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Johan Hambro

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Johan Hambro
Born Johan Randolf Bull Hambro
(1915-10-24)24 October 1915
Kristiania, Norway
Died 27 February 1993(1993-02-27) (aged 77)
Oslo, Norway
Occupation Journalist, translator, biographer
Nationality Norwegian
Education University of Oslo, Columbia University
Notable works C.J. Hambro: Liv og drøm
Spouse Lore Aickelin (1918–)

Johan Randulf Bull Hambro (24 October 1915 – 27 February 1993) was a Norwegian journalist, translator and biographer. He was the fourth son of Norwegian politician C. J. Hambro, whose biography he wrote in 1984. He lived in the United States from 1939 to 1982, where he studied and worked as a foreign-affairs journalist, press attaché and consulate-general. He was secretary general of the Norse Federation for 27 years, from 1955 to 1982. He was decorated as a Knight, First Class of the Order of St. Olav in 1975.


Hambro was born on 24 October 1915 in Kristiania, the fourth son of politician C. J. Hambro (1885–1964) and his wife, Gudrun "Dudu" Grieg (1881–1943).[1][2] He was a paternal grandson of Nico and Edvard Isak Hambro, and a brother of Carl Joachim and Edvard Hambro.[3] His namesake was his second great-grandfather, Johan Randulf Bull (1749–1829), Norway's first Supreme Court Justice.[2][4] Hambro married Lore Aickelin in 1945.[1]


He grew up in the Uranienborg neighbourhood in the West End of Oslo, and enrolled at the Royal Frederick University in 1933. Following law studies, he graduated in 1939 with a cand.jur. degree, and travelled to the United States to study at Columbia University in New York.[1] From 1940 to 1945, during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, he was employed at the Norwegian general consulate in New York City.[2][5] He worked as a foreign affairs journalist for the conservative newspaper Aftenposten from 1946 to 1948 and for the Norwegian News Agency from 1949 to 1953.[1][5] He was a press attaché for the Norwegian United Nations delegation in 1953 and 1954.[5][6] After that, he was stationed in New York as a foreign correspondent and radio chronicler for Norway.[1]

In 1955, he succeeded Arne Kildal as secretary general of the non-profit Norse Federation, and became editor of its periodical, The Norseman.[1][2][7] In 1957, Hambro was the chief editor of the Norse Federation's 50th anniversary book, De tok et Norge med seg ("They brought a Norway with them"). He edited its Christmas booklet, Norges Jul ("Norway's Christmas"), in 1975.[1][8][9][10] Hambro was succeeded by Johan Fr. Heyerdahl as secretary general of the Norse Federation in 1982. Two years later, the federation started a summer course for Norwegian students, which it named after Hambro.[11]

Hambro released a biography on his father, C. J. Hambro, in 1984, titled C. J. Hambro: Liv og drøm ("C. J. Hambro: Life and Dream").[2][12] The book was well received by critics, and sold more than 30,000 copies in 1984.[13][14][15] The book is known for revealing many secrets about his father's private life, including his relationship with the actress Gyda Christensen.[12][16] Like his father, Hambro translated many books from English to Norwegian, among them The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand in 1949,[17][18][19] First Among Equals by Jeffrey Archer in 1985,[20] and A Sport of Nature by Nadine Gordimer in 1988.[21]

Death and recognition[edit]

In 1958, Hambro was pronounced an honorary citizen of Minneapolis. He was given the Regents Award of St. Olaf College in 1972. Honorary degrees were bestowed by Luther College in 1969 and St. Olaf College in 1979.[15] Hambro was decorated as a Knight, First Class of the Order of St. Olav in 1975. He died on 27 February 1993 in Oslo, at age 77.[22][23][24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Steenstrup, Bjørn, ed. (1973). "Hambro, Johan Randolf Bull". Hvem er hvem? (in Norwegian) (11th ed.). Oslo: Aschehoug. p. 206. ISBN 82-03-04886-2. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Hambro, Johan (1984). C.J. Hambro: Liv og drøm (in Norwegian). Oslo: Aschehoug. Front flap and p. 67. ISBN 82-03-11347-8. 
  3. ^ Godal, Anne Marit, ed. (2007). "Hambro". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Thyness, Paul (2001). "C J Hambro". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Godal, Anne Marit, ed. (3 December 2009). "Johan Hambro". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "FN-delegasjon". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). 15 August 1953. p. 6. 
  7. ^ "Voldsom ekspansjon i Nordmannsforbundet". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). 8 January 1955. p. 6. 
  8. ^ Hambro, Johan, ed. (1957). De tok et Norge med seg: Nordmanns-forbundets saga gjennom 50 år (in Norwegian). Oslo: Dreyer. OCLC 15005646. 
  9. ^ Hambro, Johan, ed. (1975). Norges jul: Nordmanns-forbundets julehefte 1975 (in Norwegian). Oslo: Norse Federation. OCLC 34403295. 
  10. ^ " "Norges Jul" i mange land". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 14 December 1984. p. 47. 
  11. ^ "Sommerkurs i USA for norsk ungdom". Aftenposten Aften (in Norwegian). 30 March 1984. p. 9. 
  12. ^ a b Turid, Larsen (28 November 2007). "De nye dristige biografiene". Dagsavisen (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  13. ^ Sundar, Egil (1 November 1984). "Som et stjerneskudd i den norske bokhøsten: Den store Hambrobiografien". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 2. 
  14. ^ Dahl, Flemming (22 December 1984). "Hambrobiografien i stadig større opplag: en større suksess enn noen kunne spå". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 5. 
  15. ^ a b Wiik, Steinar (24 October 1985). "Johan Hambro 70 år idag: En brobygger". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 18. 
  16. ^ Malmø, Morten (2010). "Fagforleggeren". Prosa (in Norwegian). Oslo: Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association (1). ISSN 0805-276X. OCLC 463955325. 
  17. ^ "Nyheter fra Lille Måne" (PDF). Lille Måne (in Norwegian). August 2005. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  18. ^ "Kildens utspring" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  19. ^ Gabrielsen, Bjørn (26 November 2005). "Gjennombruddets Rand". Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). p. 53. 
  20. ^ Haslund, Ebba (31 October 1985). "Javel, herr statsminister". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). p. 61. 
  21. ^ "Topp innhold, svak stil". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). 9 April 1988. p. 59. 
  22. ^ "Johan Hambro død". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). 4 March 1993. p. 11. 
  23. ^ "Cemeteries in Norway". DIS-Norge. Retrieved 15 May 2011.  Press the "Search" tab and type "Johan Hambro" in the search field.
  24. ^ Thyness, Paul (10 March 1993). "Johan Hambro". Aftenposten (obituary) (in Norwegian). p. 11.