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- 1982-01-21 (Creation)
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This interview was conducted with Ole Nissen on January 21, 1982 in Seattle, Washington. It contains information about family background, the tailoring business, emigration, settling in, marriage, and family. The interview also includes two photographs of Ole at his tailor shop, a photograph of Ole and his family in 1971, two snapshots of Ole at the time of the interview, and an article about Ole receiving his 50-year emblem from the Danish Brotherhood. The interview was conducted in English.
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Ole Nissen was born on January 22, 1887 in Ansager, Denmark to Christian Peder Nissen and Sophia Christiana Sorensen. Ole's father had a chemistry business and passed away when Ole was only three and half, leaving Ole's brother Nis to support the family. Ole also had three older sisters, Nikolina, Kristina, and Sina. The family lived on a farm, and Ole stayed at home to help his mother until he was eight years old and then attended school. After he finished school, Ole's mother told him that she wanted him to become a tailor, and he got an apprenticeship with a tailor in a nearby town for the following three and half years. Ole learned the entire profession of men's clothing and worked in small towns around Ansager until he had enough money to immigrate to America. Nis had immigrated in 1903, and when he came home to visit in 1907, he took Ole and Nikolina back with him. They stopped in Milbank, South Dakota first to help an acquaintance of Nis's build a house, and there, Nikolina began working for the sawmill owner's family. She eventually moved to Santa Cruz, CA with them, and Ole and Nis went to Seattle, WA for awhile before moving to San Francisco, CA. A big earthquake had struck the year before, and work was hard to come by. Nevertheless, Ole eventually found tailoring work in various California cities. In 1910, Ole's mother immigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia, and Ole and his sister went to live with her. They remained there for four years, during which time, Ole learned how to make women's clothing. In 1914, the family moved to Seattle, and Ole opened his own shop in their home. He soon established a large clientele, which included the wives of several prosperous Seattle bankers. In 1924, Ole married Kathryn Hendrickson, who was from Deer Lodge, Montana. Ole met her through her cousin, who was a vest maker. Ole and Kathryn had one daughter, Marilyn. In 1925, Ole was able to open his own shop on 28th and East Madison and worked there until 1967. He has never returned to Denmark, but still speaks Danish.
Full Name: Ole Andreas Nissen. Father: Christian Peder Nissen. Mother: Sophia Christiana Sorensen. Maternal Grandmother: Søren Hansen. Brothers and Sisters: Nis Nissen, Peder Nissen, Nikolina Nissen, Kristina Nissen, Sina Nissen, Spouse: Kathryn Hendrickson. Children: Marilyn Adele Nissen Leren.