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The Oldest Bygdelag in America - 1899

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Andrew A. Veblen (1848-1932)

Andrew Veblen was born in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin in 1848. He was typical of second generation immigrants who learned the language and customs of their home area in Norway and treasured that unique heritage.  He was a driving force behind the bygdelag movement in America, and the Valdres Samband most particularly.

Veblen attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, receiving his Master's Degree in 1880.  He was a teacher and professor in science and physics at Johns Hopkins University,  Luther College, and the State University of Iowa before retiring to Washington County, Minnesota where he owned and operated a farm.  He continued to be a sought-after speaker and devoted much of his time to the Samband. 

Veblen was the first president of the Valdres Samband, and shared duties as editor of the quarterly newsletter in the organization's early years.  In 1920, he authored "The Valdris Book."

In 1904, Veblen wrote:

"One of the chief aims is to gather, preserve and impart knowledge of Valdris and people of Valdris origin; to serve as a bond between them and to keep alive their common traditions, to foster knowledge of their ancestry and cherish a filial interest in the beautiful ancestral home of the race. By the operation of natural causes the language of our fathers will be forgotten among our descendants a very few generations hence. But the sentiment and interest that called the Samband into being need not die with the language. They should endure as long as there is Valdris blood to transmit; and to keep them alive and perpetuate them is a special function of the Valdris Samband."

 


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Last updated: December 26, 2016

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