Guide to the Olaf Torgersen Collection, 1907-1957
Special Collections & Archives
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330
Phone: (818) 677-2832
Fax: (818) 677-2589
completed: July 10, 2013
© Copyright 2013 Special Collections & Archives. All rights reserved.
Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: Olaf Torgersen Collection
0.23 linear feet
Language of Materials:
Old China Hands Archives
Abstract: Olaf Torgersen was born in 1885 in
Larvik, Norway. He left Norway in 1914 to work as a sea captain in China and Hong Kong,
where he captained a number of ships until returning to Oslo, Norway, with his wife in
1951. The collection contains the personal and professional papers of Torgensen,
including identification cards and passports, his master's certificates and records
related to his service on various ships, and personal correspondence, ephemera, and
Olaf Torgersen was born in 1885 in Larvik, Norway. He left Norway in 1914 to work as a
sea captain in China, where he captained a number of ships to various destinations
around Southeast Asia. He also met and married Mary Fischer while in China, who had four
children from a previous marriage, including Elsa Shelton Miller. On December 8, 1941,
his ship was captured by the Japanese Naval Forces in the waters near Shanghai. He was
imprisoned for a month in Shanghai before being sent to Sasebo, Japan, for questioning.
He was eventually released in June of 1942, but did not find work again for 3 and a half
years. In 1951, he and his wife returned to Norway and settled in Lillehammer.
This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Genre/Form of Material:
Jessica Geiser, 2013
Conditions Governing Use:
Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s)
of this collection has not been transferred to California State University,
Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or
reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond
that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.
Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of
the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Conditions Governing Access:
The collection is open for research use.
[Identification of item], [date],
, Special Collections and Archives, Oviatt Library, California
State University, Northridge.
Arrangement of Materials:
Series I: Identification Documents, 1914-1952
Series II: Career Records, 1907-1950
Series III: Personal Materials, 1927-1957
Scope and Contents
The Olaf Torgersen Collection consists of personal and professional documents related to
Torgersen's life as a sea captain in China and Hong Kong. The collection is divided
into three series: Identification Documents (1914-1952), Career Records (1907-1950), and
Personal Materials (1927-1957).
Series I, Identification Documents, consists of various vital records belonging to
Torgersen, including his baptismal certificate, two Norwegian passports, a Chinese
sailor's identification booklet, an official Chinese identification card, a medical
information card and a business card.
Series II, Career Records, contains records relating to Torgersen's work as a sea
captain. Items in the series include letters verifying Torgersen's service on a
number of ships, master's certifications from Norway, China, and Panama allowing
Torgersen to captain vessels, statistics taken regarding a shipping route from Shanghai
to Keelung, and a statement written by Torgersen seeking damages for losses suffered by
him during World War II.
Series III, Personal Materials, contains miscellaneous correspondence, ephemera and
documents related to Torgersen's life in China and Hong Kong. Items in the series
include membership cards, receipts, newspaper articles, correspondence about loan
assistance, a ticket to the Hong Kong Jockey Club and a postcard sent to Torgersen in
Norway in the 1950s.
Detailed List of Contents
Box 1, Folder 1
1923 May 23
Box 1, Folder 2
Box 1, Folder 3
Sailor Identification Booklet,
Box 1, Folder 4
Identification, Medical Assistance and Business Cards,
Flat File 1, Item 1
Box 1, Folder 5
Box 1, Folder 6
Norwegian Sea Captain's Certificate,
Box 1, Folder 7
Panamanian Sea Captain's Certificates,
Box 1, Folder 8
Statement Seeking Compensation for Damages Suffered as a Prisoner of
the Japanese During World War II,
1946 July 31
Box 1, Folder 9
Shanghai-Keelung-Kana-Keelung Route Information
Flat File 1, Item 2
Chinese Sea Captain's Certificate,
Box 1, Folder 10, Item 1
Lodge Cosmopolitan No. 428 Life Member's Card,
1927 July 15
Box 1, Folder 10, Item 2
Receipt for Binoculars from Chinese National Relief and Rehabilitation
1947 May 24
Box 1, Folder 10, Item 3
Newspaper Article on Captain A.A. Warild,
Box 1, Folder 10, Item 4
Loan Assistance Letter from Norwegian Consulate,
1951 April 2
Box 1, Folder 10, Item 5
Receipt for Two Plane Tickets from Hong Kong to Oslo,
Box 1, Folder 10, Item 6
Ticket to a Hong Kong Jockey Club Event,
Box 1, Folder 10, Item 7
Postcard to Olaf Torgersen from Harald Odberg,