Olsen, Irving

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SIE 2-4-t280

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Olsen, Irving


  • 1983-06-25 (Creation)


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This interview was conducted with Irving Olsen on June 25, 1983 in Seattle, Washington. It contains information on family background, emigration, work, and involvement in Norwegian organizations. Also available is the announcement of Irving's 100th birthday from the Western Viking. The interview was conducted in English with some Norwegian towards the end of the interview.

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Biographical Information Irving Olsen was born on November 5, 1887 in Laksevaag, Norway. His parents were Kristian Olsen and Georgine Elisabeth Fuglum, and Irving was the fourth of ten children. Two of the younger children died before the age of one, and Georgine died eight days after giving birth to the youngest child, Harold. Irving was ten years old at the time. Irving's father remarried to Kristine Lambertson, who was actually his first cousin. Kristine's son attended a private 'middelskole,' and Irving was given the opportunity to attend there as well. He obtained a good education in German, English, and mathematics. After finishing school, he worked in a men's clothing store in Bergen and was called upon to help all of the American and German tourists. In 1907, Irving immigrated to Boston, where his older sister Hilder was working as a domestic. Hilder had become acquainted with Soeren Hammer in Bergen and had emigrated with him under the impression that they would be married. The marriage never occurred, but when Irving arrived to Boston, he got a job at Tailby-Mason Pharmaceutical Company where Soeren worked. When Soeren left, Irving took over his job coating tablets, and after several years, was promoted to superintendent of the store. In 1914, he married Marie Berg (also Norwegian) and had two children, Edith and Harald (Hal). While living in Boston, Irving was very active in Norwegian organizations, belonging to the Good Templar Society, Den Norke Forening, the oldest Norwegian society, and Norumbega. He also took an active part in establishing the Norwegian Old People's Home in Boston and was the chairman when the Home was dedicated. Irving's Norwegian work in Boston lead to him to being decorated by King Haakon of Norway in July 1939. He received the Order of St. Olaf medal. In 1957, Irving retired from his job at the age of seventy and moved to Seattle. After Marie's death, Irving also married his second wife, Constance, in 1961. Irving had known her as a child in Laksevaag and invited her to come to on a trip to America with his sister, which evolved into a marriage.


Full Name: Oyvind (Irving) Olsen Father: Kristian Olsen Mother: Georgine Elisabeth Fuglum Stepmother's Name: Kristine Lambertson Paternal Grandfather: Lars Olsen Paternal Grandmother: (?) Lambertson Maternal Grandfather: Georg (?) Fuglum Brothers and Sisters: Hilda Olsen Erling Olsen Ragna Olsen Sigrid Olsen Aslaug Olsen Tryg(g)ve Olsen Harald Olsen Two children that died before one year of age Spouse: Marie Berg Second wife was Konstanse (Constance) Olsen. Children: Edith Olsen Harald (Hal) Olsen

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