Love of nature, as typified by the fields, the streams and the woods, is compatible with the character of a lumberman. Communion with the physical beauties of the earth seemingly inspires courage and confidence and brings out all the finer qualities of a man's being. Victor Thrane, of Chicago, Illinois, has enjoyed this association with nature, nor has commercialism blunted his appreciation of her benefactions.
He comes of a distinguished line of ancestry, the name of Thrane being known to every Scandinavian. Marcus Thrane, his grandfather, accomplished for the Scandinavians what Garibaldi did for his Italian compatriots. He was a member of one of the oldest and most aristocratic families of Norway. Born in 1817, he was highly educated and devoted his talents to espousing the cause of reform in the educational, religious and commercial systems of the land that gave him birth. He triumphed in his agitation, but he suffered the penalty of many patriots and was thrown into prison, in 1851, where he languished for several years. It is said that, had he consented, his followers would have named him dictator of Norway. The name of Henrik Ibsen, the famous Norwegian poet-dramatist, is connected with that of Marcus Thrane in a story that has escaped the Ibsen enthusiasts. The poet was Thrane's associate on the "Arbeiderforeningernes Blad", published in Christiania, and, when the newspaper office was searched and confiscated, a compositor had the presence of mind to conceal Ibsen's manuscripts in his pocket, and to this act was due the fact that the poet escaped the fate of the patriot. Another distinguished member of the Thrane family was Paul Thrane, grandfather of Marcus Thrane, who was a merchant of Christiania. He was extremely popular, and at the time the King of Denmark absolved the Norwegians from their oath of allegiance and it was proposed to elect Prince Christian as King of Norway, the population was determined to put Paul Thrane, popularly known as "Old Paul," on the throne.
Victor Thrane's father. Doctor Arthur D. H. Thrane, a prominent resident and physician of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, received his early education in the cell of his father, Marcus Thrane, while the latter was undergoing political imprisonment. Though but seven years old he was taught, in addition to his mother tongue, the French language, and in later years he became a compositor in French, assisting in the support of his mother and sisters until the expiration of his father's sentence, in 1858. He migrated to America and, after a short stay in New York, went to Chicago and took up the study of medicine at the Rush Medical College, from which institution he graduated in 1868. In 1889 Doctor Thrane was appointed a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Health by Governor W. D. Hoard. It was on March 12, 1868, that a son, Victor Thrane, was born to Doctor Thrane and his wife, Amalie Henriette Marie (Struck) Thrane. In the early '70's the family moved to Eau Claire, and in the pubHc schools of that city the boy gained his mental training. In 1885 he completed a scientific course at St. John's University, at Collegeville, Minnesota, and followed this with a course at the Chicago Opthalmic College, receiving his diploma in 1890.
As soon as he was out of college the young man went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he established himself in the optical business, but its scope proved too narrow for one of Mr. Thrane's ambitions. He was artistically inclined and the optical business, while not actually distasteful to him, was not entirely to his liking, so he conceived the idea of arranging and conducting a tour of an artist. For two seasons he toured Ellen Beach Yaw, the highest soprano in the world, who, up until that time, was practically unknown to the concert goers of the country. Not only did he establish a reputation for the singer, but he gained an enviable reputation as an impresario. Going to New York, in 1894, Mr. Thrane interested himself in the musical profession and in the following seasons he brought out or starred such artists as Ysaye, Pugno, Gerardy, Hambourg, Lachaume, Verlet, Marteau, Petschnikoff, Sauer, Paur, Maurel, Elsa Ruegger and lesser lights of the musical world, besides forming and managing such an organization as the Paur Symphony Orchestra, of ninety musicians. Among the greatest artistic successes of his managerial career were the concerts of the quintet composed of Ysaye, Marteau, Bendix, Gerardy and Lachaume, a decided triumph. From a modest beginning, in 1893, Mr. Thrane gained international prominence and a reputation enjoyed by but few men in that field.
It was with considerable regret that Mr. Thrane decided to sever his connection with the concert world and engage in the timber land business. In 1900 he became junior member of the firm of J. D. Lacey & Co., a concern whose name is known throughout lumberdom. He proved as enterprising and capable in the new connection as in the business he deserted. He displayed his executive ability in the conduct of the firm's affairs and quickly assumed a leading part in its management. Within the last few years the estimating and cruising of timber lands has been largely in Mr. Thrane's hands. In 1905 the firm estimated practically 5,500,000 acres, and in the same year did a business in volume approximating $10,000,000. With the immense growth in the lumber industry on the Pacific Coast Mr. Thrane will devote much of his time to looking after the interests of the firm in that section.
Mr. Thrane married Miss Lotta Louise Lacey, only daughter of J. D. Lacey, October 26, 1898, at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Thrane make their home in the summer at Chicago, and in the winter at New Orleans, Louisiana. Their home in the South is most attractive, and the artistic tastes of both are expressed in the paintings, library and furnishings. Mr. Thrane has a decidedly catholic literary taste and spends much of his leisure time in reading. While he cannot be said to have any hobbies, he is fond of communion with nature, and with his gun and dogs, or rod and fly, or kodak, he finds health-giving pleasure. His companion in these pastimes is his wife, who enjoys the delights of open air freedom with all the zest of a true sportswoman.
The artistic temperament of Mr. Thrane was undoubtedly inherited from Waldemar Thrane (1790-1828), the noted Norwegian composer of dramatic music, violinist and conductor, who was Marcus Thrane's uncle. Mr. Thrane is a violinist of some skill and prizes very highly a Guarnerius, 1734, instrument in his possession. Mrs. Thrane has a fine soprano voice, and they are frequent attendants to higher class theatrical and musical productions. Mr. Thrane's whole family is musical. A brother, Marcus, a prominent surgeon of Madison, Minnesota, plays the flute; Robert Thrane is a cellist widely known in musical circles, and Lucile Thrane, a sister, is studying the violin under Old World masters. Two other sisters are Irma, wife of August Schmetz, of Aix la Chapelle, Germany, an excellent pianist, and Ella, wife of Eduard Vacquary, of Vienna, Austria, a vocalist. A younger brother, Arthur, a cruiser for J. D. Lacey & Co., is gifted musically.
Mr. Thrane holds membership in the Country Club, Pickwick Club and Louisiana Club, of New Orleans, and the Chicago Athletic Association, Midlothian Country Club, Municipal Art League, Art Institute of Chicago, South Shore Country Club and the Chicago Fly Casting Club, of Chicago. He is a member of the famous Lotos Club of New York, also of the Blue Andalusian Club of America, and conducts a poultry farm near New Orleans, where he has bred many prize-winning Andalusians and other varieties of poultry. He is a Knight of Pythias, a Republican in politics and takes a deep interest in better government movements.
More than ordinarily observant, Mr. Thrane gets more out of his travels than the average man. In the woods, afield, or in the streets of a city he mentally pictures the ever changing scenes for the delectation of friends. He has traveled extensively, both at home and abroad, and as a clever amateur photographer he has many remembrances of these trips.