Memorable Manitobans: Laura Goodman Salverson (1890-1970)
Born at Winnipeg on 9 December 1890, daughter of Icelandic immigrants Larus Thorgeir Gudmundson and Ingibjorg Gudmundsdottir, she grew up in a family which spoke only Icelandic. She spent her early working years as an itinerate nurse, dance hostess, factory worker, and maid, before marrying in 1913 and settling in Winnipeg.
On 16 July 1913, she married George Salverson (?-?) at Winnipeg. A few years later she joined her husband on a homestead north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, later moving to Regina. She turned to writing with the encouragement of Austin Bothwell, and published The Viking Heart (1923). She subsequently produced eight more novels, including Johann Lind (?), Lord of the Silver Dragon (1927), Dark Weaver (1937, which won the Governor-General’s Award for fiction), and Immortal Rock (1955, which won the Ryerson Press Fiction Award), The Dove (?), and Black Lace (?).
She served for many years as President of the Winnipeg branch of the Canadian Authors’ Association. She also published poetry and a highly-acclaimed autobiography, The Confessions of an Immigrant’s Daughter (1939, which won the Governor General’s Award for non-fiction).
She died at Toronto, Ontario on 13 July 1970.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Laura Goodman Salverson,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 July 1970, page 21.
“Salverson dies in Toronto,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 July 1970.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 January 2022