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Across the Deep Blue Sea

Across the Deep Blue Sea

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The Saga of Early Norwegian Immigrants

Author Odd S. Lovoll

Minnesota Historical Society Press (February 15, 2015)

Award-winning historian Odd Lovoll recounts the untold story of the history of Norwegian immigration to Canada, tracing the stories and documents of emigrant families south to the Upper Midwest, primarily Wisconsin and Minnesota.


Across the Deep Blue Sea investigates a chapter in Norwegian immigration history that has never been fully told before. Odd S. Lovoll relates how Quebec, Montreal, and other port cities in Canada became the gateway for Norwegian emigrants to North America, replacing New York as the main destination from 1850 until the late 1860s. During those years, 94 percent of Norwegian emigrants landed in Canada.

After the introduction of free trade, Norwegian sailing ships engaged in the lucrative timber trade between Canada and the British Isles. Ships carried timber one way across the Atlantic and emigrants on the way west. For the vast majority landing in Canadian port cities, Canada became a corridor to their final destinations in the Upper Midwest, primarily Wisconsin and Minnesota. Lovoll explains the establishment and failure of Norwegian colonies in Quebec Province and pays due attention to the tragic fate of the Gaspé settlement.

A personal story of the emigrant experience passed down as family lore is retold here, supported by extensive research. The journey south and settlement in the Upper Midwest completes a highly human narrative of the travails, endurance, failures, and successes of people who sought a better life in a new land.

Author information

Odd S. Lovoll, professor emeritus of history at St. Olaf College and recipient of the Fritt Ords Honnør for his work on Norwegian immigration, is the author of numerous books, including Norwegians on the Prairie and Norwegian Newspapers in America.

Reviews and news

Advance Praise:

“Odd Lovoll has written a shelf full of books on Norwegian American history and tells the story better than anybody else. This time, he weaves the histories of Norway, Canada, and the United States into an exciting new story of the peopling of North America. Don’t miss it.”
J. R. Christianson, research professor emeritus of history, Luther College

“With valuable new information and perspectives, this welcome addition to the field sheds light on Norwegian immigration to Canada and to the United States via Canada in some of the earlier years of immigration.”
Ingrid Urberg, associate professor of Scandinavian studies, Augustana faculty, University of Alberta

In the media:
Norwegian American Weekly

Of interest:
Interview with Odd S. Lovoll on MPR
A boy in wartime: St. Olaf prof recalls Nazi invasion of Norway

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 224 pages
  • 20 B&W PHOTOS, 4 MAPS
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873519618

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