Friberg was born in Finland in 1901 and moved to the United States when he was still a child, in 1906. At the age of seven he was involved in an accident in which his
eyes were damaged, which led to his eventual blindnessat the age of 10. He attended the Perkins School for the Blindin Watertown, Massachusetts and then attended Boston University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He enrolled in a Ph. D.program in philosophyat Harvard University, but never completed his thesis. He eventually received a Master of Arts in philosophyfrom Harvard in the mid-1970s, after passing a French language examiation.
In addition to his literary work, Friberg had an enormously varied career. He attended the Swedenborgian School of
Theologyand was ordained as a minister in the Swedenborgian, Congregational and UnitarianChurches, serving as a minister in Congregational and Unitarian churches in New England. In 1949, on the porch of his house in Westminster, Massachusetts, Friberg had a "mystical enounter," about which Friberg wrote an unpublished manuscript. Thelogian Reinhold Neibuhrcommented on the manuscript that "I know of no record of spititual pilgrimage more authentic."
World War II, Friberg worked in a tool and die plant in Worcester, Massachusetts and became a labor organizer for the United Steelworkers of America.
At the age of 75 he began to translate the Finnish
national epicThe Kalevala, into English, which he did with the aid of a Braillecopy of the original Kalevala. This was the first time the Kalevala had been translated by a native Finnish speaker into English, and the fourth full translation overall. In 1988, Friberg returned to Finland for the first time since 1906, to receive the Order of the White Rose, Finland's highest literary award, for his translation.
Friberg was married three times and had two daughters. He also published a book of
poetry, "Sparks", in 1926.
* The Kalevala: Epic of the Finnish People. 1989 ISBN 951-1-10137-4
* [http://edj.net/mc2012/friberg.htm Brief text on edj.net]
* The Kalevala: Epic of the Finnish People - Inside front page.
* "Epic Task ties Poet to Finnish Roots," Boston Globe, March 7, 1988, Metro Section, page 2.
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