An Informal Chat About Decorah Posten

Article from Vesterheim, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2009.

In 2024, Decorah is commemorating it’s 175th anniversary, and the Decorah-Posten newspaper was an important part of that history.

From previous Vesterheim Editor Charlie Langton:
Decorah-Posten, founded by Brynild Anundsen, an immigrant from Skien, Telemark, Norway, is a landmark and long-running success story of immigrant publishing. The first issue of this Norwegian-language newspaper appeared in 1874 and, remarkably, it continued to publish in Norwegian, or bilingually in Norwegian and English, until 1972, when it was purchased by Western Viking.

Included in this article is B. Anundsen’s own lively account of his first 30 years in publishing, from Decorah-Posten’s less than lucky predecessor, Ved Arnen, through the newspaper’s rocky beginnings and initial successes. Printed in a small commemorative booklet, “Decorah-Posten 1867-1897”—of course in both Norwegian and English-language versions—tells a story animated by Anundsen’s droll humor and captures a time when journalism was often a harrowing, dare-devil profession.

Historian James Hippen brought to Vesterheim’s attention this wonderful piece by B. Anundsen on the early years of his historic newspaper, and Vesterheim is pleased to reprint it here with the kind permission of Erik Anundsen and Anundsen Publishing Company, Decorah, Iowa. We have maintained many of the original nineteeth-century printing conventions in this version because today they are charming in their own right.

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