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America Letters

This guide is for anyone looking to conduct research on “America Letters” (letters written by Swedish immigrants in the United States to family back home in Sweden) using Swenson Center resources.

Welcome!

This guide is for anyone looking to conduct research on “America Letters” (letters written by Swedish immigrants in the United States to family back home in Sweden) using Swenson Center resources.

The Swenson Center is located at Augustana College and is a national and international research center for the study of Swedish-American history and relations. 

America Letters

Keywords / Search terms:

Here are some search terms to try in the library catalog or other search areas. Using the asterisk (*) is a wildcard option, that will return variations on a search term. For example, letter* will bring up letters, letter writing, etc.

  • Letter*
  • America letters
  • Letter writing
  • Correspondence
  • Immigrant letters

Possible research questions:

  • What do letters teach us about the Swedish American immigrant life? What do they leave out?
  • How does the lifestyle described in America letters compare with other primary sources about immigrant experiences?
  • What family relationships and dynamics are demonstrated in America letters? How (and with who) do families keep in touch with each other’s lives?
  • What is the general tone of these letters? Are some overly positive? Why might immigrants have wanted to paint a rosy picture of their time in America?
  • We can also help you access other types of letters and correspondence we have in the archives that may not necessarily be “America letters,” but were written by Swedish Americans and describe aspects of life for Swedish immigrants.  See our suggestions for love letters and soldier’s letters in the “Archival Collections” tab of this LibGuide!