Bruce Bollerud and the Norwegian-American Polkabilly Sound

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Bruce Bollerud and the Norwegian-American Polkabilly Sound by James P. Leary

Emil Simpson’s Nighthawks at the Wigwam, Beloit, Wisconsin, 1953. Left to right, Bruce Bollerud, trombone; Herbert Swingen, trumpet; Irv Hale, drums (obscured); Emil Simpson, fiddle; “Little Joe” Weum, accordion; Tina Simpson, piano. Photo courtesy of Bruce Bollerud.

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orwegians in America’s Upper Midwest have long drawn on their immigrant musical heritage to contribute significantly to a hybrid old-time regional sound best described as polkabilly. A freewheeling mixture of continental European folk music and the songs, tunes, and dances of Anglo and Celtic immigrants, polkabilly has enthralled Upper Midwesterners from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, as musicians have wed squeezeboxes with string bands, square dances with polkas and waltzes, and sentimental Southern balladry with comic “Scandihoovian” dialect songs. No band embodied the polkabilly spirit more than the Goose Island Ramblers during a heyday extending from the early 1960s through 2000. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, the 4 4

Ramblers took the “Goose Island” part of their name from Yankee mispronunciations of what Norwegian settlers called gud land (good land). Wildly combining Irish jigs, Slovenian polkas, Dutchman waltzes, Swiss yodels, old-time hillbilly songs, frost-bitten Hawaiian marches, and novelty numbers on the electric toilet plunger, the Goose Island Ramblers drew on a bedrock of Norwegian dance tunes, immigrant songs, and such hilarious Norsky-inflected broken-English ditties as “Mrs. Yonson, Turn Me Loose” and “There’s No Norwegians in Dickeyville.” All three band members had deep Norwegian-American roots. K. Wendell “Windy” Whitford (1913-2000) was of English heritage, yet grew up amidst fiddling Norwegians in southeastern Dane County, where he learned tunes aplenty Vesterheim Vesterheim


while playing with masters like Clarence “Fiddlesticks” Reierson. George Gilbertsen (b. 1925), son of an immigrant sailor, Karsten Gulbrandsen, mingled with Norwegians aplenty in house parties and tavern dances on Madison’s working class east side. Bruce Bollerud (b. 1934) was raised in Hollandale, Wisconsin, a heavily Norwegian farming community where tunes and songs flourished amidst frequent house parties. Before forming the Goose Island Ramblers in 1962, Bruce played with a succession of bands. He teamed with fiddler Herman Erickson in 1946 before joining Gilbert Prestbroten’s Rhythm Ramblers in 1950. He was part of Emil Simpson’s Nitehawks a year later, then played with groups led by Verne Meisner, Roger Bright, Dick Sherwood, Herman Feller, and the Johnson Brothers. During a temporary break from the Ramblers in the late 1970s, he commenced a nearly 30-year George Gilbertsen, wearing his pseudo-Viking “bucket of horns,” launches “Norwegian stint as leader of the Good Times Band. War Chant” on the dobro, as the Goose Island Ramblers, with Windy Whitford on guitar A master of many musical styles and and Bruce Bollerud on accordion, perform on the capitol square in Madison as part of repertoires, he remained dedicated to the Wisconsin’s sesquicentennial folklife festival, 1998. Photo courtesy of Robert E. Olsen. Norwegian songs and tunes of his youth. Nowadays Bruce not only features them parents and siblings from Bergen to New York City in 1846, while playing for senior citizens’ gatherings with an association of continuing up the Hudson River to Albany and then, via old-time musicians, but he has also produced Uff Da! Let’s Dance, the Erie Canal and Great Lakes, to a burgeoning Norwegian a tune book/compact disk package comprised of pieces he learned settlement in Iowa County, Wisconsin.2 from local musicians while growing up. Because Bruce Bollerud’s A few years later, in 1853, Bruce’s great-grandfather, formative years exemplify those of many Norwegian Americans Joen Hansen Bollerud, left Norway for Iowa County.3 Soon of his generation throughout the Upper Midwest, we’ll turn our changing his first name and patronymic to “John Hanson,” attention to his musical experiences from the late 1930s until Bruce’s grandfather retained what had been a farm name in around 1950. the old country. Bolle (fire) and rud (place) refer to slash-andburn land-clearing methods in rocky, timbered regions. Berte “We Used to Have House Parties” “Betsy” Hanson, whom John married in 1854, was also born in Norway and the couple raised eight children—including I can remember down on the farm we used to have house Bruce’s grandfather, Hans “Henry” Bollerud, who served as parties all the time. And when I was very young, you a town clerk and chairman in the late nineteenth and early know like four or five years old . . . I’d be at these parties twentieth centuries.4 and I’d watch the musicians play and tap my foot. And While the Bolleruds settled in Wisconsin prior to the I really liked what they were doing, I really enjoyed that. Civil War, the Vendens, Bruce’s maternal relations, were And, we had a piano there and I’d watch other people late nineteenth-century arrivals. Their fellow Norwegian play the piano and say “How do they do that?” They’d Americans, well established and occupying the best farmland, be chording along with the fiddle and guitar . . . And sometimes referred to them condescendingly as “newcomers” after the party was over and they were gone I’d try to and “greenhorns.” As Bruce put it, the Vendens “were just get up there and copy what they did, as much as I could poor immigrant farmers . . . but they had a lot of fun.” His remember of it.1 grandfather, Ben Venden, born in Valdres in 1884, emigrated at 12 to work as a hired hand for an aunt and uncle. Ben Bruce Bollerud was born on October 8, 1934, and grew Venden eventually farmed on his own, but mostly as a tenant up near the village of Hollandale in southwestern Wisconsin’s on a succession of Iowa County farms. Indeed the region’s Iowa County. His parents, Orville Bollerud and Selma Venden first wave of Norwegians often moved to town in the lateBollerud, both descendants of Norwegian immigrants, ran a nineteenth century and, ironically emulating the wealthy large dairy farm boasting “the longest barn in Iowa County.” landholders they had fled, rented out their old farms to Despite its name, Hollandale was very much a Norwegian “newcomers” who became landless peasants of a sort once farming community, with a sprinkling of English, Irish, and again. Years later, Bruce drove his mother and an uncle Swiss. Its founder, Ben Holland, was a Norwegian immigrant, around to “all the different places they had lived when they were Bjarne Haaland, with an Anglicized name. He sailed with his Vol. 7, No. 2 2009

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Bruce sits in with Feller’s Swiss Band, Madison, late 1950s. Left to right, Herman Feller II, piano accordion; Herman Feller, string bass; Bob Feller, trumpet; yodeler Betty K. Vetterli with alp horn; Bruce Bollerud, piano accordion. Photo courtesy of Bruce Bollerud.

growing up.” Some remained, but others were “just little sort of depressions in the hillside where there’d been a house at one time.” Besides farming, Ben Venden helped support his family as a stonemason, laying the foundations of many local houses and barns. Bruce recalled him fondly: “a big rugged man” with “a great big handlebar mustache” who was hard-working and powerful even in old age. At the same time, “if he wanted to take a day off and go play cards with the boys, he’d do that too, or go fishing,” often with Bruce in tow. Sometimes young Bruce Bollerud would while away an afternoon at his grandparents’ home. “You always felt really welcome at his house . . . And course Grandma [Sophia Venden] took care of the coffee and cookies . . . She was the same way.” From his grandparents, Bruce learned about “the old days” in Norway, “a little Norwegian” and a good deal more about life: “He never really accumulated a lot of money or material things but he was always happy.” Sometimes Ben Venden would “sing some of these old tunes, like “Pål paa Haugen” (Paul on the Hill), a comic ditty about a chicken farmer. Using his jackknife in the late spring, he delighted young Bruce by carving willow flutes of the sort made in rural Norway.5 And every once in a while he would pick up a fiddle to saw out some old Norwegian tune, like “Stegen Vals” (Stepladder Waltz), learned while growing up. His style was “pretty rough . . . those hands of his from lifting 6

rock and everything were pretty thick and pretty heavy. But he really enjoyed it.” The Vendens were known locally as a musical family. When chores were done, “in the evening, in the summertime, they’d all go out on the porch and play music.” There were nine kids, two boys and seven girls, “and they all played the fiddle or the mandolin or the guitar or the pump organ or something like that.” Two of Bruce’s uncles, Chris and Lawrence, were especially accomplished on fiddle and fourstring banjo. They often performed for house parties in a trio with Henry Hansen on bandonion. Sadly, Bruce never heard them play. When Chris Venden died young in 1940, “Lawrence was so shook up by that, so devastated, that he just put the fiddle away.” Only six when his Uncle Chris died, Bruce sometimes reckoned he “was born about 20 or 30 years too late, ‘cause the real big thing was a little earlier.” Not as stellar as her brothers, Bruce’s mother, Selma Venden Bollerud, was nonetheless a solid backup musician who chorded on pump organ or piano. And she was an especially good dancer, as were all the Vendens: “they all could waltz and schottische and polka and do some kind of a fox-trot probably or two-step.” When Selma Venden was growing up in the early twentieth century, “house parties were real common at different farmers’ places,” and they still thrived when Bruce was a youngster. “They’d have ’em one week at this guy’s farm Vesterheim


and then the next time at that guy’s and you know it’d sort of move around the neighborhood.” Part of a system of mutual support that also involved communal cooperation for laborintensive tasks like threshing and silo-filling, house parties were common throughout the rural Upper Midwest.6 In the Hollandale area, they often took on a decidedly Norwegian character. Pre-Civil War settlers and newcomers alike hailed from rural areas of western Norway where agrarian “neighborhoods” sustained patterns of work and festivity for centuries.7 In both Old and New Worlds, folks who helped one another make hay, cut wood, and fill granaries also celebrated weddings, harvests, and the Christmas season together. Norwegian “Christmas fooling” or going julebukk, for example, was well-entrenched in Hollandale’s hinterlands. This custom occurred from December 26 through January 6 as neighbors donned disguises at night to visit one another unannounced. Barging into homes to demand food and drink, they challenged their hosts’ attempts to guess who they were. Musicians’ homes were favorite targets, as visitors eventually dropped their masks, moved furniture against the wall, and danced into the wee hours.8 Small wonder Bruce’s parents, Orville Bollerud and Selma Venden, began their courtship on the improvised dance floor of a farmhouse. Like his wife, Orville Bollerud “loved to dance.” Strong, hardworking, “a farmer all his life,” he was a bachelor until his mid-thirties, enjoying regular visits to Hollandale watering holes like Joe’s Tavern. When jukeboxes arrived in the late 1930s Orville spent many a nickel: “he’d play waltzes and polkas and schottisches, that’s what he liked.” Several tunes by the Nordic Rhythm Boys were particular favorites. Small town, rural, and neighborhood taverns in Wisconsin and throughout the Upper Midwest—although periodically assailed by pietistic Lutheran ministers and temperance-minded Yankees—have been more generally regarded by the region’s citizens as family places, extensions of old world inns, rural and working class social clubs.9 As a kid Bruce often tagged along with his dad during down times when farmers might combine a visit to the store or the feed mill with a stop in the tavern for conversation, a drink, a bite to eat, a card game, and music. Occasionally, on a weekend evening, “if my mother was along or one of her sisters or some other lady, sometimes, you know, these old farmers would dance with the ladies.” The lack of female partners did not restrain Orville Bollerud and his male companions. Like lumber-camp denizens of a prior generation, they danced with one another. Bruce fondly recalled “seeing these guys in their rubber boots and farmer overalls . . . dancing around very gracefully on a waltz.” Eventually Bruce joined in: When I was about, I suppose, ten or eleven, somewhere in there, my dad says “Well you better learn how to dance a waltz.” And then he got me out there and led me around. He was a very good dancer, he was very graceful for a big man. So I learned to waltz from my dad.

he had listened well to both the singing Vendens and a succession of musical hired hands on his parents’ dairy farm. Their songs, drawn mostly from oral tradition, were delivered in Norwegian, English, and the peculiar Anglo-“Norsky” patois that characterized everyday speech in Hollandale. Bruce’s grandparents on both sides were fluent Norwegian speakers with an appreciation of various old country dialects, as well as a rough yet serviceable command of English. Like many Upper Midwestern Norwegian Americans of her generation, Bruce’s grandmother, Sophia Venden, mixed and shifted old and new world languages, sprinkling her Norwegian with Anglo-American loanwords and infusing her English with notably “Scandihoovian” pronunciation. Indeed Bruce and his wife Gloria recalled that, late in her life, Sophia Venden invariably called their son “Yack” rather than “Jack.” Aware of the comic potential of “broken English,” Ben Venden, an immigrant unlike his American-born wife Sophia, largely succeeded in Anglicizing his pronunciation. Yet he appreciated dialect humor. From 1918-1935 Peter Rosendahl (1878-1942) made comic newcomer doings and mangled speech the subject of some 700 Han Ola og Han Per comic strips published in Decorah-Posten. Ben Venden was a devoted fan who savored the characters’ goofy rustic antics and perpetual shifting from Hadeland, Hallingdal, DanoNorwegian, and Americanized Norwegian dialects, each laden with Norwegian English. He often read and translated the cartoons for Bruce. Although Bruce’s parents spoke English at home, his mother “grew up talking Norwegian and English—’course they talked Norwegian in the home and they were confirmed in Norwegian.” His dad’s parents also spoke Norwegian at home, although not as much as the Vendens. Still Orville Bollerud understood the language “very well,” and several of his siblings could read and write in Norwegian. During Bruce’s childhood in the 1930s and 1940s, the Bolleruds milked 50 cows, an enormous number in a hand-milking era. The family This soap box cello was made by E. M. Sunnes who made all the soap box instruments for the Luren Soapbox Quartet, a group that played at dances in the Decorah area during the early twentieth century. Height, 59.25 inches; width, 14.938 inches; depth, 10.313 inches. Vesterheim 1991.134.001—Gift of the Luren Society

“Similar to the Ole in the Song” Raised in a cheerful, tight-knit extended family amidst an interdependent agrarian community, Bruce was a featured singer in Hollandale High School’s glee club, but long before Vol. 7, No. 2 2009

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Hjalmer Peterson, Swedish immigrant vaudevillian, in his Olle i Skratthult (Ole from Laughtersville) getup, Minneapolis, circa 1925. Note the typical bondkomiker (peasant comedian) look: pudding bowl haircut, cheap workman’s cap adorned with an oversized flower, rustic woolen scarf, old-country greatcoat with metal buttons, artificially blackened tooth, and goofy grin. Photo Olle i Skratthult (Ole from Laughtersville), Hjalmer Peterson, center.

courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society (negative 97994).

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum Archives.

regularly employed hired men who lived on the farm for stretches ranging from a few months to several years. “Some of them were what we called ‘newcomers.’ They’d come from Norway, originally. They still had thick accents, of course. And they spoke Norwegian a lot.” Young Bruce learned smatterings of Norwegian from the talk swirling constantly around home and neighborhood, along with the ability to shift easily from standard to Scandihoovian English: “it seemed real natural to do. It wasn’t hard for me to pick up that dialect . . . ‘cause so many people used to talk that way.” Bert Vinje was an especially memorable hired man. “He was from Norway, had a real thick accent” which he sometimes applied to “Nobody’s Darling But Mine,” a ditty better known in the 1930s through hillbilly and singing-cowboy renderings by Jimmie Davis, Gene Autry, and the Prairie Ramblers.10 More importantly, it was from Vinje that Bruce first heard “Ole Olson, the Hobo from Norway.” Chorus: Ole Olson, yah they all call me Ole I don’t know how they found out my name. I never told none of them fellers, But they all call me Ole yust the same. My name is Ole Olson. I yust come over from Norvay. I vent to New York and I can’t find no vork, So I tink I head vest right away. Ole Olson in the city of St. Paula, He yust had one dollar fifty cents. He bought him a pint of alcohola, And on a hell of a bender he vent. 8

Ole Olson met a cop with brass buttons. He said, “Ole you yust come with me.” He hit me, he slammed me, he banged me, Locked me up with a big brass key. “Ole Olson, you hobo from Norvay, You got drunk and you went on a spree. I fine you ten days and ten dollars, And I hope you remember the day.” Circulating in oral tradition since at least the late 1880s, when the second wave of Norwegian “newcomers” arrived in the Upper Midwest, “Ole Olson” is a classic dialect song. Its Scandihoovian English verses blithely chronicle an immigrant’s misadventures, while its chorus provides our earliest evidence that the name “Ole” was—like “Pat” for the Irish and “Tony” for Italians—applied generically by Americans to any Scandinavian male in their midst. In the twenty-first century, the stock comic characters Ole and his consort Lena figure in an immense, continuously evolving cycle of jokes relished throughout the Upper Midwest since the 1890s. Although set increasingly in a contemporary world of computers, terrorism, Viagra, and Sun Belt retirement homes, Ole and Lena jokes are rooted in the real experiences of newcomers (like Bert Vinje and Ben and Sophia Venden) who started life in America as hired hands in fields and barns, as cooks and maids in kitchens and parlors. In the 1970s and 1980s, while recording raconteurs born in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, I encountered a spate of venerable “Ole and Lena” jokes commencing with: “You know, way back when, we used to have a lot of newcomers coming into this area, they’d work Vesterheim


The brothers (left to right) Clarence and Ernest Iverson, “The Vagabond Kid” and “Slim Jim,” Minneapolis, late 1930s. Author’s collection.

pretty cheap for the farmers around here”; or “You see, they’re both newcomers. Lena had been here a little longer than Ole, and she worked with a farm family over there”; or “Lena got a job as a maid with a rich family tied up with one of the sawmills.” Oljanna Venden Cunneen (1923-1988), Bruce’s cousin, was especially adept at drawing upon her extended family’s actual experiences to fashion a score of loosely related Ole and Lena jokes into a full-blown comic immigrant saga.11 Bruce’s appreciation of Oljanna’s jokes and Bert Vinje’s song was heightened further by correlations between fiction and reality on the Bollerud farm. Perhaps 25 to 30 hired men, “a lot of them old bachelors,” worked there during Bruce’s childhood. The hired man on a farm was something like . . . the cowboy out in the west . . . They were usually single guys. And a lot of times they wouldn’t have any relatives close by. They’d work real hard and then when they got paid they might go on a big drunk. And they might be out of commission for three, four days, or a week. So it’s kind of similar to the Ole in the song there. It’s really not that different. After Bert Vinje died, Bruce Bollerud sought out Roy Anderson, another hired man who also sang “Ole Olson the Hobo from Norway” because “he remembered more of it than I did.” Comic dialect songs, like Ole and Lena jokes, were widely savored by Upper Midwestern Norwegians and Swedes alike, including folks around Hollandale. “My family and all the Scandinavian people around there always got a big kick out of that dialect stuff.” Bruce kept his ears open for similar songs. His Venden cousins “had heard ‘Nikolina’ and they liked that a lot.” Eventually Bruce “worked that up and sang that.” In cities like Chicago, Eau Claire, Fargo, Marquette, and Minneapolis immigrants and their descendants not only sang such songs themselves but also supported their performance by professional entertainers. Hjalmer Peterson—who assumed the stage name Olle i Skratthult (Ole from Laughtersville)— was an immigrant to Minneapolis from Värmland, Sweden, who first recorded “Nikolina” in 1917. A darkly comic Vol. 7, No. 2 2009

ballad concerning a hapless lover whacked with a cane by his sweetheart’s father, “Nikolina” addressed familiar tensions between modernizing youngsters and tradition-bound parents. Reportedly selling an unprecedented 100,000 copies in a tiny ethnic niche market, “Nikolina” was commercially recorded six times by Skratthult and other Swedish and NorwegianAmerican performers from 1917 to 1936.12 Sometime in the 1930s, the brothers Clarence and Ernest Iverson, better known as the “Vagabond Kid” and “Slim Jim,” translated “Nikolina” into Scandihoovian English. In the 1930s and 1940s the Iversons—raised in the rural, Norwegian-speaking community of Binford, North Dakota—had a popular Minneapolis-based radio program on WDGY and made regular forays to halls throughout the surrounding hinterlands. In 1937 they drew as many as 1,000 fan letters a week requesting favorites from a mix of German and Norwegian songs, an occasional polka, cowboy ballads, sentimental recitations about mother and home, hymns, and such comic dialect pieces as “Scandinavian Hotshot,” “I Been a Swede from Nort’ Dakota,” and “Nikolina.”13 Their dialect version quickly entered regional oral tradition, extending well beyond the Iversons’ broadcast and touring range—all the way to Hollandale. Bruce learned “Nikolina” well before “Slim Jim” got around to recording it commercially in the 1950s. When he finally heard that disk, Bruce found Ernest “Slim Jim” Iverson’s dialect “genuine,” reminiscent of so many voices from his childhood: “I have a notion that he might talk pretty close to the way he sings.” Closer to home, Guy Stinsrud had what Bruce called “an Ole act” in the early 1950s. Stocky, wearing a loud polka dot shirt and a tousled reddish-blond wig, Stinsrud fiddled tunes like the “Starlight Schottische,” told dialect jokes, and cut up generally for appreciative audiences at the Green and Iowa County fairs in the early 1950s. He also relied on his Norsky brogue and “Ole Olson” persona to work as a disk jockey for Monroe’s WEKZ radio.

“Castello” accordion made by Soprani, Inc., 1930. Peter Foss (1908-1976), father of the donor, was born in Rissa, Norway, and moved to Minneapolis in 1925. Foss, who was a self-taught accordion player, would play Norwegian songs for family and friends. The donor, who was taught by her father, learned to play the same songs. Height, 22 inches; width, 22 inches; depth, 15 inches. Vesterheim 1992.039.001—Gift of Meredith A. Berg.

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Bruce plays bandonion with old band mates Dick Peterson (a.k.a. Dick Sherwood) on fiddle, Herbert Swingen on bass, and Dick’s son, Mark Peterson, on guitar. Community homecoming celebration, Hollandale, Wisconsin, 2000. Photo courtesy of Bruce Bollerud.

Bruce Bollerud has continued to pay homage to the musical experiences of his youth. And, of course, there is much more to tell about his long career as a Norwegian-American polkabilly performer. To learn more about Bruce Bollerud and Upper Midwestern old-time music, see my book Polkabilly: How the Goose Island Ramblers Redefined American Folk Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). Bruce Bollerud’s old time

house party repertoire and a companion CD comprise his Uff Da! Let’s Dance: Scandinavian Tunes (Mel Bay Publications, 2009). The classic Goose Island Ramblers recording Midwestern Ramblin’ is available through the University of Wisconsin Press <http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/3778.htm>. Many more recordings can be acquired from Cuca Records <http://www. cucarecords.com/home.html>.

Endnotes 1

This quotation from Bruce Bollerud and others in this essay were transcribed from interviews conducted by the author at Bruce’s Madison home in June, 1987, and on July 16, 1990, as well as amidst a performance at the Wisconsin Folk Museum in Mt. Horeb, June 3, 1995. 2 Lucile Lauper and Ethelyn Thompson, “The History of the Village of Hollandale from 1887 to 1987,” The Hollandale Review, (Blanchardville, Wisconsin: Ski Printers, 1987) 5. George and Robert M. Crawford, Memoirs of Iowa County Wisconsin, From the Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present (Chicago: Northwestern Historical Association, 1913) 280-81. 3 Anonymous, History of Iowa County, Wisconsin (Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1881) 965. 4 Crawford, 282-283. 5 Dagfinn Nupen, Eldre Folkemusikkinstrument: Læring på gamlemåten (Ørsta/Høydalsneset, Norway: Dagfinn Nupen, 1999) 84-85. 6 Philip Martin, Farmhouse Fiddlers: Music & Dance Traditions in the Rural Midwest (Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin: Midwest Traditions, Inc. 1994) 4:43-62. Chester Garthwaite, Threshing Days: The Farm Paintings of Lavern Kammerude (Mt. Horeb: Wisconsin Folk Museum, 1990). 7 Jon Gjerde, From Peasants to Farmers: The Migration from Balestrand, Norway, to the Upper Middle West (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985) 51-52. Rigmor Frimannslund, “The Old Norwegian Peasant Community: Farm Community and Neighborhood Community,” Scandinavian Economic History Review 4, 1956, 62-81.

James P. Leary, Wisconsin Folklore (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998), 346-351. Kathleen Stokker, Keeping Christmas: Yuletide Traditions in Norway and the New Land, (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2000). 9 James P. Leary, Wisconsin Folklore, 377-385. 10 Guthrie T. Meade, Richard K. Spottswood, and Douglas S. Meade, Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music (Chapel Hill: Southern Folklife Collection, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, 2002) 226. 11 James P. Leary, So Ole Says to Lena: Folk Humor of the Upper Midwest (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001) 63-81, 210-213. 12 Anne-Charlotte Harvey and Richard Hulan, Teater, visoften och bal: A National Tour of Theater, Music and Dance Traditions of Swedish Americans (Washington, D.C.: National Council for the Traditional Arts, 1982). Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey, “SwedishAmerican Theater,” in Ethnic Theater in the U.S., ed. Maxine S. Seller (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1983) 503-515. 13 Victor R. Greene, A Passion for Polkas: Ethnic Old Time Music in America, 1880-1960 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992) 151-152. 8

Other Sources

Spottswood, Richard K. Ethnic Music on Records: A Discography of Ethnic Recordings Produced in the United States, 1893-1942, 7 vols. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990.

About the Author James P. Leary is professor of folklore and Scandinavian studies at the University of Wisconsin, where he co-founded the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures <http://csumc.wisc.edu>. His publications include So Ole Says to Lena: Folk Humor of the Upper Midwest (2001). 10

Vesterheim