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Oral history interview with Karl F. Rolvaag
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Rolvaag was born in 1913 in Northfield, Minnesota, the son of author Ole E. Rolvaag. He was chairman of the state Democratic Farmer Labor Party (1950-1954), Minnesota lieutenant governor (1955-1962), Minnesota governor (1963-1967), and U.S. ambassador to Iceland (1967-1969). SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: December 11, 1978: Family background and early life in Northfield, Minnesota; education at St. Olaf College in Northfield; military career in World War II; early involvement in DFL politics and campaigns for Congress in 1946 and 1948; DFL state chairman 1950-54; election of 1954; Rolvaag's election as lieutenant governor and reasons for DFL success; functions of lieutenant governor; Rolvaag's relationship with governors Orville Freeman and Elmer Andersen; power groups in the state senate; impressions of Freeman; Rolvaag's governorship, including major issues of reapportionment, weather disasters, major achievements, key advisors, and purchase of the governor's mansion; Rolvaag's appointment as ambassador to Iceland in 1967; activities since 1967; evaluation of the DFL Party following the 1978 election and the Fraser-Short rivalry. December 12, 1978: Reasons for Governor Freeman's defeat in 1960; impressions of Governor Elmer Andersen and his administration; the decision to run for governor in 1962, and action taken to secure the DFL endorsement; the movement to draft Mondale for governor in 1962; the 1962 gubernatorial campaign; the Highway 35 issue; recount proceedings; the relationship with party leaders and Keith during the recount; key advisors, problems encountered, and the "broom closet" office; Rolvaag's relationship with DFL leaders and Keith during Rolvaag's administration; Keith's promise not to oppose Rolvaag in 1966; the Sugar Hills meeting in 1965; the campaign to secure delegates to the state convention; the 1966 DFL convention, including impressions of proceedings, the role of national politicians, and strategy; the decision to oppose Keith in the primary election; the primary election campaign; attempts to unify the party following the primary; the general election campaign; and his opinion of David Lebedoff's book "The 21st Ballot" as being "full of errors."
6 hours sound cassette
54 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
04:50:04 running time
Interviewee: Rolvaag, Karl F.
Interviewer: Haidet, Mark E.
Made in: Deer River, Itasca County, Minnesota, United States
Creation: 12/11/1978 - 12/12/1978
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 69 (Library Call Number)
AV2000.164 (Accession Number)
MNHS Library Catalog