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Alvin and Marie Jensen Oral History


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Biographical Information:

Alvin Jensen was born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, on June 2, 1908. In 1915, Alvin’s parents, who were Danish immigrants, moved to a dairy farm in Askov, Minnesota. Marie Jensen was born in Askov, Minnesota, on October 15, 1910, to an American father and Danish mother, and initially worked as an office worker in a local nursery, before she married Alvin in 1931 and worked on the family farm. The couple had no children. Marie passed away in 1999 and Alvin died in 2004. Both were buried in the Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery in Askov.

Transcript Summary:

In an interview conducted on October 28, 1980, Alvin and Marie Jensen discussed details of their lives, the history of Askov, and the Danish cultural heritage of its townspeople. Alvin and Marie noted that like many of the other inhabitants of Askov, most of their forebearers originally hailed from Denmark, and that the large population of Danish settlers in their community prompted its name to be changed from Partridge to the Danish-sounding name of Askov in 1908. They also noted the prevalence of Danish cultural customs, festivals (such as Constitution Day on June 5), and the widespread use of the Danish language during their youth. However, the Jensens also affirmed that the town’s unique cultural identity largely withered away after the 1930s because of the onset of the Great Depression and World War II. These events prompted the gradual decline in the town’s economic prosperity, as it negatively impacted many local cooperatives and forced many local families (and especially younger people) to relocate elsewhere.

Interview Conducted by Calvin Gower and Alan Nielsen


Image ID: 16071

See additional files below for full transcript.

16071_transcript.pdf (225 kB)
Alvin and Marie Jensen oral history interview transcript

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