Julius Olson

Credentials: 1858 - 1944

Julius Olson was known for his work as a professor of Scandinavian languages and author. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin (B.A., 1884). Olson became an instructor in German and Scandinavian languages at the University of Wisconsin in 1884. He was named assistant professor in 1887, and from 1892 until his retirement to emeritus status in 1931 was professor of Scandinavian languages. Olson was the author of A Norwegian Grammar and Reader (1898), an edition of Ibsen’s play, Brand (1908), and numerous articles on Scandinavian language and literature, but his chief contribution came through his teaching. His colorful and enthusiastic lectures attracted large numbers of students and instilled in many an enthusiasm for Scandinavian literature. Olson preserved the legacy of Scandinavian scholarship left the university by R. B. Anderson, popularized and expanded it, to make the University of Wisconsin one of the leading centers of Scandinavian studies in the nation. From 1900 to 1907 Olson was editor of the university publications; he was also chairman of the committee on loans and scholarships (1905-1933), and for many years presided over university commencements and similar functions. After retiring to emeritus status in 1931, he continued to live in Madison until his death.