Falnes, Oscar J. 1898-1989

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Oscar Falnes was born on January 24, 1898, in Wood Lake, Minnesota to Hans J. and Oleana Falnes. He attended local schools and then completed his secondary education in1916 at the Madison, Minn., Lutheran Normal School. He earned academic degrees at St. Olaf College (B.A., 1921), Stanford University (M.A., 1922), and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1933). He also attended the University of California (Berkeley) during the summer of 1923. Falnes first taught History and Political Science at Bethany College in Kansas (1923-1925). In 1927 he became a lecturer in the History Department at NYU, where he served for the next 39 years, except for a leave during World War II. In 1938 he was appointed Assistant Professor of History, and in 1948 became Associate Professor of History. During this leave (1941-1947) he served with the Coordinator of Information (the later Office of Strategic Services) and then with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). With the former he was Analyst in, and later Chief of, a Scandinavian-Baltic Research Intelligence Unit; with the latter he was first Adviser on Norway, Denmark, and The Netherlands in UNRRA's Country Mission Affairs Office, and then appointed Chief of the UNRRA Fellowships program. Falnes wrote an extended history of the Program for the UNRRA (and United Nations) archives and later published brief periodical summaries (Journal of Higher Education, 1952; Education Synopsis, NYU 1968). Returning to academic work in 1947, Falnes, being interested in educational policy, was involved in a succession of planning and evaluation committees. He served as Assistant Chairman of the History Department from 1957-1960 and in 1962 became a full Professor of History. In 1966 he retired as Professor Emeritus of History. His classroom interest, especially on the graduate level, was focused on 18th and 19th century European intellectual history. His research specialty was the history of Scandinavian countries. During his career, Falnes wrote numerous articles in journals and periodicals. He also wrote two books - National Romanticism in Norway (1935) and Norway and the Nobel Peace Prize (1938). Falnes was a member of a number of societies and foundations, notably the American-Scandinavian Foundation and the American Association of University Professors. He was a Life Member of the American Historical Association. In 1924, Falnes married Augusta J. Johnson of Cottonwood, Minnesota. He died October 13, 1989 in New York, NY.

From the description of Oscar Falnes papers, 1904-1988. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 473438152

Oscar J. Falnes was born on January 24, 1898, in Wood Lake, Minnesota. He received his A.B. from St. Olaf College in 1921, an M.A. from Stanford University in 1922, and a Ph.D from Columbia University in 1933. In 1927 he joined the faculty of the history department of New York University's Washington Square College. His research specialty was the intellectual and cultural history of Scandinavia, with particular emphasis on the movements of Romanticism, Nationalism, and Imperialism.

In 1941 he took a leave of absence from NYU to join the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) as a coordinator of information, later becoming a senior analyst and head of the Scandinavian-Baltic Research Intelligence Unit. In 1943 he was appointed to the Library of Congress as an associate fellow of the Library on contemporary Scandinavia. In 1944 he joined the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), where he eventually headed the fellowship program.

He returned to Washington Square College in 1947 and worked in the history department until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1966. During that time he served on several planning and evaluation committees. From 1957 to 1960 he was the assistant chairman of the history department.

During his academic career, Falnes contributed numerous articles to journals, periodicals, and encyclopedias, including the Dictionary of American History and Grolier’s Encyclopedia International . He published two books: National Romanticism in Norway (1935) and Norway and the Nobel Peace Prize (1938). Falnes was an active member of various professional societies, including the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the American Association of University Professors and the American Historical Association, of which he served as the program chairman for the 1957 annual meeting.

Oscar Falnes was an avid traveller, taking his car on cross-country trips, and in the process collecting a large number of postcards from the places he visited. He died October 13, 1989, in New York.

From the guide to the Oscar J. Falnes Papers, Bulk, 1917-1985, 1902-1989, (New York University Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Falnes, Oscar Julius, b. 1898. Oscar Falnes papers, 1904-1988. Churchill County Museum
creatorOf Oscar J. Falnes Papers, Bulk, 1917-1985, 1902-1989 New York University. Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Historical Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Disselhoff, Julius person
associatedWith Dumézil, Georges, 1898-1986 person
associatedWith Falnes, Edna Bjonerud person
associatedWith Floderus, Erik person
associatedWith Fostervoll, Kaare, 1891-1981 person
associatedWith Gleerup, G. Pagels och E. person
associatedWith Höjer, Torvald Tison person
associatedWith Jørgensen, Ellen, 1877-1948 person
associatedWith Jorgenson, Theodore, 1894-1971 person
associatedWith Lange, Christian L. (Christian Lous), 1869-1938 person
associatedWith Mentze, Ernst person
associatedWith Midtbø, Arent, 1893- person
associatedWith Moe, Jørgen Engebretsen, 1813-1882 person
associatedWith Moller, Skildringar af P. person
associatedWith Morrow, Ian F. D. (Ian Fitzherbert Despard), 1896- person
associatedWith Myklebost, Tor person
associatedWith New York University. corporateBody
associatedWith New York University. Department of History. corporateBody
associatedWith New York University. Dept. of History. corporateBody
associatedWith New York University. Faculty of Arts and Science. corporateBody
associatedWith Olav, Hans person
associatedWith Rølvaag, O. E. (Ole Edvart), 1876-1931 person
associatedWith Smith, Leslie Francis, 1901-1999 person
associatedWith Strindberg, August, 1849-1912 person
associatedWith Sundblad, Carl person
associatedWith United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith Wergeland, Henrik Arnold, 1808-1845 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Scandinavia |x History.


Birth 1898

Death 1989




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