Iowa Women's Archives
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa



PAPERS, undated
1 linear inch


Iowa Women's Archives
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Phone: 319-335-5068
Fax: 319-335-5900
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Please cite materials from this collection as follows:
Rosa Knutson Gangestad Papers, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


Collection Overview

The papers (donor no. 733) were donated by Margaret Liljedahl Wagner in 2000.
The papers are open for research.
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.
Processed by:

Doris Malkmus, 2000. [GangestadRosa.doc]



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.

Scope and Content Note

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 the struggles of pioneer life, including the proximity of Native Americans and wild animals, and harsh weather conditions.

Box List

Box 1                        
    “History of the Helge Knutson Family”      
      Handwritten draft by Rosa Knutson Gangestad, undated (5 folders)  
      Photocopies of handwritten draft, undated (5 folders)  
      Typed version edited by Clara Helena Gangestad Liljedahl, undated  

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This page was created April 26, 2005.