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ONLINE: Iver Kalnes and the Leif Erikson Movement

February 13 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Iver M. Kalnes was deeply involved in the movement initiated by Rasmus B. Anderson to recognize October 9 as Leif Erikson Day. This day was to honor Leif Erikson as the true founder of America, not Columbus. Anderson born in 1848 in Albion, Wisconsin to Norwegian immigrants. He was a graduate of Luther College in Iowa and the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was the founding head of the Department of Scandinavian Studies. In 1874 he authored the book America Not Discovered by Columbus. The focus of the book was that the idea that Vikings were the first Europeans in the New World and specifically that Leif founded America. The world-famous concert violinist Ole Bull lived in Madison during this time and gave Anderson most of his concert earnings to buy books for the newly founded department at the university and to help promote this cause. Kalnes was a newspaperman who got to know Anderson as a fellow Norwegian and became involved closely with him in the final years leading to the Leif Erikson Day law passing the Wisconsin legislature in 1929.

Our speaker, Ron Larson (grandson of Iver), graduated from Luther College in 1976, majoring in history. He received his Master of Library Science from the UW School of Library and Information Studies in 1978. He was the library director and researcher for the Wisconsin State Journal and Capital Times from 1978–2008, and then the newspaper and periodicals librarian for the Wisconsin Historical Society from 2009 until his retirement in 2017. Throughout his career Larson has written several books, including a collaboration of his grandfather’s newspaper columns titled “Little Visits” with a Journal Reporter. He continues to work with the Wisconsin Historical Society, currently serving on their National Digital Newspaper Program selection committee. He is also currently a volunteer at Livsreise, a Norwegian Heritage Center in Stoughton, Wisconsin. A McFarland, Wisconsin native and local historian, Larson served on the McFarland Historical Societies Board of Directors for 15 years, including nine years as president.

This is a virtual event via Zoom, and registration is limited to the first 100 registrants. For security you must be an authenticated user to join the webinar. Please ensure you are signed into Zoom prior to starting the webinar.

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February 13
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


Livreise Norwegian Heritage Center
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