it burned down, he and Malla opened Dahl's Grocery. In 1977, sixty-nine years after she completed her studies at PLU, Malla went through the actual graduation ceremonies. At the time of this interview, Malla was PLU's oldest living alumni.


Full Name: Malla Dahl. Maiden Name: Louise Amilia Sinland Dahl. Father: Samuel Dahl. Mother: Ingeborg Dahl. Brothers and Sisters: Anne Dahl, Teddy Dahl, Inez Dahl, Alma Dahl. Spouse: Hans Dahl

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This interview was conducted with Malla Dahl on May 6, 1980 in Stanwood, Washington. It contains information about family background, attending PLU, Dahl's Grocery, and Norwegian heritage. The interview also contains a photograph from the Dahl wedding, an article on Malla receiving her PLU diploma, and a photograph of Malla in 1978. 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

Custodial History

The Oral History collection project was started during an experimental course on Scandinavian Women in the Pacific Northwest. Students in the course were encouraged to interview women and learn about their experiences as immigrants to the United States. The project was continued and expanded with support from the president's office and by grants from the L.J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation, from the Joel E. Ferris Foundation and the Norwegian Emigration Fund of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project was directed by Dr. Janet E. Rasmussen. The collection was transferred to the Archives and Special Collections Department.

Acquisition Information

Related Materials

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Processing Note

The interview was conducted by Donna Mallonee using a cassette recorder. A research copy was also prepared from the original. To further preserve the content of the interview, it is now being transferred to compact disc. We deliberately did not transcribe the entire interview because we want the researchers to listen to the interviewee's own voice. The transcription index highlights important aspects of the interview and the tape counter numbers noted on the Partial Interview Transcription are meant as approximate finding guides and refer to the location of a subject on the cassette/CD. The recording quality is good

The collection was transcribed by Mary Sue Gee, Julie Peterson and Becky Husby.


Rasmussen, Janet Elaine. New Land New Lives: Scandinavian Immigrants to the Pacific Northwest Tacoma, Washington University of Washington Press 1993

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
41, side 1 013/12:
Louise Amilia Sinland Dahl born in Harmony, Minnesota.
41, side 1 032: PARENTS
Samuel and Ingeborg Dahl.
41, side 1 036: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Anne, Teddy, Inez, and Alma.
41, side 1 061:
Parents were born in Norway. Settled in Harmony. They had some animals, but they weren't farmers.
41, side 1 100: CHILDHOOD
Left Minnesota when quite young. Went to school in Stanwood, Washington. Malla remembers that she and her little brother had to walk a couple of miles to school.
41, side 1 139:
Malla's father was a carpenter. He helped build Harstad Hall, the first building on the PLU campus.
41, side 1 171:
Malla went to school at PLU. She came to PLU in 1894. There was only one building. There was a board fence going across the campus.
41, side 1 208:
Lived with her father and mother.
41, side 1 253/13:
Ramstad was there while Malla was. So was Dr. Oscar Tingelstad.
41, side 1 274: HUSBAND
Met her husband at PLU. Hans Dahl. He was also a student. Trinity Lutheran Church was still being built. They wanted to get married in a church so they used fir boughs to cover the construction. Rev. Heimdahl married them. Had a nice wedding dress
41, side 1 335: HUSBAND
Met her husband at PLU. Hans Dahl. He was also a student. Trinity Lutheran Church was still being built. They wanted to get married in a church so they used fir boughs to cover the construction. Rev. Heimdahl married them. Had a nice wedding dress
41, side 1 389: DAHL GROCERY
Walter French worked for them. The building where the store was is still standing. During the Depression, they gave credit to teachers at PLU. The wholesaler they bought their goods from gave them credit so they could give teachers credit.
41, side 1 474/14:
Learned to speak Norwegian from her parents. She used to go to a Norwegian club, but she got tired of it. Her husband was of Norwegian background too. He was born in North Dakota.
41, side 1 511:
Indians came up to her house once when she was little. She closed the doors and they all went upstairs.
41, side 1 548:
Malla used to have some students live with her. The Stuens' are good friends. Mrs. Stuen was a housemother at PLU to begin with. Malla's sister, who worked in the dining room then, invited Mrs. Stuen over coffee quite often.
41, side 1 581: BUILDING THE SCHOOL
Her father helped. They built two stories first. Then it got bigger and bigger.
41, side 1 600:
Graduated from PLU in 1977, 69 years after she completed her studies. In 1977, she went through the graduation ceremonies.
41, side 1 636:
Played golf when she was a student at PLU. Was captain of the basketball team in 1907.
41, side 1 672: TRANSPORTATION
Took the Flyer Dock boat to Seattle in those days. Trolleys were used for transportation.
41, side 1 713/15: NORWEGIAN TRADITIONS
They used to have rommegr√łt, rice pudding, and lefse.
41, side 1 747: VISITING PLU
She comes here quite a bit. Tells about an alumni dinner. She had a pretty pink dress. She is the oldest alumni.
41, side 1 766:
Talks about the river that goes through Stanwood. There were a lot of Norwegian people in Stanwood.
41, side 1 795:
The Dahl's closed their store in the 1940s.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Basketball--Pacific Lutheran University
  • Depressions--1929
  • Family--United States
  • Golf--Pacific Lutheran University
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs

Personal Names

  • Dahl, Hans
  • Ramstad, Anders
  • Tingelstad, Daniel
  • Dahl, Louise Malla--Interviews (creator)
  • Dahl, Ingeborg
  • Dahl, Samuel
  • Stuen, Agnes
  • Stuen, Ole

Corporate Names

  • Dahl's Grocery store (Parkland Wash.)
  • Dahl's Peanut Butter Factory (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Flyer Dock boat (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Harstad Hall -- Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.)
  • Old Main -- Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.)
  • Trinity Lutheran Church (Parkland, Wash.)

Family Names

  • Dahl family
  • Stuen family

Geographical Names

  • Harmony (Minn.)
  • Stanwood (Wash.)
  • Tacoma (Wash.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Oral histories