Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Real People Behind Oleanna

Oleanna was inspired by the lives of my mom's grandfather John and his sisters Elisabeth and Oleanna, which I detail in the Author's Note at the end of the book.

Here's a portrait of John, taken ca. 1911, when he was an early homesteader in North Dakota. Handsome fella, eh?

My mom visited Elisabeth and Oleanna on the farm in Norway in 1964, and brought back these photos of the farmhouse. Look at all those gorgeous weavings!

I wish I could get my hands on those photos on the wall!

And here's a photo of Oleanna (in the middle). Isn't she gorgeous?

And finally, here's a photo of John, my grandparents, my mom (isn't she beautiful!), and me, in 1974.

Obviously, all photos are from my private collection and may not be used without permission.


  1. Wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh I am SO GLAD you put these up!! I LOVE Oleanna, especially those boots; the image of her tromping around in John's was very real to me. You are very cute, btw... :))) What a treat of an entry, ta love!

  3. These are wonderful memories, Julie, and what great inspiration.

  4. I'm in love with those weavings!

  5. @Sarah and Lisa: Thank you! I re-discovered these photos well after I started writing Oleanna, and they were the best surprise!

    @Anna: this photo must have lodged in my brain when I first saw it when I was younger and the boots showed up in the story!

    @Meg: Right??? And from what mom told me, Elisabeth and Oleanna did most (if not all) of that weaving.

  6. Beautiful photos, Julie! ^^