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American Swedish Historical Museum subject files


Held at: American Swedish Historical Museum [Contact Us]1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19145

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the American Swedish Historical Museum. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley was New Sweden, a colony founded by Swedish emigrants in 1638. Swedish sovereignty over the colony lasted less than 20 years, although Swedes continued to settle in the area and exerted an influence over its cultural development. Swedish immigration to the United States rose sharply for the period from 1867 and 1914, when difficult economic conditions in Sweden and cheap land in the United States encouraged many to make the journey. Most immigrants chose not to settle in the Philadelphia area, and instead moved farther west to Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, California and Washington--the states which still have the highest numbers of Swedish-American today. Nonetheless, the Philadelphia area remains a locus for Swedish-American culture because it was the site of the first Swedish settlement in the United States. In 1926, Sweden's Crown Prince (Later King Gustav VI Adolf) placed a cornerstone for the American Swedish Historical Museum in southern Philadelphia. Construction was delayed due to the Great Depression, but the museum was dedicated during the tercentenary celebration of the New Sweden colony in 1938 (which was marked by another visit from the Swedish royal family).


American Swedish Historical Museum. "History of the Museum." Accessed March 15, 2012.

The Swedish Colonial Society. "A Brief History of New Sweden in America." Accessed March 15, 2012.

This is an assembled collection of newspaper clippings, articles, ephemera, photographs, and other materials relating to topics of interest to Swedes in America. The collection is arranged into three series: I. "General subject files"; II. "American Swedish historic sites", and III. "Swedish ambassadors."

Series I. "General subject files" consists primarily of newspaper clippings, articles, ephemera, and newsletters, with some original correspondence. The materials are arranged into subject files around particular Swedish-American groups and individuals; topics such as Swedish art, folk dance, and wood industry; or areas, such as Småland (Sweden) and Denmark. The files are in alphabetical order.

Series II. "American Swedish historic sites" includes background information and photographs, circa 1923-1994, arranged into folders by site.

Series III. "Swedish ambassadors" is comprised of fact sheets describing ambassadors dating back to the 19th century at least. More modern ambassadors' files also contain newspaper clippings, ephemera, and scarce correspondence from about 1920 to 1960.

Materials collected at various times by the American Swedish Historical Museum.

American Swedish Historical Museum
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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