d r a f t

An early historical society founded in Chicago in 1905. Moved to St. Paul, Minn., in 1920 and continued annual meetings there until 1934, when it disbanded and its collections were donated to the Minnesota Historical Society. See historical note to its description of the Swedish Historical Society of America’s records and collected papers at http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/P1432.xml. The yearbooks for 1922, 1923 and 1924 are available in Google Books. I have screenshots of the Google Books entry below and notes on several articles of interest:


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George M. Stephenson, “Some Footnotes to the History of Swedish Immigration from About 1855 to About 1865,” Year-Book of the Swedish Historical Society of America, No. 7, 1921-22

  • 34-35 lists push-pull factors (my word) in 1850s-60s — QUOTABLE
  • 35-37 Swedes discouraging emigration — Swedish press, Church of Sweden
  • 38-40 deceptive advertising by land agents, America letters [cf. some letters in Hemlandet below]
  • 42ff slavery and know-nothingism — close paraphrase of Hemlandet
    • cf critical attitude toward Am institutions shown by “German radicals” and Catholics prompt know-nothings
    • 42-43 extended description of know-nothings finding fault with immigrants and dealing with them as drunks and rowdies — Swedes and Norwegians looked on as “industrious people”
    • 43ff VERY QUOTABLE STUFF RE: Democrats had been pro-immigrant but now defeated homestead bill and supported slavery — Crimean War and Sweden’s hereditary enemy “… natural leaning of the Pierce administration toward despotism” (44) — 1856 campaign Swedes support Fremont, Illinois state Republican convention, adamantly opposed to slavery, Rev. P.A. Cedarstam in GOP politics in Minnesota, (44-45) more on slavery — Svante Palm letter and reax (46-47) loyalty during Civil War (46-48 incl. unofficial election returns) panic of 1857 and beginnings of Hasselquist’s flirtation with land for a Swedish colony A FEW GOOD VERBATIM QUOTES IN THE FOOTNOTES
    • 53ff — actual letters , most personal letters on economic prospects, crops, getting started farming, etc.

George M. Stephenson, “Hemlandet Letters,” Year-Book No. 8, 1922-23, 56ff.

  • [Cedarstram], visit to Minnesota in 1855
  • Letter from Swante Palm in Austin, Texas, in 1855 — “with you” re: know-nothings, but not on slavery, southern version of strife in Kansas “fanatics and abolitionists in the north are seeking to incite insurrection” (69)
  • description of Minnesota settlement in 1857 by “a countryman” [landsman]
  • 1857 description by A Thorson of Torkels Lake and St. Peter, Minn., “Kansas is the battle-ground and apple of discord between two very powerful political parties,” and Minnesota is healthful and growing and a poor man can work hard and thrive “… his prospects may become bright if he is industrious” — Swedish and Norwegian — GOOD QUOTES
  • Descirption by J.P. Miller of Götaholm, Minn., called “Swede Town by the Americans” – Clear Water Lake or Scandia — migrants from Illinois (82ff)
  • A countryman in Minneiska, Minnesota, writes June 8, 1859, “I would like to say to those who have been lured to the St. Peter region that they have been fooled because the land west of St. Peter and halfway to Forest City is not fit for raising anything but black birds […]”
  • June 21, 1865 — to countrymen in Sweden
  • 151-52 — letter from postmaster at Kristdala in Sweden

Conrad Peterson, ed., “Letters From Pioneer Days,” Year-Book of the Swedish Historical Society of America, No. 9, 1923-24

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