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Literature and Poetry in Sweden and Swedish America

This guide is for anyone looking to conduct research on Swedish and Swedish American Literature using Swenson Center resources.

Archival Collections

The Swenson Center has many collections related to literature and poetry in Sweden and Swedish America. Here are just a few:


CSC-7  The Literary Club (Chicago, Ill.) records

The collection consists of the constitution, by-laws and a list of charter members from 1894, (17 pages); minutes, attendance lists and financial records from 1894-1896 (80 pages) and 1896-1898 (168 pages); minutes from 1898-1903 (200 pages).


I/O:13  Svenska Litteratursällskapet (Swedish Literary Society) (Moline, Ill.)

Svenska Litteratursällskapet (Swedish Literary Society) of Moline, Illinois was founded on February 11, 1928. Society members read and discussed books by Swedish authors in the original language and held monthly meetings in homes of the members. By 1938, the society had 40 members. Membership dropped to 20 by 1948. Founding members included Charles A. Carlson and his wife Isedora Maria Ostrom Carlson. Many members of the society were members of First Lutheran Church in Moline, according to Dr. Bergendoff. The group disbanded in 1960. Collection includes monthly meeting minutes with membership records from 1928 through 1960, a letter of greetings from society member Jenny Ekblad, a twenty-year anniversary report, a receipt for books purchased, and cards of greetings, thanks, and condolences.


MSS P:5 Arthur Helge Swan papers

The collection is divided into series. See especially:

Series III. The manuscripts contain original drafts and bound versions of plays, stories, essays, articles, poetry written by Swan, as well as notes relating to his career as a playwright. 

Series V. This series include articles, essays written by A.H.S. friends, poetry, and theatre programs, musical and opera programs from New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, and London.   


MSS P:7  Oliver Anderson Linder clippings

The collection includes approximately 17, 000 clippings reflecting Linder's interest in the daily lives of the Swedish immigrants, specifically the Swedish American press; religion, especially the Augustana Synod and its churches and pastors; Social welfare issues; Education; The influence of Swedish in English and Swedish-American literature; Industry and business; Art and Artists.


MSS P:62  Lars Peter Beckman papers

The collection includes a volume of handwritten translation of "Looking Backward" by Edward Bellamy under the Swedish title, "En Blick Tillbaka till Tid som Flydt Från Tid som Stundar. Från År 2000 till 1887," with preface of the translator. Also included is "Guds Rike," an original handwritten work by Lars Peter Beckman and a loose-leaf manuscript in pencil by an unidentified author. Volume 2 contains Beckman's handwritten translation of Bellamy's "Equality" (3rd edition) entitled in Swedish "Jemnlikhet."


MSS P:74  Carl Johan Isaakson  papers

The papers include a notebook with handwritten poems in Swedish and English translations. Included are also seventeen unidentified portraits.


MSS P:128  Callerstrom family papers

The papers consist of a manuscript containing family letters from Sweden, religious poetry and family reminiscences.


MSS P:149  Ernst Teofil Skarstedt collection

This collection includes more than 40 scrapbooks compiled by Ernst Teofil Skarstedt. The volumes contain his writings and editorials submitted to Swedish and Swedish-American press and clippings on a wide variety of subjects such as Swedish-American biography and history, farming and agriculture, description and travel, prohibition, vaccination, criticism of the labor movements, literature, music and art.


MSS P:337  Harriet E. Carlson papers

The collection represents the lifetime of a Swedish-American woman's work in advertising, writing, and publishing. The bulk of the collection centers on Carlson's writing, self-editing, notes, inspiration, and quest to publish a manuscript and screenplay. See especially:

Series VII: Working Life (1944-2001 and undated) includes subseries related to her advertising work, newspaper and article writing, screenplay writing, and manuscript projects.

Subseries III: Screenplays (1957-1997 and undated) includes Harriet's one-act plays and classroom film scripts, a script "The Black American," a screenplay that was never produced titled "Big in New York," and correspondence seeking representation for that script, and Harriet's research on writing and selling screenplays.


SAC P:52  John E. Nelson poetry

This collection consists of a typed booklet collection of Swedish poems titled "Verses" by John E. Nelson. The poems were all originally published in the various Swedish-American newspapers around the turn of the century (from about 1897 to 1907), such as Hemlandet, Linnaean, Ungdomsvännen, Svenska Amerikanska Posten, Duluth Posten, Svenska Nyheter, Svenska Folkets Tidning, Michigan Posten and others. The booklet also includes an introduction of autobiographical information in English, written 1952.


SAC P:242  Eric Johannesson papers

The papers consist of a paper entitled "Svensk-amerikanska pennfäktare: PM om en författarsociologisk undersökning." The study presents and illustrates methodological and source-critical problems with conducting a literature sociological study of Swedish-American authors during the period 1850-1930. Johannesson raises three questions: the source critical value of Ernst Skarstedt's biographical handbooks, Våra Pennfäktare (1897) and Pennfäktare (1930); limitations that should be placed on selection of authors for this study; possibilities of comparisons with Lennart Thorsell's study of native Swedish authors (1880-1950).