My Hamsun curiosities: Knut Hamsun

Please click here to see more of my curiosities:

Hamsun's own handwriting Marie Hamsun The Hamsun family Art Miscellaneous The newest

A businesscard pasted into a German biography on Knut Hamsun. Sheer delight everytime I find something with Hamsun's handwriting. This time in at antiquarian in Freiburg.

Again an example of people's joy over receiving a letter from Knut Hamsun. The envelope is glued in the owner's copy of Pan from 1913 and one proudly ads: Hamsun's Handwriting. I found the book in an antiquarian bookshop in Copenhagen.

Cai M. Woel, author and publisher: Hamsun had apparently read one of his books and liked it. The year after, 1929, Woel wrote a book on Hamsun, called "Landstrygeren på Jorden" (Wanderer in the World). In 1959 Cai Woel writes on Hamsun's 100th jubilee: "Not only is he Norway's greatest poet, but also Scandinavia's - yes, a world-class poet beside Dostojevsky og Tolstoy, Dickens and Goethe".

Is this not typical Hamsunian: "My last book. I have many unwritten" ? We are in the year 1903 and imagine which perls are still to come from his hand! The book is a first edition of I Æventyrland.

This perl now belongs to the Hamsun-centre in Hamarøy.

(25/12.32. To the Norwegian Pen Club. Hereby I return this parcel, which supposedly contains a record, that I do not wish to posses. Sincerely Knut Hamsun.)

Is this not a perfect example of Hamsun's wellknown style? I wonder, who picked up the bits of paper from the wastepaper basket? Many thanks to him! And next to it is the record, which was refused - though hardly exactly this copy. Here Knut Hamsun spoke himself his poem "Bjørnson's Death", but the recording was disturbed by so many technical problems that Hamsun was not amused and rejected the record.

The letter now belongs to the Hamsun-centre in Hamarøy, the record is still in my collection.

What on earth is this? A postcard from Marie and Knut Hamsun - and then somebody, who found the stamp the most important and simply tore it off! A sacrilege!
The card is for the son-in-law Schneider Edenkoben on the occasion of the marriage of Tore and Lisbeth and is signed by both Marie and Knut.

A first edition of Kratskog with greeting: "Til Vilhelm Dybwad fra KH" (To Vilhelm Dybwad from KH).

"Ths. Hoftyes gt. 64a Oslo. 22 decbr.1948. Kjære Knut Hamsun, Man hugger de store trær i skogen - Dem burde man ha spart. Trods alt - God jul og godt nytår Hilsen Deres Bj. Woll"
(Ths. Hoftyes street 64a Oslo. Dec 22nd 1948. Dear Knut Hamsun, they are cutting down all big trees in the forest - those (you!) they ought to have spared. In spite of all - Merry christmas and a happy new year. Yours Bj. Woll)

"Synes at være en dristig Mand, med Navn og Adresse. Tak ham for hans venlige Hilsen.Si at jeg ser saa daarlig."
(He seems to be a brave man, giving his name and address. Thank him for his kind wishes. Tell him, that I see very badly)

A business card with Knut Hamsun's thanks to Mr. Kildal for his "kind rememberence" and an acid remark on the reviews in the United States of "Women" (at the pump) and his other "women". We recognise Hamsun's style!

The card was given to architect Steven Holl on 4. August 2009.

Three different letters from Knut Hamsun to his son Tore from 1946, 1948 and 1949. An especially difficult and hard period to get through, emotionally and with failing health. No matter what one might think of Knut Hamsun and his views, these letters from his last years are stirring.

The letter from 1948 now belongs to the Hamsun-centre in Hamarøy.

Director Altmann was apparently so pleased to recieve Hamsun's german edition of "Nach Jahr und Tag" with greetings, that he even cut out the wrapping paper with the address. Later the book found it's way back to Oslo, where I found it at an antiquarian. The book is now displayed onboard the Hurtigruten-ship M/S Midnatsol in it's Hamsun lounge.

It would have been interesting to known, which kind of "Elskværdighed" Knut Hamsun is thanking for here on the back of his business card.

(Mr. Vendelboe please recieve my heartfelt thanks for the amaibility. Yours faithfully Knut Hamsun. Elverum, September 18th.)

Handwritten telegram to the "Evening for Finland" arranged by the Pen-club, presumable written in January 1940 during the fund-raising campaign to help Finland in it's war against Russia.

I Æventyrland as proof copy

On the cover Knut Hamsun has written titel and author in ink.

On the title page he wrote: "Fru Erika Nissen fra Deres ærbødige Knut Hamsun" (Ms. Erika Nissen yours sincerely Knut Hamsun). Thanks to Professor Næss´ publishing of Hamsuns letters we know that the pianist Erika Nissen was fascinated by Hamsun and that they corresponded.

The cover is a sheet of paper with an unsigned pencil drawing of a toy. Is it from Knut Hamsuns hand? It is well possible, he did try himself in the pictoral arts as well and not without gift.The toy was well known by Hamsun, he described it so: To the children on the neighbour farm I will make a mill driven by wind. It makes a lot of noise and humming, I remember from my childhood that it was with a onomatopoietikon called Vindperre (Look back on Happiness 1912).
Tore Hamsun tells about his father: He was quite good at drawing. (All construction work on Nørholm was done according to his exact drawings. Details, ornaments above dors and windows, columns and profiles, all was done on his drawings.)...If I came unexpectedly into my studio, I several times caught my father before the easel occupied improving the painting I was working on. You know, I was not at all pleased with that. (Hamsun i Madrid 1990).

Erika Nissen has also secured a copy of "Ved Rigets Port", and written her name in the book.

Hamsun as illustrator

Isn't this selfportrait cute? Drawn on his 50th birthday in 1909. (From Knut Hamsun: Brev til Marie. Gyldendal 1970)

Signed photo.

"To Rev.Cornelius Greenway with thanks for greetings. Nørholm, 14/8.29 Yours respectfully Knut Hamsun."
How lucky can one be! Rev.Greenway lived from 1896 or 1898 to 1968, was a unitarian priest at Unitarianchurch Taunton, Massechusetts and All Souls Universalist Church, Brooklyn N.Y. and a passionate autograph collector. He has probably written Hamsun on his 70. birthday and asked for the picture and autograph. The photo (18 x 28 cm) was found at an antiquarian in Los Angeles.

Photo with greeting (carte de visite)

Til Erik Holm I Ærbødighed fra Knut Hamsun 1890. (To Erik Holm Yours truely Knut Hamsun 1890). According to the publisher of Hamsuns letters, Harald Næss, Erich Holm is a nom de plume of Mathilde Prager (1844-95) austrian literary reviewer and translator of scandinavian poets. I did wonder, how a photo with greetings in norwegian to a man(!) with a nordic name was for sale in Vienna, Austria. The photo is mounted on cardboard (6 x 10 cm) by photographer by Appointment to H.M. the King E. Hohlenberg, Copenhagen.

Signed portrait.

Nørholm, 22/3-31 Knut Hamsun. The picture is not a photo but a cut out of a magazine and mounted for the occasion on cardboard (17 x 21 cm), but from which magazine and to whom was it given?

August with German greeting

"Mit herzlichem Dank für alles! Knut Hamsun. Berlin 27-6-43." (Thank you so much for all! Knut Hamsun. Berlin 27-6-43) Knut Hamsun wrote in ink in this german edition of August from 1942. To whom these thanks are directed is not known, but the date is interesting: It is the day after Hamsuns tempestous meeting with Hitler. Was the greeting to one of the head nazi's, to a driver or a chambermaid?

The book now belongs to the Hamsun-centre in Hamarøy.

Victoria und Schwärmer.

Unfortunately Knut Hamsun did not date his greeting in this german edition of Victoria and Dreamers from 1936, but included is a german newspaper article from 24.06.1943.

Growth of the Soil

Not a first edition and not an especially beautiful copy. What is here extraordinary? Yes, Knut Hamsuns own greeting dated 9.Dec. 1921. The book is now in Germany, belonging to the director Sebastian Hartmann.

Letter and inscription

In "Det vilde Kor" Hamsun has written an inscription to Miss Lisken Dahl. In the book was also a letter to the same Miss Dahl, where Hamsun admitted: "Yes I always answer people from Northern Norway. And I love them all." We can only agree with Hamsun here.

The book and the letter now belong to the Hamsun-centre in Hamarøy.


Here Hamsun apparently answered one of the innumerous requests for aid, that the (after the Nobel price) famous author continuosly recieved. Unfortunately: "I do not posses my books either" ! The letter is now displayed onboard the Hurtigruten-ship M/S Midnatsol in it's Hamsun lounge.


to Miss Rasmussen in Copenhagen with many thanks for the book. We do not know which book my namesake has sent to Hamsun.

Draft letter.

"Det er ganske unødig at skrive "udførlige" Breve og føre Forhandlinger om Saken mere..." (It is utterly unneccesary to write "elaborate" letters and negotiate the matter any more...). Draft for a reply to Peter Emanuel Hansen written on the back of Hansens letter to Hamsun. Dated Koppang, 21.June 1910. P.E.Hansen was Hamsuns translator into russian.

Letter toTore

from Arild, where Knut Hamsun asks one of his sons to ask the other son to write to the publishing house Gyldendal, with comments from mother Marie in the margin. Dated 24.02.1948.


"Oplandske Café?" Postcard to E.K.Frydenlund. Stamped 1889. I´m curious: Was was to happen at the café?
The original now belong to Stiftelsen Frydenlund in Aurdal.

Postcard. 31 Decbr.1918.

An excellent way to please a friend: You ask Knut Hamsun to sign a postcard, you do not keep it yourself but mail it to your Hamsun admiring friend.
Here Hamsun still spells the place Nørholmen, which was later STRICTLY forbidden. The name of the farm was Nørholm!

It's always interesting to read Knut's and Marie's small questions and commentaries to one another whilst answering correspondence. Here are some more examples:

Also drafts for correspondence were written on the unused back of the letters received.

To each letter Knut Hamsun always wrote drafts. They were kept in his archive - it was before the time of the photocopy. Here are drafts for two letter, one written on the back of the other.

Here Knut himself made a transcript of his letter to barrister Nørregaard.

A very respectful and honourable greeting on Hamsun's 70th birthday in 1929 from the German Academy of fine Arts. On the back of the envelope Hamsun has written his thanks in Norwegian and Marie has translated it into German.

Drafts for two letters. One on the unused back of another letter.

A receipt for the subscription for the newspaper "Politiken" with Hamsun's commentaries to a draft letter.

Business card

"August" with Hamsuns handwritten business card, believe it or not! Hamsuns business card glue in on the first page, I wonder who had been the happy owners before. Found at an antiquarian in Oslo.

Business card

found at an antiquarian in Copenhagen (9 x 11 cm).

To the Author, Mr....

A serious complaint and letter of resignation to the language advisory committee as it had dared to call Hamsun "author".


On this ordering form for an antiquarian package of books Knut Hamsun called himself "author". We smile and remember, that later he considered the title author appropriate for a debutant and his own occupation as that of a farmer!
The ordering form I found in my first edition of Pan.

Ordering books is easy,

when the publishing house Gyldendal pays for you. Again I was lucky to find a rather unusual Hamsun souvenir.
(Please ask Gyldendal to be so kind to pay the book. Show this note. Hamsun, Grimstad, Norway).


What was sent in this parcel is not known.


I own more envelopes all adressed to Tore Hamsun from 1935 - 49. One has a drawing at the back, doesn't it resemble Tore? - I wonder, who was the artist? Another has at the back Knut Hamsuns seal with the initials K - H. You easily recognise Hamsuns pencil at the back of the envelope of the letter to Tore in 1949: "You do realize, that I must have all papers back!"

"Hr.Iversen, min Ven

med Tak og Hilsen" (Mr.Iversen, my friend with thanks and greetings), Hamsun writes 30.November.1943 on a photo from 1939 "als ich 80 Jahre war" (when I was 80 years old).
Olaf Iversen, german cartoonist and publisher of the magazine Simplisissimus visited Hamsun at Nørholm for 3 weeks the year after. He was acquinted with Ellinor Hamsun from her stay in Germany.
Found in Marie Hamsun: Die Letzten Jahre mit Knut Hamsun.

"Lieber Knut

und Familie.." (Dear Knut and family..) How can a letter dated 15.January 47 in Hamburg (Blankenese!) to a butcher in Vejle, Denmark be sent to the author in Grimstad, Norway? Knud Hamsun added with a pencil "Han burra faa Brevet tilbakesendt han har feilaktig sent det til meg." (He should have the letter back as he sent it by mistake to me).

Please click here to see more of my curiosities:

Hamsun's own handwriting Marie Hamsun The Hamsun family Art Miscellaneous The newest

© Kirsten Hedvig Rasmussen