News of Norway, February 4, 2004
He was, however, confirmed in Norwegian at Urland Church, only a short walk from his parents’ farm. He attended Cannon Falls high school and worked as a hired hand on farms during the summers.
Encouraged to attend college by his teachers, Hustvedt spent a year doing various jobs in South St. Paul to earn money for tuition before he enrolled as a freshman at St. Olaf College in September 1942, only to be called into military service the following March. After duty in New Guinea and the Philippines, he was part of the American occupation army in Japan.
Returning to St. Olaf in 1946, Hustvedt finished his B.A. in three years with a major in Norwegian. He attended the Summer School for American Students at the University of Oslo on a Schaefer Scholarship, and later returned to Norway and the University of Oslo for a full year after he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship.
In Norway he met Ester Vegan, a student at the University of Oslo, whom he would later marry. Hustvedt received his M.A. in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Minnesota, and became a professor of Norwegian at Luther College in the fall of 1951.
Ester Vegan attended Luther on an Honor’s Scholarship and received a B.A. in English. In 1954, Hustvedt returned to St. Olaf as an assistant professor in Norwegian and was married to Ester Vegan the same year.
In 1959, he became Executive Secretary of The Norwegian American Historical Association, an unpaid position he would keep for four decades.
He spent the first eleven of those years sorting through mountains of donated material—books, letters, diaries, periodicals—and turning it into an archive. NAHA is now a model for ethnic archives all over the country.
Hustvedt earned his PhD in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin. In 1967 he was awarded the McKnight Prize in Literature for his biography of Rasmus Bjorn Andersen, the Wisconsin born pioneer and scholar. (The McKnight Family Literary Fund was established by W.L. McKnight, former Chief Executive Officer of the 3M Company to recognize Minnesota authors.)
Hustvedt received a second grant under the Fullbright Hays Act and traveled to Iceland during the summer of 1968 to study the hero concept in the sagas. The following year he became a full professor and chairman of the Norwegian Department, and would later be named the first holder of King Olav the V Professorship in Norwegian Studies.
In 1980 he was given the Order of St. Olav, Knight First Class by H.M. King Olav V for his contributions to Norwegian American understanding and for preserving the history of Norwegian immigrants in the United States.
In September of 1985, King Olav honored Hustvedt yet again. He was the first American to be recognized by the America-Norway Heritage Fund. In the King’s presence in Oslo, he delivered a speech with stories from the immigrant community he knew as a child called “Vignettes from a Norwegian American settlement,” after which the King led the audience in a standing ovation.
Lloyd Hustvedt was the author of many essays and articles. He also delivered innumerable lectures and talks to a host of various groups and organizations. He served on the Board of Directors of the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowan and was a particularly beloved teacher of Norwegian language and literature among his students at St. Olaf.
He is survived by his wife, Ester Vegan Hustvedt, his sister, Erna McGuire, his brother Iver Hustvedt, and his four daughters, all of whom are married: Siri Hustvedt and Paul Auster, Liv Hustvedt and Stephen Remes, Astrid Hustvedt and Jon Kessler, Ingrid Hustvedt and Bruce Cutler, He was the grandfather to six grandchildren and three step grandchildren.
The funeral services will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota at 2:00 P.M., Saturday, February 7th. Memorials should be sent to the Norwegian American Historical Association headquarters at St. Olaf College or to the Northfield Retirement Center.