St. Olaf College Libraries

Rolvaag Memorial Library

Rolvaag Library is named for Ole E. Rølvaag (1876-1931), novelist, educator, St. Olaf graduate, and father of Karl Rølvaag, Governor of Minnesota. A Norwegian immigrant, Rølvaag is best know for two novels, I de dage (1924) and Riket gundlæges (1925). These two works, the story of Norwegian immigrant and pioneer Per Hansa, were translated into English as Giants in the Earth in 1927.

Although completed in 1942, Rolvaag Memorial Library remained without a name until 1944. Advocates for Rølvaag encountered concern among those who objected to the "sordid" realism of his novels and his criticism of the cultural sensibilities of some Lutheran clergy. (Shaw, Dear Old Hill, p. 142)

The Felland wing (1966) provided additional stack space and quarters for the Norwegian American Historical Society (NAHA). The Dittmanson wing (1991) added more stack and study space. Renovation of the original building accompanied the construction of Dittmanson.

Today, NAHA, the Kierkegaard Library, IIT, the English Department, and the St. Olaf College Archives share a building with Rolvaag Memorial Library.