List of Norwegian Americans

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This is a list of notable Norwegian Americans, including both original immigrants who obtained American citizenship and their American descendants.

The list is ordered by category of human endeavour. Persons with significant contributions in two fields are listed in both of the pertinent categories, to facilitate easy lookup.

To be included in this list, the person must have a Wikipedia article showing they are Norwegian American or must have references showing they are Norwegian American and are notable.



Historians and sociologists

  • Kenneth O. Bjork – (1909–1991) American professor, historian and author
  • Carl Blegen – (1887–1971) American archaeologist famous for his work on the site of Pylos in modern-day Greece and Troy in modern-day Turkey.
  • Theodore C. Blegen – (1891–1969) American historian and author
  • Elise M. Boulding – (1920–2010) Quaker sociologist Norwegian, and author credited as a major contributor to creating the academic discipline of Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Odd S. Lovoll – American author, historian and educator
  • Peter A. Munch – (1908–1984) Norwegian-American sociologist, educator and author
  • Carlton C. Qualey – (1904–1988) American professor, author and historian
  • Rick Steves – American author, historian
  • Martin Ulvestad – (1865–1942) American historian and author whose writings focused on Norwegian-American immigration
  • Thorstein Veblen – (1857–1929) American economist and sociologist



Actors and actresses

Peter Graves
Melanie Griffith
Lance Henriksen
Priscilla Presley

Screenwriters, directors and producers of film

Singers and musicians

Peggy Lee



Boomer Esiason



  • Linda Avey — Founder of 23andMe, the consumer genetics company
  • Simon Benson – (1852–1942) noted businessman and philanthropist
  • Alden W. Clausen – former President of the World Bank
  • William Copeland (brewer), Copeland was born Johan Martinius Thoresen in Arendal in Norway before he moved to USA. He set up a brewery in Japan which today is known as Kirin Beer.
  • Ralph Evinrude – (1907–1986) American business magnate best known for being the Chairman of Outboard Marine Corporation
  • H. P. Faye – (1859–1928) Norwegian-born businessman who developed sugar cane plantations on west Kauai
  • Gary Haugen – President and CEO of International Justice Mission
  • H. G. Haugan – Norwegian-born, American railroad´s executive
  • Barron Hilton – American socialite, hotel heir, former co-chairman of the Hilton Hotels chain
  • Conrad Hilton – (1887–1979) American hotelier and founder of the Hilton Hotels chain
  • Conrad Hilton, Jr. – (1926–1969) American socialite, hotel heir, businessman
  • Richard Hilton – Chairman and co-founder of Hilton & Hyland
  • Turi Josefsen – Norwegian-born, American businesswoman
  • Fred Kavli – Norwegian and naturalized American physicist, business leader, inventor, and philanthropist
  • N. O. Nelson – (1844–1922) the founder of the N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company
  • Kjell Qvale – Norwegian- born business executive
  • Tova Traesnaes – Norwegian-born American business-woman. She is the founder of the Beauty By Tova cosmetics featured on QVC
  • James Trane – (1857–1936) the co-founder of Trane
  • Reuben Trane – (1886–1954) founded Trane, the heating and air conditioning company, with his father James Trane


Charles Schulz

Explorers and founders


Eric Sevareid


Earl Warren



  • Peter C. Assersen – (1839–1906) Norwegian-born, American civil engineer and Rear Admiral in the United States Navy
  • Quentin Aanenson – (1921–2008) Captain of the 391st Fighter Squadron featured in Ken Burn's 2007 documentary The War
  • Bernt Balchen – (1899–1973), winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Norwegian native and later U.S. citizen, known as a pioneer polar aviator, navigator, aircraft mechanical engineer and military leader
  • Bowe Bergdahl – United States Army soldier of Norwegian and Swedish descent. Captured by the Taliban.
  • Margarethe Cammermeyer – former colonel in the Washington National Guard and a gay rights activist
  • Fred J. Christensen – (1921–2006) fighter pilot and ace with the United States Army Air Forces during World War II
  • Gail Halvorsen – retired career officer and command pilot in the United States Air Force (The Candy Bomber)
  • Louis J. Hauge, Jr. – (1924–1945) United States Marine
  • Orin D. Haugen – (1907–1945) Colonel in the United States Army
  • Knut Haukelid – (1911–1994) Norwegian resistance movement soldier during World War II
  • Hans Christian Heg - (1829-1863) Norwegian-born abolitionist, journalist, anti-slavery activist, politician and soldier, led Scandinavian 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment on Union side in American Civil War. Died of the wounds received at Battle of Chickamauga.
  • Olaf M. Hustvedt – (1886–1978) United States Navy vice admiral, World War II battleship commander and twice recipient of the Legion of Merit
  • Ole C. Johnson – (1838–1886) Norwegian-American soldier in the American Civil War
  • Lauris Norstad – (1907–1988) American General in the United States Army Air Forces and United States Air Force
  • Ralph Ofstie – (1897–1956) United States Navy vice admiral, World War II aircraft carrier commander and post war commander of the United States Sixth Fleet
  • Ludwig Andreas Olsen – (1845–1886) also known as Louis Williams, United States Navy sailor
  • George William Rud – (1883–1916) United States Navy Chief Machinist's Mate
  • Thorvald A. Solberg – (1894–1964) United States Navy rear admiral, twice recipient of the Legion of Merit, and head of the Office of Naval Research.
  • Andrew V. Stoltenberg – (1865–1921) United States Navy sailor and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Philippine–American War.
  • Leif J. Sverdrup – (1898–1976) Norwegian-born American civil engineer and general with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the first half of the 20th century.
  • Jacob Thorkelson – (1876–1945) American elected official, Naval officer and medical doctor
  • Karl Westa – (1875–1949) United States Navy sailor


Hubert H. Humphrey
Henry M. Jackson
Warren G. Magnuson
Walter Mondale
Kristi Noem



  • Marcus Borg – American Biblical scholar and author
  • Elling Eielsen – (1804–1883) American minister and Lutheran Church leader.
  • John O. Evjen – (1874–1942) American author, Lutheran church historian and professor of theology
  • Albert C. Knudson – (1873–1953) Christian theologian in the Methodist tradition
  • U. V. Koren – (1826–1910) American author, theologian and church leader
  • Bernt Julius Muus – (1832–1900) Norwegian-born, Lutheran minister and church leader
  • Russell M. Nelson – President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Olaf M. Norlie – (1876–1962), also referred to as O. M. Norlie, Lutheran minister, educator and scholar
  • Sven Oftedal – (1844–1911) Norwegian-born, Lutheran minister who helped found the Lutheran Free Church
  • Jacob Aall Ottesen Preus – American Lutheran clergy
  • J. A. O. Preus II – (1920–1994) Lutheran pastor, professor, author, and church president
  • Herman Amberg Preus – (1825–1894) American Lutheran clergyman and church leader
  • Canute Peterson – (1824–1902) Norwegian Mormon pioneer settler of Utah Territory
  • Christian Keyser Preus – (1852–1921) American Lutheran Minister who served as the second President of Luther College
  • Robert Preus – (1924–1995) American Lutheran pastor, professor, author, and seminary president
  • August Weenaas – (1835–1924) Norwegian-born Lutheran minister and educator
  • William S. Skylstad – American Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Peer Stromme – (1856–1921) American pastor, teacher, journalist, and author
  • Hans Gerhard Stub – (1849–1931) American Lutheran theologian and church leader
  • Georg Sverdrup (theologian) – (1848–1907) Norwegian-born Lutheran theologian and an educator
  • Nils Otto Tank – (1800–1864) Moravian Church missionary
  • Jacob Tanner – Norwegian-born, Lutheran minister, educator and religious author
  • Abraham Vereide – (1886–1969) Norwegian-born Methodist clergyman and founder of Goodwill Industries of Seattle
  • John A. Widtsoe – (1872–1952) member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Mildred Bangs Wynkoop – (1905–1997) ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene, who served as an educator, missionary and theologian


Ernest O. Lawrence
Sally Ride
  • Philip Abelson – (1913–2004) American physicist, scientific editor, and science writer
  • Christian B. Anfinsen – (1916–1995) American biochemist
  • Peter Agre – American medical doctor, professor, and molecular biologist
  • Neal Amundson – (1916–2011) American chemical engineer
  • John August Anderson - (1876 – 1959) was an American astronomer. The crater Anderson on the Moon is named after him
  • Erik Asphaug – American planetary scientist, winner of Urey Prize
  • Gunvald Aus – (1851–1950) Norwegian-American engineer
  • Earl Bakken – engineer, businessman and philanthropist of Dutch and Norwegian American ancestry
  • Carl Georg Barth – (1860–1939) Norwegian-American mathematician and mechanical engineer
  • Magnus Bjorndal – (September 13, 1899 – January 23, 1971) Norwegian American engineer and inventor
  • Eduard Boeckmann – (1849–1927) Norwegian American ophthalmologist, physician and inventor
  • William A. Bugge – (1900–1992) civil engineer
  • Robert A. Dahl – Sterling Professor emeritus of political science at Yale University
  • Olin J. Eggen – (1919–1998) American astronomer
  • Douglas Engelbart – American inventor and early computer pioneer and internet pioneer
  • Ole Evinrude – (1877–1934) Norwegian-American inventor, known for the invention of the first outboard motor with practical commercial application.
  • Joe Foss – (1915–2003) leading fighter ace of the United States Marine Corps during World War II
  • Mike Fossum – American astronaut
  • Frederick C. Finkle – (1865–1949) American consulting engineer and geologist
  • Ivar Giaever – physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973
  • Clarence Gonstead – (1898–1978) Doctor of Chiropractic and creator of the Gonstead Technique
  • Lars Grimsrud – aerospace engineer and performance automobile
  • Adolph Gundersen – (1865–1938) Norwegian-born American medical doctor and founder of Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center
  • Robert C. Gunderson – (1931–2003) first supervisor of the Genealogical Society of Utah's Royalty Identification Unit
  • Lawrence R. Hafstad – 1904–1993) American physicist and son of two Norwegian immigrants. Created first nuclear fission reaction in the United States.
  • Alf Hjort – (1877–1944) Norwegian-born American electrical engineer
  • Iver Johnson – U.S. firearms, bicycle, and motorcycle manufacturer
  • Robert B. Ingebretsen – (1948–2003) pioneer in the development of digital sound
  • Gary Kildall – (1942–1994) American computer scientist and microcomputer entrepreneur who created the CP/M operating system and founded Digital Research, Inc.
  • Carl Otto Lampland – (1873–1951) American astronomer
  • Norman Bernard Larsen (1923–1970) American industrial chemist who is sometimes credited with the invention of WD-40.
  • Ernest Lawrence – (1901–1958) American physicist and Nobel Laureate
  • John H. Lawrence – (1904–1991) American physicist and physician best known for pioneering the field of nuclear medicine
  • Mark C. Lee – (1952–) American astronaut
  • C. Walton Lillehei – (1918–1999) American surgeon who pioneered open-heart surgery
  • Brian D. Metzger - (1981 -) Discovered how gold and heavier elements are created in the universe; coined the phrase kilonovae;
  • Alfred M. Moen – (1916–2001) American inventor and founder of Moen, Inc.
  • Olaus Murie – (1889–1963) called the "father of modern elk management", was a naturalist, author, and wildlife biologist
  • Nathan Myhrvold – formerly Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, is co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, and referred to by many as a patent troll.
  • Ted Nelson – American sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology
  • Peter Norman Nissen – (1871–1930) Canadian-American resident in United States. A mining engineer, developed the prefabricated shelter called the Nissen hut in 1916
  • Karen Nyberg, mechanical engineer and retired NASA astronaut. Nyberg became the 50th woman in space on her first mission in 2008. First person to ever sew in space.
  • Ken Olsen – (1926–2011) American engineer who co-founded Digital Equipment Corporation
  • Tinius Olsen – (1845–1932) Norwegian-born American engineer and inventor
  • Charles J. Pedersen – (1904–1989) American organic chemist best known for describing methods of synthesizing crown ethers
  • Lars Onsager – (1903–1976) Norwegian-born American physical chemist and theoretical physicist
  • Sally Ride – (1951–2012) American physicist and former NASA astronaut
  • Ole Singstad – (1882–1969) Norwegian-American civil engineer who innovated the ventilation system for the Holland Tunnel
  • Marius Nygaard Smith-Petersen – (1886–1953) Norwegian-born American physician and orthopaedic surgeon
  • George Schlukbier – North American innovator who in the 1990s built Nando
  • Elias Anton Cappelen Smith – (1873–1949) Norwegian American civil engineer and metallurgist
  • Theodore Theodorsen – (1897–1978) Norwegian-American theoretical aerodynamicist noted for his work at NACA (the forerunner of NASA) and for his contributions to the study of turbulence
  • Merle A. Tuve – (1901–1982) American scientist and geophysicist, the founding director of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Oswald Veblen – (1880–1960) American mathematician, geometer and topologist


  • Erik Eriksen (explorer) – (1820–1888) Norwegian ice sea captain born in Lyngør, Norway
  • Thea Foss – (1857–1927) the founder of Foss Maritime, the largest tugboat company in the western United States.
  • Andrew Furuseth – (1854–1938) Norwegian-born merchant seaman and American labor lead
  • Sig Hansen (1966– ) – TV personality, and Captain of the fishing vessel Northwestern, featured in the TV series Deadliest Catch
  • Harry Lundeberg – (1901–1957) merchant seaman and an American labor leader.
  • G. Unger Vetlesen – (1889–1959) Norwegian shipbuilder and naturalized American philanthropist


Visual artists

  • Mikkel Aaland – American photographer known for work in the early days of digital photography
  • Hendrik Christian Andersen – (1872–1940) American sculptor, painter and urban planner
  • Gene Amondson – (1943–2009) landscape painter, woodcarver, Christian minister and prohibition activist
  • Sigvald Asbjornsen – (1867–1954) Norwegian-born sculptor
  • Earl W. Bascom – (1906–1995) cowboy artist and sculptor, "cowboy of cowboy artists"
  • Jon-Erik Beckjord – (1939–2008) paranormal investigator and photographer known for his far-reaching ideas regarding such phenomena as UFOs, crop circles, the Loch Ness Monster, and his specialty, Bigfoot
  • Emil Biorn – (1864–1935) Norwegian-born, American sculptor, painter and composer
  • Benjamin Blessum – (1877–1954) American painter, graphic artist and illustrator
  • Bjorn Egeli – (1900–1984) Norwegian-born portrait artist
  • Jacob Fjelde – (1855–1896) Norwegian-born American sculptor
  • Pauline Fjelde – (1861–1923) Norwegian-born American painter, embroiderer, and textile artist
  • Paul Fjelde – (1892–1984) noted American sculptor and educator
  • Alexander Grinager – (1865–1949) American artist most noted for his murals and scenic painting
  • Herbjørn Gausta – (1854–1924) American artist best known for his landscapes, portraits and scenes from rural settings
  • Al Hansen – (1927–1995) American artist considered one of the most important Fluxus figures
  • Lars Jonson Haukaness – (1863–1929) Norwegian-born American-Canadian impressionist painter and art instructor
  • Per Lysne – (1880–1947) artist most associated with bringing the traditional Norwegian folk art of Rosemaling to the United States
  • Carl Manzo – (born 1964) artist of Norwegian, German and Italian ancestry
  • Eric Norstad – noted ceramicist and architect
  • Karl Ouren – (1882–1943) Norwegian-born artist best known for his paintings of Norwegian landscapes and scenes
  • Shag – American artist
  • Yngvar Sonnichsen – (1873–1938) Norwegian-born American artist and painter
  • Svend Rasmussen Svendsen – (1864–1945) Norwegian-born American impressionist artist.
  • Trygve Rovelstad – (1903–1990) renowned sculptor and designer of medals
  • Dan Weggeland – (1827–1918) considered the "Father of Utah Art", artist and teacher in the early history of Utah

Writers and editors

Norman Borlaug


Eliot Ness
  • Gunvald Aus – Norwegian-American engineer, most associated with the engineering of the Woolworth Building in New York City together with fellow Norwegian Kort Berle
  • Gunnar Berg (Scouting) – (1897–1987) national director of the Boy Scouts of America
  • Norman Borlaug – (1914–2009) American agronomist, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate who has been called "the father of the Green Revolution"
  • Ward Christensen - co-founder of bulletin board system (BBS)
  • Ophelia Dahl – American social justice and health care advocate
  • Steve Dahl – Chicago radio personality and humorist
  • Jeffrey Dahmer — Serial killer; Mother was from Norwegian ancestry
  • Helga Estby – (1860–1942) Norwegian-American immigrant most noted for her walk across the United States during 1896
  • David Grose – (1944–2004) world-renowned authority on the classification of early ancient glass from the Roman period
  • George Harbo – (1870–1946) Norwegian-born American who in 1896, became the first people ever to row across an ocean.
  • Alf Gundersen
  • Belle Gunness – (1859–c. 1908) Norwegian-born American serial killer
  • Clint Hill (Secret Service) – Secret Service agent who was the one that jumped onto the back of President JFK's car during assassination.
  • Paris Hilton – American heiress and media personality. She is a great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton (founder of Hilton Hotels)
  • Oscar Hauge – (1868–1945) served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
  • Merle Hansen – (1919–2009) founding president of the North American Farm Alliance and a spokesman for the plight of family farmers.
  • Thom Hartmann – (born 1951) Progressive/liberal talk radio host and author. Founded the theory of the Hunter vs. farmer hypothesis in regard to Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Founded The Hunter School in Rumney, New Hampshire – which he co-founded with his wife Louise.
  • Clarence Iverson – popular radio personalities in the Midwest during the 1930s and 1940s
  • Gunnar Kaasen – (1882–1960) Norwegian-born musher who delivered a cylinder containing 300,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Alaska, in 1925, as the last leg of a dog sled relay that saved the U.S. city from an epidemic
  • Eliot Ness – (1903–1957) American Prohibition agent, famous for his efforts to enforce Prohibition in Chicago, Illinois, also the leader of team The Untouchables
  • Pat Paulsen – (1927–1997) American comedian and satirist notable for his roles on several of the Smothers Brothers TV shows, and for his campaigns for President of the United States
  • Gary O. Rollefson – American anthropologist
  • Frank Samuelsen – (1870–1946) Norwegian-born American who in 1896, became the first people ever to row across an ocean
  • Tim Schafer – American computer game designer
  • Henry Seadlund - Kidnapper and killer who received the death sentence and was put to death by electric chair in Cook County Jail, Chicago, Illinois
  • Nels Skumsrud
  • Jacqueline Smith – Norwegian trade unionist
  • Thorvald Solberg – (1852–1949) first Register of Copyrights (1897–1930) in the United States Copyright Office
  • Frank Stephenson - (born 1959) Automobile designer
  • Kevin Alfred Strom – former managing director of National Vanguard
  • Per Ivarson Undi – (1803–1860) also known as Peter Iverson, early Norwegian-American homesteader in Wisconsin Territory

See also

Bill gates become the richest person in world Click here to see