When Sturlason Press Agency in Oslo closed its operation in the 1970s, the photo archive of nearly one million images was stowed away in a basement.
Svein A. Sturlason (1906-1989) started his business in Oslo in the 1930s. He photographed about 1600 theater performances in Oslo between 1942 and 1980 as well as hundreds of thousands of photographs from around the world, covering news, politics, social life, culture, royal history and wars from 1900 to the early 1960s.
The enormous press archive was stored in a basement and remained untouched until spring 2010. In 2010, the archive was reopened, and it was agreed that it would be deposited, supported by the Ministry of Culture and The Norwegian Freedom of Expression Foundation, in the National Archives, Riksarkivet.
There was no catalogue of the photographic material, so listing the contents of the archive has to be made from scratch. Samples taken so far show that the archive contains, besides many familiar images, several images which have never been seen. Most of the pictures in the collection have a typed text on the back explaining the time and place of the shot. These are valuable aids to identification.
The archive and the rights to all images in the collection belongs to Sturlason AS Polyfoto. Here Daily Scandinavian presents a selection of unique images from the collection.
Below, the Norwegian author Bjornstjerne Bjornsen and his wife Karoline Bjørnson (Aulestad 1897). Their daughter Bergliot Ibsen (Henrik Ibsen’s daughter in law) in the background. Photo: Visnes Dahl
Two Norwegian revue and film actors and theater directors Ernst Diesen (1913-1970) and Leif Juster (1910-1995)
Spanish dictator Francisco Franco (1892-1975) fishing in Spain.
The Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) (far left) passing the National Theatre in Oslo, 1906.
The Norwegian speed skater Hjalmar “Hjallis” Johan Andersen (1923 –2013) won three gold medals at the 1952 Winter Olympic Games of Oslo, Norway. He was the only triple gold medalist at the 1952 Winter Olympics, and as such, became the most successful athlete there.
King Haakon VII (1872-1957) known as Prince Carl of Denmark until 1905, was a Danish prince who became the first king of Norway after the 1905 dissolution of the union with Sweden. He reigned from November 1905 until his death in September 1957.
King Olav V (1903-1991) was king of Norway from 1957 until his death. Here with Crown-prince Harald (b. 1937 – now King Harald V of Norway).
King Olav V of Norway after the coronation in June 22 1958.
The Norwegian campaign during WWII, though hastily improvised, was meant to play to Britain’s maritime strength. Cutting off the supply of Swedish iron ore shipped through Narvik, which the Ministry of Economic Warfare believed could fatally weaken the German war effort in months — was dubious.
Queen Elizabeth at the Derby, photographed by Sturlason.
The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. The image was not signed and there is no info in its backside.
Sonja Henie (1912 – 1969). Three-time Olympic Champion, ten-time World Champion and six-time European Champion. Unknown time and place. Photo: Myres Press Agency
A Norwegian heritage, compiled by Tor Kjolberg