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  • Writer's pictureDag Blanck

40th Anniversary Celebration

The Swenson Center Turns 40!

The Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center opened its doors in September 1981 and has since become the leading archives, library, and research institute for the study of Swedish immigration to North America.

Please join us for our 40th anniversary symposiumThe Migration and Beyond: New Perspectives on Swedish-American Relations” at Augustana College on Saturday, May 7. We have invited four younger scholars—two Americans and two Swedes—to discuss their work and to help us understand new directions in the field of Swedish-American history and relations.

Following the symposium, guests are invited to an open house featuring an exhibit of library/archives collection highlights from the last 40 years. The evening will feature a celebratory dinner.

Over the past 40 years, we have built a high-class library of over 20,000 volumes and an extensive archival collection. We assist academic researchers from around the world and have hosted over a dozen conferences/symposia. The annual O. Fritiof Ander lecture has brought prominent scholars in Swedish-American studies to the Augustana campus. The Dagmar and Nils William Olsson research award has enabled some thirty scholars from the U.S., Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the U.K., and Canada to travel to Rock Island and use our materials.

Initially our focus was on the Swedish migration to North America, including the experiences of Swedish immigrants and their descendants. Although that history remains central, in recent years we have expanded our mission to include broader aspects of Swedish-American relations.

Genealogy has always been an important part of the Center’s work. We have assisted thousands of persons seeking their Swedish and Swedish-American roots, and we are the proud publishers of this journal, Swedish American Genealogist. Our annual SAG Workshop in Salt Lake City has become an established institution in the Swedish-American genealogical community.

The generous donation from Birger and Lyal Swenson of Rock Island, Illinois made it possible to establish the Center in 1981. As a nonprofit, we are entirely dependent on private contributions. We invite you to use this opportunity to make a special 40th anniversary contribution to the Center. Your support will help ensure another forty years of successful operation.

For the full program, registration, and anniversary contribution opportunities, see

Välkommen till Rock Island i maj! Welcome to Rock Island in May!

Dag Blanck is the director of the Swenson Center at Augustana College and professor of North American Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden.


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