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Policies & Services

The Swenson Center's policies and services. 

Research Assistance


Center staff is happy to assist scholars both on-site and via remote requests. See our Academic Research Assistance & Topics page for more.  


Center staff is happy to help genealogists plan a visit (by appointment) to conduct their own research or can be hired to conduct research for you. See our Genealogy Research Services page for more. 


The Swenson Center gratefully accepts donations that support our mission and are of historical value. 

We can only accept donations after you first consult with a staff member.  Please do not bring or send boxes without consulting us first.

For more specific items we are interested in collecting, please see our Wish List.


Library donations use the Published Material Deed of Gift Form

The Swenson Center library is interested in acquiring:

  • All materials published in Swedish in North America (1840s to present)
  • Publications of small Swedish-American publishing houses including Augustana Book Concern, Rock Island, Illinois and Engberg & Holmberg, Chicago
  • 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 a title page with a full title, compiler's name and date of compilation/publication, page numbering, and preferably a name index.


Archival donations use the Archival Materials Deed of Gift Form.

The Swenson Center archives is interested in acquiring:

  • Personal papers of Swedish-American individuals, businesses, and organizations
  • Photographs depicting Swedish immigrant life in the cities, e.g. storefronts, 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 1840s to present.

Not Accepted

Types 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).

Reading Room Policies

The Swenson Center strives to be a welcoming and helpful environment. The nature of our materials, however, means that we must take some extra precautions. We ask that you please be careful handling materials, follow all instructions from the staff, and make sure your hands are clean before handling materials. 

Requested materials will be retrieved by staff and must be used in the Reading Room. Staff will be happy to help you determine which materials you need. 

Some additional things to remember:

  • Use pencils (not pens)
  • Food and drink are not allowed
  • Keep all archival materials in their original order
  • Please set your cell phone to mute or vibrate and take any calls to the lobby so as not to disturb other researchers.

Instruction Services

The Swenson Center welcomes and encourages the use of our material by Augustana College classes and students, as well as those from other institutions. Working with our materials gives students a unique experience using original primary source documents and gives them a taste of the college's Swedish roots. The Swenson Center has conducted instruction sessions for a range of classes, including First Year Inquiry, Scandinavian Studies, History, Geography, and more. Both introductory and in-depth instruction can be designed, and include hands-on use of the materials.

Yes, many of our resources are in the Swedish language. However, many of our recent records are in English. About 41% of our library materials are in English and 77% of our archival collections are at least partially in English.

Augustana faculty members may also apply for our Faculty Research Stipend

If you are interested in scheduling a class session or designing an assignment using Swenson Center materials, please contact Archivist/Librarian Lisa Huntsha.

NEW! Virtual Visits

As instruction moves online, the opportunities for in-person experiences have become more challenging. We’re happy to offer a virtual visit for your class where we can show materials on camera, offer digital surrogates or give virtual tours.

Please plan this experience well in advance as set-up and digitization make take significant time. Contact Archivist/Librarian Lisa Huntsha for assistance.

Photocopying/Scanning Requests

Photocopying and scanning requests must be evaluated by staff to determine the suitability of materials for reproduction. Turn-around time on reproduction orders will depend on the number of reproductions requested and the availability of staff time. 

The Center does not, however, allow for photocopying or scanning of entire volumes or collections.

All reproduction, regardless of format, is for study purposes only and cannot be published (unless separate permission to publish is granted, see below), posted on the internet, or reproduced in any other form. 

Mail requests must be pre-paid. The Swenson Center accepts VISA, MasterCard, Discover, checks (payable to "Swenson Center") or online payments. The fee schedule is as follows.

$0.25/page ($5 minimum charge for mail orders)

$0 for the first image, $5 for each additional image.
Augustana students, staff, alumni or Swenson Center annual supporters: $0 for the first image, $2 for each additional image.

Publication Requests

Use of Swenson Center images in publications must be approved by Swenson Center staff. We reserve the right to charge a fee, separate from the reproduction fee, for the use of our materials in publications. It is the researcher's responsibility to determine copyright and obtain permission from copyright owners.

All requests for publication must be accompanied by the Permission to Publish form.

The following credit line is required if material from the Swenson Center is used in a publication: 
Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL.

The Swenson Center asks that a copy of the published matter be donated to the Center.


For Exhibits

The Swenson Center may loan materials for exhibit at other institutions. Loan requests must conform to the Swenson Center's Loan Agreement. Please note that borrowing institutions bear all costs associated with the loan and the Swenson Center may deny a loan request if the environmental conditions or safeguarding of materials at the borrowing institution is not adequate. Please contact us to initiate a loan.

For Study

Researchers unable to travel to the Swenson Center in order to consult primary source materials are encouraged to consider requests for photocopying/scanning, or to apply for our Visiting Scholar Award. The Swenson Center may also send out some library materials through Interlibrary Loan. For more information about requesting library materials, please contact your home library's Interlibrary Loan department.

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