top of page


The Swenson Center is located in Denkmann Hall on the campus of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. The Center maintains a close relationship with the College and the Scandinavian Studies program.

The Swenson Center was founded by Birger and Lyal Swenson on December 31, 1980. Birger Swenson emigrated from Sweden in 1912, graduated from Augustana College, and worked for the Augustana Book Concern. The endowment established by the Swensons provided the initial financial support for the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center.


Dag Blanck 2022.jpg

Dag Blanck


Dag shares his time between the United States and Sweden, where he is professor of North American Studies at Uppsala University. Trained in the U.S. (Augustana ’78) and Sweden (Ph.D., Uppsala) he has published extensively on Swedish-American history and Swedish-American relations.

Dag is also an Honorary Professor of Swedish-American Studies

Kurt Glasses EDITED.png

Kurt Peterson

Development Officer

Janette Foss Garcia

Head of Collections

Janette is happy to help with your library and archives research needs at the Swenson Center. She has several years experience at regional cultural archives, with expertise in connecting students, faculty, and community members to archival material. Janette also oversees the management of Swenson Center collections.


Jill Seaholm

Head of Genealogical Services

Jill will be glad to help with your genealogy and membership needs. As an Augustana graduate, Jill has been assisting genealogists at the Center since the early 1990s. She also runs our genealogy workshop in Salt Lake City and heads the publishing of Swedish American Genealogist.


Lucas Henry

Visiting Assistant Professor, Scandinavian Studies

Kurt has worked in higher education advancement for more than ten years. He currently serves as Chief Development Officer at The College of Lake County. Prior to his work in college advancement, he was professor and chair of the history department at North Park University.

Lucas is an ethnomusicologist, studying popular music and jazz in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia. Before pursuing his PhD, Lucas supervised the audio recordings collection at Temple University and worked as an archives assistant in the Archives of Appalachia at East Tennessee State University.


Mission Statement

The Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center is a national and international research center, library and archives for the study of Swedish-American history and relations.


The Center collects, preserves and makes available archival and library materials, promotes and initiates research and is a leader in Swedish-American genealogy.

Vision Statement

The Swenson Center strives to be a leading national and international institution for the study of Swedish-American history and relations.

Purpose Statement

The Center focuses its work on the transatlantic migration, contacts and exchanges between Sweden and North America, in particular: 

  1. The study of Swedish immigration to North America, of Swedish-American individuals, communities and institutions, and of the position of Swedish Americans in the larger American social context.

  2. The broader cultural, social and political relations between the two countries and their ways of interacting with each other—past and present. 

At Augustana College, the Center is a key part in the College’s historic and ongoing connections with Sweden.

Internships & Employment

High Fives


Internships are available during the school year and summer. Students gain hands-on experience with library and archival task. Internships are typically unpaid, but there may be opportunities for funding. Learn more.

Student Employment

The Center typically employs 3 student workers during the school year and 1 over the summer. Opportunities are posted to Handshake.


Any full-time or part-time positions are posted on the Augustana College employment page.

bottom of page