Simon Johnson, also known as the "Prairie's Author," was born in Oier, Guldbrandsdalen, Norway on September 26, 1874. In 1883, his family moved to the United States. They settled in the Dakota Territory in Norway Township, Traill County, near Hillsboro, North Dakota.
As the only brother of eight sisters, Johnson remained on the family farm until the death of his mother in 1919. Four novels of his had already been published, as well as several stories. In 1911, he was awarded the Norwegian Literary Award from the piece "Lonea."
Leaving the farm in 1919, Johnson went to Grand Forks, North Dakota, to edit Normanden, a Norwegian-language newspaper. He resigned in 1924 to later become editor of the Decorah Posten in Decorah, Iowa, in 1929. After 1925, Johnson published no additional major works.
Simon Johnson died in July 1970.
Donation by numerous donors at separate times:
Playford Thorson, Grand Forks, North Dakota, on May 7, 1999, Acc.99-2326
The Simon Johnson Papers contain translations of ballads, poems and short stories written by Johnson. The collection also includes biographical publications regarding Johnson, plus commentaries on his writing style and his fictionalized accounts of Norwegian-American life in the Red River Valley.
Ten photographs were separated and placed in the Photograph File Cabinets.