Oscar Albert Johnsen
Born(1876-10-13)October 13, 1876
DiedOctober 11, 1954(1954-10-11) (aged 77)
ChildrenArne Odd Johnsen

Oscar Albert Johnsen (October 13, 1876 – October 11, 1954) was a Norwegian historian. He published a number of books on historical topics.[1][2]


Johnsen became a student a 1896; he graduated with a master's degree in 1898, and in 1906 he received a PhD with his dissertation De norske stænder (The Norwegian Estates).[1] In 1906 and 1907 he studied as a government scholar in Copenhagen, Paris, and Berlin. Later, he made a number of study trips abroad, including to England, Germany, and the Baltic countries. He was professor of history at the University of Oslo from 1913 to 1945.[1][2]

Johnsen and Halvdan Koht influenced Norwegian historiography in the 1900s through their views that there was no constitutional equality between Denmark and Norway after the introduction of the absolute monarchy in AD 1660.[3]

Together with the teachers Lorens Berg from Andebu and Jacob Aaland from Nordfjord, as well as Edvard Bull Sr., Johnsen was central to the new local historical movement that arose after the dissolution of the union. This led to the establishment of the National Society for Rural and Urban History (Landslaget for bygde- og byhistorie) in 1920, where Johnsen served as chairman from the its beginning until 1945. Johnsen, Berg, and Aaland worked closely together and set the standard for the modern local history book (bygdebok). They orientated themselves beyond the discipline of history and studied life in a small community based on source-critical studies in local and national archives.[4]

During the Second World War, the nationally conservative Johnsen was head of the newly created Institute for Medieval Texts (Institutt for middelaldertekster). The institute did not receive any special support from the Germans, but the Nasjonal Samling party was very interested in it. Johnsen was accused of cooperating too strongly with the Nazi ministry.[5]

Johnsen was the editor of the journal Heimen from 1922 to 1945 and the editor of the local history yearbook Vestfoldminne from 1924 to 1932.[1] He was a recipient of the Swedish Order of the Polar Star.[1]

In 1901 Johnson married Anna Evie Tollefsen (1877–1944), the daughter of Even Tollefsen, the inventor of the tanker.[1] They had four children, the youngest of whom was the historian Arne Odd Johnsen.[1]





  1. ^ a b c d e f g Svendsen, Åsmund (2014). "Oscar Albert Johnsen". Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Wasberg, Gunnar Christie (2014). "Oscar Albert Johnsen". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  3. ^ Knut Sprauten (1997). "Mellom reformasjon og einevelde 1536–1660: Den dansknorske heilstaten 1660–1807". In Tønnesson, Kåre (ed.). Spor i tid – Norge før 1850. Oslo: Aschehoug. pp. 98–147. Archived from the original on 2005-05-16. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  4. ^ Glette, Kåre (March 10, 2003). "Presentasjon: Lorens Berg". Høgskolen i Vestfold. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  5. ^ Vogt, Yngve (February 1, 2012). "De fleste naziprofessorene var udugelige". Apollon. Retrieved January 29, 2020.