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  • Writer's pictureLucas Henry

Swenson Center part of digitization project

A major grant from the Swedish foundation Riksbankens jubileumsfond in Stockholm has been awarded to a group of trans-Atlantic libraries and cultural institutions for the continued digitization of the Swedish-American press. In 2012-2016 nearly 40 titles were digitized in a project including the Swenson Center, the American-Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, and the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. The new grant will allow the digitization of an additional 300 titles for a total of over one million Swedish-American newspaper pages.


Several hundred Swedish-language newspapers were published in the United States for over a century, beginning in the 1850’s. They contain a wealth of information about the lives and times of the Swedish-American community, and is one of the premier sources for Swedish-American history. The digitization transforms the source material, as it will be key-word searchable and freely available on-line. The existing database has already been used extensively by scholars, students, genealogists, and others with an interest in Swedish America.


Augustana College and the Swenson Center have a long history of collecting and preserving the Swedish-language press in America . Already in 1861, the College became an agent for the National Library of Sweden, subscribing and collecting Swedish-American newspapers on behalf of the library in Stockholm (please see the below image, which shows correspondence between the institutions from 1977).  It is this rich collection that will be used for the digitization. We feel particularly happy to see this trans-Atlantic cooperation continue.


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