Swenson Center Library
The Swenson Center's library collection contains approximately 20,000 volumes relating to the Swedish-American immigrant experience in North America, Swedish genealogy, and Swedish local history. To support its main mission of providing resources for the study of Swedish immigration to North America, the Center has over the years gathered an extensive collection of books, periodicals and newspapers published for and by Swedish immigrants during the mass emigration period of 1840-1930. These publications promoted and encouraged the use of the Swedish language in churches, organizations and among other social groups throughout the United States and Canada. Below you will find specific descriptions of the various book collections.
To Search our Collection
To search for an item in our library, please use the Augustana College online catalog (ALiCat).
As you locate and view individual records in the library catalog, you will find that our holdings are tagged with the name Swenson Center in the Location Field above the call number. For additional information and assistance in how to search the catalog please use this link. Even though our library materials do not circulate, you may request titles via interlibrary loan from most libraries in United States or Canada. Please contact us if you have questions about interlibrary loan or any other library matter at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (309)794-7204 during business hours.
The Swenson Center gratefully accepts donations 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 cannot accept the responsibility to notify the donor of possible future withdrawals/deaccessions.
Please do not bring or send materials without consulting the staff first.
The Swenson Center library is particularly interested in acquiring:
- Books and pamphlets on all subjects published in Swedish in North America 1840s to present;
- Publications of the Augustana Book Concern, Rock Island, Illinois, Engberg & Holmberg in Chicago, and other small publishing houses in the United States, 1840s to 1930s;
- Publications issued by Swedish-American organizations, both current and defunct;
- Anniversary booklets from Swedish-American congregations (Lutheran, Covenant, Methodist, etc.);
- Printed family histories and genealogies are accepted if they are compiled as a book and include: title page with full title; compiler's name and date of compilation/publication; page numbering; and preferably a name index.
Types of gift generally not accepted:
- Swedish Bibles and hymnals;
- Items in poor condition (mildew- or mold-infested, dirty, or items with missing or torn pages).
The main focus of this collection is on Swedish immigration to North America and Swedish-American culture. The Center purchases all new works in the field as well as adds donations of older Swedish-American imprints to this collection. Special concentration and emphasis is on: Swedish-American bibliography; background perspectives on Swedish and Scandinavian emigration; histories of Swedish settlements in the U.S. and Canada; histories and publications of Swedish-American organizations and institutions; Swedish-American literature; Swedish-American publishing; Swedish-American fine arts and music; Swedish travelers and visitors to the North American continent; Swedish-American biography and family history; Swedish-American religious life, including denominational histories as well as anniversary booklets for many individual congregations.
O.A. Linder Collection
The O.A. Linder Collection was donated to the Augustana Library in the late 1930s by Oliver A. Linder, a former editor of the Swedish-American weekly Svenska Amerikanaren Tribunen published in Chicago. It complements the Immigration Collection with its holdings of Swedish-American literature, general Swedish-American history, Swedish-American fine arts, Swedish-American journalism and press history, and Swedish-American religious life.
G.N. Swan Collection
The G.N. Swan Collection was donated to the Augustana Library in the late 1920s by Gustav Nelson Swan of Sioux City, Iowa. Swan was a key figure in Swedish-American cultural and literary circles at the turn of the previous century. Besides his involvement in local businesses, Augustana College, and the Augustana Synod, Swan served as the Swedish vice consul for Sweden and Norway (1899-1905) and for Sweden (1905-1929) in Sioux City, Iowa.
Emphases of this collection include general Swedish and Scandinavian literature up to the 1930s; Swedish literature in translation (English and other languages); works by Tegnér; foreign literature classics, especially Shakespeare and Dante; general history of religions; and some Swedish Americana.
The Swan pamphlet collection comprises over 700 separate publications from the 1850s to the 1940s on topics including World War I, banking and international monetary systems, Swedish regional brochures and travel guides, poetry and song collections, historical Sioux City souvenir publications, and Swedish-American concerns, events and landmarks. Search the index of WWI pamphlets or index of pamphlets on other topics.
The Scandinaviana Collection is a hybrid collection of books and some serial publications dealing generally with background conditions and features of the Scandinavian countries, particularly Sweden. Subject matters include history, topography, local history, education, national literatures and fine arts, church history, and religion.
Nils William Olsson Collection
The Nils William Olsson Collection is an exclusive collection that is especially strong in Swedish genealogy, local history and regional history and is of particular interest to family historians and others interested in regional Swedish history and culture. Included in this collection are many Swedish works on noble families such as Elgenstierna's Den introducerade svenska adelns ättartavlor med tillägg och rättelse, Svensk Adelskalender and privately printed genealogy of Swedish families.
C.W. Mortenson Collection
The C.W. Mortenson Collection consists of approximately 200 books on the Viking presence in North America. This collection includes many of the standard scholarly works as well as fiction and several rare items such as C.C. Rafn's Antiquitates Americanae Sive Scriptores Septentrionales Rerum Ante-Columbianarum in America, printed in Copenhagen in 1837 and Arthur Middleton Reeves' The Finding of Wineland the Good. The History of the Icelandic Discovery of America, published in London in 1890.