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The Swenson Center archives collects, preserves, and promotes the use of unpublished primary source material that documents the Swedish immigration and the Swedish-American experience in North America. The archival collection is comprised of two categories: personal manuscript collections and institution/organization papers. The archival collections measure approximately 800 linear feet. 

Search the Archives

Online Database

The easiest way to locate information about an archival collection or microfilm is to search our database using the default Keyword search option. To enhance your search options, use the Advanced Search that allows you to enter both a keyword and other options such as Search Terms (same as subject headings in the library catalog). Photographs can also be accessed by selecting Random Images or by Keyword using a name.

If you have questions about a particular collection we encourage you to contact us at (309)794-7204 or email

Finding Aids

Browse our finding aids by name. Please note: only our larger collections have published finding aids. Smaller collections can be found through our online database

Digital Projects

See some of our digitized collections here. 


The Swenson Center welcomes donations to our archives and library that support our mission and are of historical value. Potential donors must contact the Swenson Center directly to discuss if their donation is appropriate for the Center's collection. The Swenson Center can only accept donations after consultation with the staff. 

Please do not bring or send materials without consulting the staff first.

Please submit the Archives Donation Worksheet or the book donation form for books, so we can assess if your proposed donation is appropriate for the Swenson Center archives. Fill out the form and email, fax or mail it to the Swenson Center. If your archival donation is accepted, you will be asked to fill out the Gift Agreement form. Items cannot be accepted without this paperwork. For library donations, please contact the Swenson Center at 309-794-7204 or of gift generally not accepted:

  • Swedish Bibles and hymnals;
  • Duplicates;
  • Items in poor condition (mildew- or mold-infested, dirty, or items with missing or torn pages).

The Center is actively looking for following types of materials:

  • Personal papers of Swedish-American individuals, businesses and organizations;
  • Identified photographs depicting Swedish immigrant life in the cities, e.g. store fronts, people working, photographs of gatherings and festivals;
  • Diaries and journals (especially of underrepresented groups such as women, professionals, and working class people);
  • Correspondence between immigrants in North America and between immigrants and family in Sweden;
  • Records from Swedish-American organizations 1840-present.

Duplication Policies

Please note that all duplication regardless of format is for study purposes only, and cannot be published or posted on the internet, or reproduced in any other form. It is also the responsibility of the researcher to keep accurate citations. Our fee schedule is listed below.


Researchers may request limited number of photocopies of documents while conducting archival research at the Center. Materials that are fragile and/or brittle or protected by any restriction set by the donor cannot be photocopied. The fee per page is 25 cents. All in-house photocopy requests must be accompanied by the Request for Photocopies Form

Off-site researchers interested in obtaining copies of documents from a specific collection, please contact us. Copies sent to patrons via mail must be pre-paid and accompanied by the Request for Photocopies Form.

Duplication fee schedule

The turn-around time for photocopy and digital reproduction orders will depend on the number of reproductions and the availability of the staff. All duplication requests must be prepaid and accompanied by either of the forms below. The Swenson Center accepts VISA, MasterCard and checks. Please make checks payable to the Swenson Center.

Photocopies in-house requests

Photocopies mail orders
$0.25/page, $5.00 minimum charge

Digital images (for images requiring scanning)
For Augustana College students, staff, alumni and Swenson Center affiliates (includes members and donors): $5.00 for first image, $2.00 for each additional image.

Non-Augustana affiliates: $15.00 for first image, $5.00 for each additional image.

Digital images (from previously scanned images on file)
Augustana College students, staff, alumni and Swenson Center affiliates: No charge

Non-Augustana affiliates: $5.00 for first image, $2.00 for each additional image.

Digital camera use policy

On-site researchers may use their own digital camera to reproduce document from a manuscript collection or printed book. The staff reserves the right to deny such request if the document(s) is fragile and/or brittle or is protected by any particular restriction set forth by the donor. For further information about using a digital camera when conducting research at the Swenson Center, please see the Camera Use Policy.

Publishment of Swenson Center Materials

Researchers wishing to include a Swenson Center image or text must complete the Permission to publish form and return to Center staff for approval. Additionally, sources cited from the Swenson Center must be accompanied by the credit line: Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois

Last updated February 21, 2013