Swedish American

Swedish American

Infobox Ethnic group
group = flagicon|Sweden Swedish American flagicon|USA

caption = Notable Swedish Americans: Carl Sandburg Charles Lindbergh William Rehnquist Buzz Aldrin

poptime = Swedish 3,998,310 Americans 1.6% of the US population
popplace = Throughout much of the Midwestern United States
langs = American English, Swedish
rels = Predominantly Lutheran, Church of Sweden, other Protestant, Catholic, and Mormon minorities
related = Swedes, Swedish Canadians, Scandinavian Americans, German Americans, Austrian Americans, Dutch Americans

Swedish Americans are Americans of Swedish descent, most often related to the large groups of immigrants from Sweden in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Most likely, about 8 million Americans have Swedish rootsFact|date=February 2008, of whom 4.5 million have been confirmed as Swedish Americans. Most Swedish Americans are Lutherans affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or Methodists.


The first known Swedish-Americans were the settlers of New Sweden, a colony established in 1638 by the New Sweden Company around the area of present-day Wilmington, Delaware. Though it was incorporated into Dutch New Netherlands in 1655, and ceased to be an official territory of the Realm of Sweden, the Swedish and Finnish colonists were allowed some political and cultural autonomy. However, these original Swedish-Americans intermarried with other colonists and seem to have disappeared as a distinctive grouping before 1776.Fact|date=March 2008

Swedish Americans usually came through New York City and settled in the Midwest. Most were Lutheran and belonged to synods now associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, including the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church. Theologically, they were pietistic; politically, they supported progressive causes and prohibition.

Swedish emigration to the United States reached new heights in 1896, and it was in this year that the Vasa Order of America, a Swedish American fraternal organization, was founded to help immigrants, who often lacked an adequate network of social services.

In the year 1900, Chicago was the city with the second highest number of Swedes after Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. Many others settled in Minnesota in particular as well as Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois. In the east, New England became a destination for many skilled industrial workers and Swedish centers developed in areas such as Jamestown, NY; Providence, RI, and Boston, MA. A small Swedish settlement was also begun in New Sweden, Maine.

The largest settlement in New England was Worcester, MA. Here, Swedes were drawn to the city's wire and abrasive industries. By the early 20th Century numerous churches, organizations, businesses, and benevolent associations had been organized. Among them, the Swedish Cemetery Corporation (1885), the Swedish Lutheran Old People's Home(1920), Fairlawn Hospital (1921), and the Scandinavian Athletic Club (1923). These institutions survive today, although some have mainstreamed their names. Numerous local lodges of national Swedish American organizations also flourished and a few remain solvent as of 2008. Within the city's largest historic "Swedish" neighborhood-Quinsigamond Village--street signs read like a map of Sweden: Stockholm Street, Halmstad Street, and Malmo Street among others. Worcester's Swedes were historically staunch Republicans and this political loyalty is behind why Worcester remained a Republican stronghold in an otherwise Democratic state well into the 1950s.

Many Swedes also came to the Pacific Northwest during the turn of the twentieth century, along with Norwegians. The Swedish immigrants that arrived in recent decades settled mostly in the suburbs of New York and Los Angeles. Fact|date=March 2008


thumb|right|300px|Distribution of Swedish Americans according to the 2000 census] A few small towns in the U.S. have retained a few visible Swedish characteristics. Some examples include Silverhill, Alabama; Cambridge, Minnesota; Lindstrom, Minnesota; Karlstad, Minnesota; Lindsborg, Kansas; Gothenburg, Nebraska; Oakland, Nebraska; Andover, Illinois; Kingsburg, California; and Bishop Hill, Illinois.

Around 3.9% of the U.S. population is said to have Scandinavian heritage (which also includes Norwegian Americans, Danish Americans, Finnish Americans, and Icelandic Americans). At present, around 160,000 residents speak a North Germanic language at home, most of them being recent immigrants. Swedish American communities typically switched to English by 1920. Swedish is rarely taught in high schools or colleges, and Swedish language newspapers or magazines are rare.

wedish Americans by state


cholarly secondary sources

* Anderson, Philip J. and Dag Blanck, eds. "Swedish-American Life in Chicago: Cultural and Urban Aspects of an Immigrant People, 1850-1930" (1992)
* Barton; H. Arnold 1994; "A Folk Divided: Homeland Swedes and Swedish-Americans, 1840-1940." Southern Illinois University Press.
* Benson, Adolph B. and Naboth Hedin, eds. [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=53962629 "Swedes in America, 1638-1938." (1938)]
* Beijbom, Ulf. "The Historiography of Swedish America," Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly 31 (1980): 257-85;
* Blanck, Dag. "The Creation of an Ethnic Identity: Being Swedish American in the Augustana Synod, 1860-1917," (Southern Illinois University Press; 256 pages; 2007).
* Kvisto, P., and D. Blanck, eds. 1990. "American Immigrants and Their Generations: Studies and Commentaries on the Hansen Thesis after Fifty Years". University of Illinois Press.
* Lovoll, Odd S. ed., "Nordics in America: The Future of Their Past" (Northfield, Minn., 1993),
* Nelson, Helge. "The Swedes and the Swedish Settlements in North America" 2 vols. (Lund, 1943)
* Ostergren, R. C. 1988. "A Community Transplanted: The Trans-Atlantic Experience of a Swedish Immigrant Settlement in the Upper Middle West, 1835-1915". University of Wisconsin Press.
* Pearson, D. M. 1977. "The Americanization of Carl Aaron Swensson". Rock Island, Ill.: Augustana Historical Society.
* Pihlblad, C. T. 1932. "The Kansas Swedes". "Southwestern Social Science Quarterly" 13: 34-47.
* Runblom, Harald and Hans Norman. "From Sweden to America: A History of the Migration" (Uppsala and Minneapolis, 1976)
* Schnell; Steven M. "Creating Narratives of Place and Identity in "Little Sweden, U.S.A." "The Geographical Review", Vol. 93, 2003
* Stephenson, George M. "The Religious Aspects of Swedish Immigration" (1932).
* Swanson; Alan. "Literature and the Immigrant Community: The Case of Arthur Landfors" Southern Illinois University Press, 1990
* Vasa Order of America website at http://www.vasaorder.org

Primary sources

* Barton, H. Arnold ed. "Letters from the Promised Land: Swedes in America, 1840-1914" (3d ed., 1990)

See also

*Swedish-American relations
*List of Swedish Americans
*Languages of the United States#Swedish
*Vasa Order of America
*American Swedish Historical Museum
*Swedish people
*Swedish emigration to the United States

External links

* [http://www.kindredtrails.com/Where-Did-The-Swedes-Go.html Where Did The Swedes Go? The Causes of Swedish Immigration and Settlement Patterns in America]
* [http://www.ci.oakland.ne.us/ Oakland - The Swedish capital of Nebraska]

European Americans

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