The unique Nordic Collections consist of more than thirty thousand volumes, augmented by hundreds of pamphlets, reprints, articles, and extensive files of news releases from Scandinavian governments. The Collections began with the personal library of Waldemar Westergaard who started his teaching career at Pomona College before moving to UCLA. Shortly before World War II, he and a colleague David Bjork traveled up and down the Baltic photographing documents they could not buy. “Westy’s” heart remained with Pomona, and before his death in 1963, he bequeathed his library to Pomona College “for the promotion of research and related activities in the field of Northern European and Baltic history (primarily but not exclusively Scandinavian).”

The original gift of some ten thousand volumes emphasized the history of the Middle Ages in the North, including the birth of northern cities and monarchic states, the Hanseatic League, and the Vikings. Additions have come with purchases and contributions of the personal libraries of David Bjork, John Wuorinen, Eric Bellquist, Henry Commager, Franklin Scott, Ray Lindgren and others. These gifts focus on the more recent period and special topics such as immigration to America, the welfare state, North Sea oil, etc.

The Westergaard endowment made possible the collection of major Nordic historical journals, dictionaries, reference works, bibliographies, and selected scholarly studies. Much material comes from banks, the Industriens Utrednings Institut, and the Nordic Council.

The “pearl” of the Collections is the huge and handsome Erik Dahlberg’s Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna, but for researchers the greatest value lies in the primary source materials—the Diplomatarium Danicum, the Liv-, Esth-, und Curlandischer Urkunden (fifteen volumes), the works of Olaus Magnus, the memoirs of modern statesmen and soldiers, and economic and political records. Vertical files contain much current material mostly in English of value to students of economics, sociology, and government.

For more information:

Blais (the online catalog)

Contact Special Collections

For further information in the Honnold Library Record:

“The Waldemar Westergaard Collection,” which appeared in the Honnold Library Record, Vol. V, No.2, Fall 1962.

“The David K. Bjork Collection and The History of Northern Europe,” which appeared in the Honnold Library Record, Vol. VIII, No.1, Spring 1965.

“Scandinavian Collections in the Honnold Library,” which appeared in the Honnold Library Record, Vol. XI, No.1, Spring 1970.

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