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SHSND Home > Archives > Archives Holdings > Archives & Manuscripts > Family/Local History > 11346
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2019-2021 Blue Book Cover

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Chronicling America

Manuscripts by Subject - Family / Local History - #11346

Title: Nielsen Family


Collection Number:

4 feet

Consists of the personal papers of Peter Sofos and Christine (Thomas) Nielsen, and their son Thomas W. Papers include military papers, diplomas and certificates, grades, printed material, and items from family businesses: the Admiral Hotel, Christie Apartments and drive-in theater in Marmarth. The collection also includes military photographs of Bismarck, Peter in World War I and Thomas W. in World War II.

The Nielsen Family Papers were donated to the SHSND by Beth Nielsen, daughter of Thomas W. Nielsen Sr., on December 28, 2017.

Property Rights:
The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.


Peter Sofos Nielsen was born on August 13, 1895 in Demark, to Lars and Rasmine Nielsen. After immigrating, he lived in Red Wing (Minn.), Valley City, LaMoure, and Bismarck (N.D.). He enlisted in the military on December 15, 1917, and was sent to Jefferson Barracks (Mo.), then served in the Medical Department, Base Hospital, Fort Benjamin Harrison (Ind.). He served with the Medical Department, 63rd regiment, Transportation Corps, and the 317th Supply Company, Quartermaster Corps, to discharge. He served in Versailles, Yvelines, France, and was one of 99 men who printed the treaty of Versailles. He was discharged at Camp Dodge, Iowa, as a Corporal, on July 30, 1919. On November 24, 1925, Peter married Christine Thomas. They had one son, Thomas Walter.

Christine Thomas was born January 6, 1901, in Strasburg (N.D.), to Johann (John) and Elizabeth (Weiszbeck) Thomas. in 1931, she opened the Christie Beauty Salon, where she was owner and manager. It was located at Broadway Avenue and 5th Street, Bismarck (N.D.). By 1950, she was operating a beauty school.  In 1935, they opened a movie theater, the State Theater. In 1948, they began constructing what became the Admiral Hotel. In 1955, they closed and sold the State Theater. They also operated the Christie Apartments. Christine (Thomas) Nielsen died in Bismarck on October 20, 1987.

Thomas Walter Nielsen was born in Fargo, ND to Peter S. and Christine (Thomas) Nielsen, October 13, 1926. After graduating from St. Mary's High School in 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served in the Asian theater from October 1944-1946. He then attended the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota College of Law. In his career he worked for Social Security in Minot, practiced law in Bismarck and Harvey, served as a law librarian for the North Dakota Supreme Court, University of Florida and a law firm in Cleveland, Ohio. He was the Lamoure County Judge from 1976-1982 and then Hearing Officer for the North Dakota Highway Department until he retired. While attending graduate school in Minneapolis, he met and married his wife of 50 years, Esther Schelinder Nielsen. They had three children: Thomas Jr., Elizabeth (Beth) and Audie.


Box 1:
1 Peter S. Nielsen birth certificate and citizenship papers, 1895-1912
2 Peter S. Nielsen military papers, 1919
3 Peter S. Nielsen inventions: cylinder printing press and speed indicator for moving picture machines, 1913-1927
4 Thomas W. Nielsen military papers, 1945-1959
5 Thomas W. Nielsen diplomas and certificates, 1962-1971
6 Esther Nielsen diploma, 1969
7 Printed ephemera from the Admiral Hotel, Patterson Hotel, Christie Apartments, Marmarth Drive-in, ca. 1950
8 Miscellaneous: North Dakota State Fair invitation and ticket, a map of the Farragut Naval Training Station, blueprint for the Nielsen home at 415 Raymond Street, Bismarck (N.D.), report cards, a program for a LaMoure comedy, vaccination records for Thomas Nielsen, and election cards for Thomas W. Nielsen candidate for 4th Judicial District Judge, ca. 1933-1969

Box 2:    Photographs  00001-00022          
Box 3:    Photographs  00023-00042          
Map 1: Photographs  00043-00045


00001    World War I soldiers marching, ca. 1917
00002    World War I truck, ca. 1917
00003 – 00006 World War I soldiers marching, ca. 1917
00007    Peter S. Nielsen in uniform with unidentified man, ca. 1917
00008    Peter S. Nielsen in uniform, ca. 1917
00009    World War I soldiers standing on train, ca. 1917
00010    World War I soldiers looking out of train windows, ca. 1917
00011 – 00012 World War I soldier wearing gas mask and uniform, ca. 1917
00013    World War I training buildings, ca. 1917
00014    Unidentified men and woman in boat, ca. 1917
00015    Woman in boat, ca. 1917
00016    Portrait of Thomas W. Nielsen, ca. 1960
00017    Post card of the Admiral Hotel, Bismarck (N.D.), ca. 1950
00018    Post card of the Wilson Hotel, Stanley (N.D.), ca. 1950
00019    Portrait of Peter S. Nielsen in uniform, ca. 1917
00020    Portrait of Peter S. Nielsen and soldier in uniform, ca. 1917
00021    Four women washing clothes with a washboard, ca. 1917
00022    Interior of a newspaper printing room, Valley City (N.D.), 3/10/1910
00023    Table of people at an organizational event dinner, ca. 1960
00024 – 00025 Portrait of Peter S. Nielsen, ca. 1920
00026 – 00027 Thomas W. Nielsen beside automobile outside the North Dakota State Capitol, ca. 1960
00028    View of cards parked at North Dakota State Capitol, Bismarck (N.D.), ca. 1960
00029 – 00030 Christine Nielsen and boys outside home, ca. 1960
00031-00042       View of downtown and Universal Motor Company truck, ca. 1950
00042    View of downtown Bismarck (N.D.) and Universal Motor Company truck, ca. 1950
00043    Portrait of Peter S. Nielsen with North Dakota National Guard outside City Hall, Valley City (N.D.), ca. 1917
00044    U.S.S. Agamennon at sea, ca. 1944
00045    Portrait of Company 94B-44, regiment 5, Battalion 18, U.S. Naval Training Center, Farragut Idaho, 12/13/1944
00046 – 00047 Bookmobile in western North Dakota, ca. 1960

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