Fwd: Holand's ax (letter from Judi Rudebusch)
Rec'd this from Judi Rudebusch today, am glad to include it here:
This was sent to Ted to be put in Ancient waterways, but I see it hasn't yet been posted there. Please post for more history on the Axe.
----- Original Message -----
From: Judi Rudebusch judij@...
Sent: Fri 09/04/10 2:20 PM
Subject: Fwd: "Holand Axe"
Hello Ms. Dwyer,
I am grateful to hear from you after a few years of trying to track this down. I had quit trying, previous to your re doing your exhibits, and it is great to hear that this axe has found its way down from the upper level and is now seeing daylight.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge, as they say, since this axe has seen where it originally came from. As stated, the late Ted Stoa of Fargo ND did a wonderful thing in the '70's and '80's to go and tape many of the oldsters who still knew about a lot of these artifacts. His wife told me of the hot day in August when they went into the sweltering upper area of the museum to see this axe. He did this for a reason- he had just taped the then elderly son and daughter of E. O. Estonson. I have that tape today. They were very explicit in telling how their father, first homesteader of the Detroit Lakes/Cormorant Lake area in 1871 had found an axe and a firesteel- plus the stoneholes by Big Cormorant Lake.
In the tape, the children of E.O. Estsenson tell how Hjalmar Holand came up to Cormorant Lake and took this piece from him telling him that it would come back, that he wanted specialist to see it. They were quite angry with Holand to have taken advantage of their father. Later, while tracing some metalurgical testing that Holand did, I came upon Mr. Breckinridge's name- and quite luckily, I found his children who graciously sent me some of their material on their father and his correspondance with Holand and testing. It was here that I found that Holand "gave" this axe to Breckinridge.. and he in turn to your museum. Odd, isn't it, how it was never Holand's to "give", yet he did most likely unbeknownse to Breckinridge.. and now it resides very far from home.
I am very happy to hear that the axe is now shown to people, as it should be. My hope is that you will tell the story of this axe, its finder- the man who took it, never to return it to the family, how it was tested.. and now found its way into your museum.. then maybe E. O., historian and first settler of Cormorant Lake MN will be smiling.
--- In email@example.com, Ted Sojka <tedsojka@...> wrote:
> Dear AWS members.
> I want to let you know that not but a few hours since I got a request
> from Judi about this ax, that we received this reply from one of the
> staff at the Norwegian American Museum also known as "Vesterheim",
> meanng Western Home. One of the fellows that works for this museum
> restores historic log cabins and has several versions of this ax that
> he uses in replacing rotted logs with new for the lower parts of log
> cabins in parks and town squares in the Midwest. He also dismantles
> buildings from first generation farms in this country that are
> acquired by the museum in Lillehammer, Norway. They have set up a
> farmstead including many outbuildings and a small Norwegian immigrant
> church from Southern Minnesota that was to be torn down. The alter
> and all inside work was also put in a container and shipped to Norway
> for reassembly.
> It was his opinion that this ax even if manufactured in Norway would
> likely have been used in trimming and cutting of logs here in this
> country and would not date back to Viking times, and though the style
> may have been copied from ancient an ancient ax, as is common with a
> good tool, it is not in the relic. It does resemble the throwing ax
> that we see made every year at Nordic Fest by the blacksmiths that
> come to forge items at the museum weekend with lots of other
> demonstrations. Last year we had reindeer from the small herd of a
> Minnesotan who is related to the Mayo family as a guest, and there was
> also an expert in Sami knife making using traditional methods.
> I hope you enjoy the picture of this object from the 24,000 in the
> museum collection. You can google this museum on the web and see many
> of its exhibits including several wonderfully built and joined log
> cabins inside the museum. There is a ship room with many models and a
> small sailboat that two brothers sailed to America in and made it to
> the worlds fair in Chicago where it was bought by Arthur Anderson and
> eventually donated to the Vesterheim. A room was built on the back of
> the building to house this fine exhibit with mast up and sails rigged.
> Many loom, kuba stools carved from tree trunks and tools and trunks
> are also exhibited in the museum.
> Ted Sojka
> (Native Earthworks Preservation)
> Decorah, Iowa
> Begin forwarded message:
> > From: Alison Dwyer adwyer@...
> > Date: April 9, 2010 11:36:30 AM CDT
> > To: judij@...
> > Cc: tedsojka@...
> > Subject: Re: Holand ax
> > Dear Ms. Rudebusch,
> > Your email has been forwarded on to me. I have done some research on
> > the ax you are interested in. This ax, which has the Vesterheim
> > museum number of LC0879, was sent to the museum in 1952 by R. W.
> > Breckenridge at the request of Hjalmer Holand. We also have a
> > subsequent letter from Holand confirming his desire that the ax head
> > come to Vesterheim.
> > I would like to assure you that the ax head is not being stored in a
> > dusty box. In 2005 the former Video Warehouse was renovated to
> > become the Bauder-Landsgard Collection Study Center (BLC), a state
> > of the art storage facility. It is climate controlled, has movable
> > shelving units, and artifacts rest on shelves that are lined with
> > volara foam to protect the objects from scratches and other damage.
> > Over 9,000 artifacts, including the ax head, were moved from various
> > former storage areas to the BLC over a two year period from
> > 2006-2008. Each artifact that was moved, was cleaned and
> > photographed. I have included an image of the ax, and our new
> > storage facility, in this email.
> > Due to the fact that Vesterheim has over 24,000 objects, not all of
> > our collection can be on display all the time. However, we do
> > periodically change our exhibits and displays so an object may be
> > moved from storage to the main museum at any time. And while it nice
> > to have items on display, it is safer for objects to be in a climate
> > controlled storage facility. We are always happy to take interested
> > visitors into storage to see specific artifacts as long as they have
> > made prior arrangements with me. All that I ask is that I have a
> > couple of days of notice to make sure that I am available to take
> > the interested parties into the appropriate storage facility.
> > Vesterheim takes its mission to embody the the living heritage of
> > Norwegian immigrants to all of America, not just Decorah, seriously.
> > As with most museums, once an artifact is willingly given to
> > Vesterheim, we have taken on the responsibility for caring for it in
> > perpetuity. Therefore, it is not possible to transfer the object to
> > your local museum. We are always willing to loan artifacts to
> > qualified institutions.
> > I hope that I have made you feel better about the ax being stored at
> > Vesterheim. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further
> > questions or concerns.
> > Regards,
> > Alison
> > --
> > Alison Dwyer
> > Collections Access Manager
> > Email: adwyer@...
> > Phone: 563-382-9681 ext. 118
> > Fax: 563-382-8828
> > Web site: vesterheim.org
> > Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
> > 523 West Water Street
> > P.O. Box 379
> > Decorah, IA 52101