Ole Edvart Rolvaag was born on Donna Island, Norway in 1871. In 1896 Rolvaag emigrated to the United States. After a short stay in New York, he worked on several farms in South Dakota before entering college in 1899.
Rolvaag became professor of Norwegian at St. Olaf College and in 1912 published Letters From America. He also wrote several novels dealing with Norwegian settlers in South Dakota including Giants in the Earth (1927), Peder Victorious (1929) and Their Fathers' God (1931). Ole Ernest Rolvaag died in 1931.