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North Dakota

North Dakota

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North Dakota

172 pages
22 minutes
Aug 28, 2000


During the early years of the 20th century, American families witnessed amazing changes in their daily lives the arrival of plumbing and electricity in their homes, the first automobiles, and thanks to the Eastman Kodak Company, the first affordable, portable, photographic instrument, the box camera. Many families purchased the box camera (for $1) and began to document their own histories. It is upon these histories that North Dakota places its focus.
Nowhere were the changes so dramatic as on the Great Plains, and in the state of North Dakota especially. Due to the huge influx of immigrants, mostly from Scandinavia, the state s population more than doubled from 1900 to 1940, roughly the period covered in North Dakota. But this was also a time of
hardship and struggle, as the Great Depression, the
Dustbowl, and war took their toll on North Dakota
families. But through hard work and perseverence, most of these families survived, and thrived, and now
share with us the story of that time.
Aug 28, 2000

À propos de l'auteur

Larry Aasen, author of North Dakota Postcards, shares some very personal memories with us in North Dakota. Many of the unforgettable photographs were taken by his parents, Theodore and Clara, and tell a wonderful story of a North Dakota family through good times and hard times. As we discover from the author of this wonderful new book, there are a few things that have not changed in North Dakota through the years�politics, the weather, and the strength and support of the family.

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Aperçu du livre

North Dakota - Larry Aasen



In this book we take a glimpse at North Dakota from 1900 to about 1940, through the lens of the old box camera that Eastman Kodak sold for $1, and which most North Dakota families owned at that time. In fact, it was about the only cheap camera on the market, and it recorded the scene, perhaps not in color or well-focused, but as these photos will show, the end result was a fairly good picture. These photos allow us to obtain a rather clear idea of what life was like in North Dakota at that time.

The majority of these photos were taken by my father and mother, Theodore and Clara Aasen, between approximately 1920 and 1953. My mother’s camera (see page 120) still works—not a bad deal for a buck! Other photographs have been added to illustrate a particular aspect of North Dakota during that time.

I am sure that almost every family in North Dakota has an old album around the house that contains photos very similar to these. Do not throw them away! So many of these old photos have been lost, discarded, or burned up, and much of that history is gone forever. Much has been written about this period in North Dakota, but these old photos from a box lens camera reveal a grim and real truth—a personal truth—that words cannot convey.

To say that 1900 to 1940 was a period of change would be a great understatement. Tractors, autos, and trucks began to replace the horse and wagon; electricity and running water were becoming common, and radios and other new gadgets appeared in farm homes. The population doubled—from 319,146 in 1900 to 641,935 in 1940. One thing that hasn’t changed much is the weather—then and now, it varies widely. The images in this book will reveal many of these changes. The opinions expressed in this book are mine. I resided in North Dakota from 1922 to 1948, and return there every year.

I want to thank the many folks who helped me with this effort, (see page 6). In closing, I want to dedicate this book to those who had faith in North Dakota in the beginning, and to those who still have faith in the future of North Dakota. Listen to the gentle whisper of the cottonwood trees, and keep the faith.

Larry Aasen








Pictured above is the 1932–33 Tioga, North Dakota, girls basketball team. Girls basketball has always been popular in North Dakota. In recent years, several North Dakota teams have won national championships.

In recent years, tourism has grown in North Dakota, thanks to good promotional activity by the North Dakota Tourism Promotion Division. Tourists can ride the trails, like those pictured here, or fish and hunt. They can also stay in quality hotels or bed and breakfast establishments, visit buffalo-raising ranches, go riding on dude ranches, vacation on working farms, or just enjoy the quiet of the wide open spaces. Tourists often comment that their favorite attraction in North Dakota is the Big Sky.

From 1900 to 1940, pool halls were very popular places in North Dakota towns for young men and boys. Some considered these pool halls sinful places, where idle youth wasted time and smoked cigarettes. A well-known church leader in the early 1940s used his radio program to

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