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Memorable Manitobans: Tryggvi Julius Oleson (1912-1963)

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Tryggvi Julius Oleson
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Born at Glenboro in 1912, son of Gudni Julius Oleson and Gudrun Kristin Thomson (c1877-1969), he was educated in Manitoba, completing an MA in Roman History at the University of Manitoba in 1936. He took further work for the Doctors degree at the University of Toronto under Professor Bertie Wilkinson and his dissertation was published in 1955 as The Witenagemot in the Reign of King Edward the Confessor.

Oleson undertook further studies at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in the University of Toronto. His career as a teacher started at the Jon Bjarnason Academy, Winnipeg. In 1950, he joined the staff of the history department at the University of Manitoba, and in 1957 was appointed as full professor. He was later made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

He and wife Elva Hulda Eyford (c1915-1977) had three children: Kathryn Oleson, Thomas T. Oleson, and Signe Oleson.

He died on 9 October 1963, soon after the publication of his controversial book Early Voyages and Northern Approaches, an interpretation of Thule culture of the North. He was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery.


Obituary [Gudrun Kristin Oleson], Winnipeg Free Press, 3 July 1969, page 13.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 October 1963, page 32.

Obituary [Elva Hulda Oleson], Winnipeg Free Press, 31 May 1977, page 37.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank Jim Anderson for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 22 November 2014

Memorable Manitobans

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