Erling Nicolai Rolfsrud
SCANDINAVIAN-AMERICAN HALL OF FAME
Erling Nicolai Rolfsrud (Sept. 3, 1912 – August 21, 1994) was born near Keene, ND to Nils and Rebecca Rolfsrud, Norwegian immigrant homesteaders. He graduated from Watford City, ND. On September 6, 1941, Erling married his wife, Beverly, in Washburn, ND.
After attending a summer term at Minot State Teachers College (now Minot State University), Rolfrud taught three terms of rural school in McKenzie County. During his time teaching at Rocky Glen School, Rolfrud sold his first children’s story. Later, he would go on to graduate from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. He taught in secondary schools, then headed the department of business education at Concordia for five years. After 18 years of teaching English at Alexandria, he retired in 1978 to devote full time to writing.
A regular columnist in several North Dakota weekly newspapers and the author of 31 published books – many of which pertain to Norwegian culture – Erling Nicolai Rolfsrud has made his mark with the written word.
For two years he was associate editor of “The North Dakota Teacher.” He wrote his column, “The Top Drawer,” for that publication for 22 years. Church, home, farm and education journals and magazines have published his stories and articles. He did freelance writing for 11 years, qualifying for membership in the Authors’ League of America in 1952. During the 1952-53 school years, he was a lyceum lecturer in the North Dakota schools. He has spoken to varied audiences: high school commencements, church and community groups, education conventions and workshops and historical societies.
Rolfsrud was recipient of the Red River Valley Historical Society’s Pioneer Historian Award and of the Concordia College Alumni Achievement Award in 1974. In 1991, the Red River Valley Heritage Society presented him with their Lake Agassiz Publication Award. He has written 31 books and was working on another at the time of his death.
Rolfsrud died August 21, 1994 in Farwell, MN, where he resided with his wife on Lake Rachel. They had six children: Rebecca, Linda, Stanly, Solveig, Stephen and Virgil. They also had 14 grandchildren.