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Rosa Knutson Gangestad papers

Identifier: IWA0614

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Scope and Contents

The Rosa Knutson Gangestad papers are undated and measure 1 linear inch. They consist of the "History of the Helge Knutson Family" in various forms: Rosa Gangestad's handwritten drafts of her reminiscences, photocopies of the original drafts, and an edited version by Rosa Gangestad's daughter, Clara Helena Gangestad Liljedahl, with a postscript by another daughter, Isadore Gangestad Oppedahl. According to Clara Liljedahl's daughter, Margaret Liljedahl Wagner, Clara rewrote her mother Rosa's reminiscences to correct the English grammar. Margaret Wagner also states that it was her brother who asked his grandmother to write a family history..

The "History of the Helge Knutson Family" consists of stories and letters Rosa Knutson Gangestad wrote to describe her family's history and life in nineteenth century Iowa. The draft is divided into three chapters describing Knutson family history and Gangestad's general life, a section titled "Indian stories," and a section titled "Dear Grandchildren." Gangestad wrote about harsh weather conditions, encounters with wild animals, and other aspects of pioneer life.


  • Creation: 1867-1943


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Rosa Knutson was born on December 10, 1867 to Ingebor Olsdatter Knutson and Helge Knutson. Rosa Knutson's parents were born in Norway. They immigrated to the United States in 1861 with a son, Knut, and a daughter, Gro, settling near McGregor, Iowa, where Helge's aunt lived. Rosa Knutson was the fourth child born to her parents in Iowa. The seventh of ten children, Rosa was the only daughter to reach adulthood, along-side three of her brothers. The Knutsons were farm people and in 1872 her father bought a farm in Humboldt County that remained in the family until 1954.

On June 3, 1888 Rosa Knutson married James Gangestad. They lived their entire married life on a farm they purchased in 1888 near Goldfield, Iowa. They had two sons and five daughters. James Gangestad died in December 1930; his wife Rosa died in May 1943. According to Gangestad family history, Rosa Gangestad was asked to provide a family history and reminiscences of her life by her young grandson in the 1930s. The result of that request, "History of the Helge Knutson Family," forms the bulk of the Rosa Knutson Gangestad papers.


1.00 linear inch

Language of Materials



The daughter of Norwegian immigrants who came to Humboldt County, Iowa in 1872. Reflections on pioneer life through handwritten stories and letters for her grandchildren.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 733) were donated by Margaret Liljedahl Wagner in 2000.

Doris Malkmus, 2000.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)