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Saga in Steel and Concrete: Norwegian Engineers in America Kenneth O. Bjork

Saga in Steel and Concrete: Norwegian Engineers in America

Kenneth O. Bjork

Published 1947
ISBN :
Hardcover
516 pages
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 About the Book 

The officers of the Norwegian-American Historical Assn, no less than the editors of the Norwegian-language newspapers in the USA, have long known that the engineers & architects born in Norway & educated in European schools were playing aMoreThe officers of the Norwegian-American Historical Assn, no less than the editors of the Norwegian-language newspapers in the USA, have long known that the engineers & architects born in Norway & educated in European schools were playing a significant & at times a spectacular role in the development of America. In their discussions of editorial policy, theyve always assumed that a comprehensive publication program called for a volume devoted exclusively to the activities of the Norwegian-born technicians who migrated here. In 1939 they were convinced that the time had arrived to begin such a project. I was asked then to prepare the present book. A preliminary survey of the sources indicated that this was a field previously unworked by the historian, & that the association had undertaken a task that was something more than a rounding out of its admirable program of publications. It became obvious that a study of the Norwegian engineers & architects would be primarily a 1st case study in a larger area of research that of the immigrant as a vital leader in American technology. The information unearthed in the months that followed lent fresh & concrete meaning to an oft-quoted phrase, transit of civilization, & gave rise to the wish that one day a broader synthesis, embracing the work of all the immigrant technical groups, might be made. Its my hope that Saga in Steel & Concrete will be received in the spirit of this wish & be regarded as a contribution to an enlarged interpretation of our European heritage, Any such study necessarily encounters difficulties, some of them well-nigh insuperable, & unwittingly works injustice to individuals. The difficulties were less numerous & the injustice, I trust, less blatant because of the assistance given me by the men & organizations discussed in this book. The archives of the Norwegian-American Technical Society, the product of years of active research, are kept at the headquarters of its Chicago branch these were put at my disposal, as were the materials contained in the Norwegian-American Technical Journal. The society has also been most helpful in other ways in formally endorsing the project, in providing lists of members, in suggesting points of approach & in establishing the many contacts that were invaluable for obtaining information & appraising technical undertakings. Its impossible here publicly to acknowledge & thank all of the engineers of Norwegian origin who in one way or another have made my work easier, more pleasant & more effective. I should be guilty of gross ingratitude, however, if I didnt mention the assistance of several. Waldemar Nielsen, president of the Chicago Norwegian Technical Society, has been kindest counselor of all & a sure guide in my relations with the organized engineers. Axel Waerenskjold of Oakland, CA, introduced me to many of the engineers in the San Francisco area. Magnus Bjjzfrndal of Weehawken, NJ, rendered a similar service in the New York area. In addition, he generously supplied considerable information, published & unpublished, & he read about half of the chapters in early manuscript form many of his suggestions were followed in revising these chapters. C.F. Berg of Gary has long been active in collecting records of the Norwegian engineers he made many items available. His sage advice was most effective in reworking the 1st four & the last two chapters of the book. M.S. Grytbak, bridge engineer of St Paul, gave invaluable assistance in the preparation of the chapter on bridges.--Kenneth Bjork, Professor of History, St. Olaf College (edited)