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Moltke Moe

Ingebret Moltke Moe (1859–1913) was a folklorist who from 1886 was employed at the Royal Frederick University in Oslo as professor of “the Norwegian Vernacular, with an obligation to also lecture on Norwegian folk traditions”.

Portrait of Moltke Moe. Photo.
Moltke Moe. Photo: NFS.

He continued the work of P. C. Asbjørnsen and his father Jørgen Moe, and is today regarded as the founder of folkloristics in Norway.

Molkte Moe received several stipends from the university, and later also from the Norwegian parliament, in order to travel at length around the region of Telemark in the 1880s and the 1890s and collect material.

He was famous for his exceptional ability to connect with people. Just as important as his published works was the influence he wielded among contemporaries as a vital force in Norwegian culture.

His sizeable manuscript collections form the core of the Norwegian Folklore Archives. This material has now been incorporated into Norges Dokumentarv, which is a part of Unesco’s Memory of the World list.

What kind of materials do we have?


As yet only a small part of Molkte Moe’s folklore records have been scanned. A few examples from his photograph archive have also been published.

See more on the Norwegian webpages.

In the archives

The Norwegian Folklore Archives includes 116 numbered files with Molkte Moe’s folklore records. In addition we have a wide-ranging archive of manuscripts, letters, the original texts of all his lectures (many also in their revised form), as well as a large photograph archive.

The Norwegian Folklore Archives also contains a sampling of his book collection, with books featuring his own marginalia.

NFS also has an archive related to Molkte Moe as a private individual, with letters, drawings, and telegrams from family and close friend. This archive also includes texts from his school days, such as “Er krig et absolut Onde for et Folk?” (Is war an absolute evil for a people?) from 1874,

Recommended literature on Molkte Moe

  • Liestøl, Knut. Moltke Moe. Oslo: Aschehoug, 1949.
  • Sem, Leiv. “Estetikk, folkedikting og nasjonalitet: Ei studie i Moltke Moes folkloristikk.” Cand.philol. thesis, University of Oslo, 2000.
Published Jan. 30, 2015 2:18 PM - Last modified Jan. 3, 2022 1:53 PM