The Dream of America: Swedish Immigration to Chicago

Exhibit Scavenger Hunt

'Can you spot the objects? Use these clues to find artifacts in the exhibit and learn their stories!
Start at the Trunks at the top of the grand staircase and move counter clockwise around the exhibit. Good luck!

(Out of respect for these irreplaceable artifacts, pJease remember to
find the objects with your eyes and not your hands. thank you!)

At the Trunks: Find an item with "MALM" written on the top.

This was brought from Sweden to America 1910 by a teenage girl
named Gun1ll1d.

In the Stuga: Find something wooden you wear on your feet. Many farmers in 19th century Sweden wore these, they were cheap and easy to make with the abundance of trees in the country. The Swedish American Line: Find an SAL souvenir you might send back home with a greeting. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these items were a very popular way to keep in touch with family and friends back in Sweden. Immigrant Wall of Honor/Ellis Island: Find a photo of a mother and daughter in a frame. Elin and Birgitta arrived at Ellis Island from Sweden in 1924-the full story of their Ellis Island experience is highlighted near their photograph. Through the Archway: Look up at the Andersonville Mural above the maps-can you find a building that looks like a log cabin? That is what the front of the Museum looked like when it was founded in 1976. On the wall to the right of the maps: Find a photo of a school building. The' Andersenville' school, originally located at the comer of Clark S1.and Foster Ave. is thought by many to be the namesake for the neighborhood, (despite the spelling difference!) At the Carpenter's Shop: Find an ornately carved arm-chair This item was made by Frederic Johansson in Sweden and he brought it with him when he moved to Chicago in 1900.

III the Grocery Store: Find something used to grind coffee. Coffee is the center of a Swedish tradition known as "fika," which is a break for coffee and snacks! In Religious Life: Find something gold that a Swedish bride might wear. This Christian wedding tradition dates back to the Middle Ages in Sweden. In the Parlor: Find an instrument you pump with your feet. This instrument was imported from Sweden and was made by a famous Swedish instrument maker! (hint: it has black and white keys.) In the Kitchen: Find a colorful rooster. This item is handcrafted, similar to the Swedish Dala Horse. Many Swedes consider it a sign of good luck to have the image of rooster in their kitchen. Traditions Corner: Find an instrument with both strings and keys. This item is considered the national instrument of Sweden and is widely used in Swedish talk music.

Clubs and Social Groups: Find a group of young men in striped shirts. In early 20th century Chicago, many Swedish immigrants formed clubs for sports, music, dance and socialization. Bolling Immigrant Room: Find an item of furniture used for drawing. Per Bolling, a Swedish immigrant, used this item to design many machines for his business, which was incredibly successful and even had international branches! Raoul Wallenberg Room: Find something large in the center of the room, surrounded by seats. This item was originally used for meetings at the Swedish Consulate office in Chicago.

.. • • • • •

Answers: A steamer trunk with "Malm' written on the top, to the right of the family on the ship deck. Wooden shoes, near the hearth in the Stuga. A Swedish American Line Postcards in the far right case. Reproduction photo ofEIin and Birgitta Hedman c. 1924 on the right of the black painted waiL The log cabin image is in the lower lefthand comer of the Mural. Photo of Andersen ville School building, lower right of wall next to archway, (above an elementary school class photo from the same.) Armchair in the Carpenter's shop, to the right of the workbench, facing the Augustana case, labeled "Gesellprov." Coffee grinder on display in the Grocery Store window on the right. Swedish bridal crown, in the red case under the baptismal gown. A Swedish pump organ on the left, in the parlor display. Small Dala rooster on the back table next to the window in the kitchen. A Nyckelharpa, hanging on the wall to the right of the figures in Swedish folk dress. A framed photo of the 1916 Swedish American Athletic Association soccer club just above the large trophies. Per Bolling's drafting table on the right side of the room. Large meeting table from the Swedish Consulate in Chicago in the middle of the room.

.. • • .. • • .. .. •


Welcome to a Self-guided Tour of our Permanent Exhibit A Dream of America:
Swedish Immigration to Chicago

5211 N. Clark St. I Chicago, IL 60640 I Tel: 773.728.8111 http://www.swedishamericanmuseum.orgl


You are about to step into the past and experience the journey of a lifetimeMore than 1 million Swedes left their homeland between 1850 and 1930. They joined millions of people from around the world who hoped for a better life in America. In 19th century Sweden, a growing population and several years of crop failures left many people without food and livelihood. In addition, social and political discontent, the desire for religious freedom, and the wish to escape compulsory military service pushed Swedes from their homeland. Economic opportunity -in both industry and agriculture-s-was the largest draw for Swedes to North America and especially to Chicago. You will explore the world the Swedish immigrants left behind, the voyage to a new land, and the lives of those who transformed Chicago into the Swedish capital of North America. We hope you enjoy the tour!

'Karin MoenAbercrombie Executive Director

Veronica Robinson Curator


A DREAM OF AMERICA: SWEDEISH IMMIGRATION TO CHICAGO LEA VING SWEDEN A Swedish Log Cabin. Start your tour at the Swedish log cabin from Valmasen, Harjedalen, near the Norwegian border. The log cabin was donated by Nordiska Museet in Stockholm. The mannequin represents Stina OIofsdotter, mother of Anders Larson and his family, who emigrated to America in 1868. They would have travelled on a tall ship-a large sailboat. The journey could take up to a couple of months depending on the conditions at sea. The cabinet holds many beautiful linens. Notice the white candlewicked bedspread with crocheted edging on the sides. The cotton apron on the straight-back wooden chair has a crocheted trim. The wooden objects in the cabin include a candle holder, wood canister with a cover, and handmade wooden rake. These types of domestic objects would have been made in the home, usually by members of the family, during this time period. The art of bending, coopering, and shaping wooden objects was highly developed in the 19th century Sweden, and formed the basis for a cottage industy. Across from the log cabin are the large America chests the immigrants used to pack their belongings for their journey to America. Typically, each family would bring only one trunk. They would bring only their necessary items, such as clothing, food, tools, the Bible, perhaps a small musical instrument, or a toy for each child. Some of the trunks have the name of the owner and year of travel carved on the front.



Rederiet Foreslar Resmat for En Person (The Shipping Company Suggests Travel Food for One Person) _. The shipping companies assisted the immigrants by preparing a list of items to bring with them for their long journey. Look at the names of the items and food products, and see if you can translate any of the words. Some of the words are quite similar in Swedish and English, like potatis (potatoes.)

NEW INDUSTRY On your left is a Swedish ticket agent. His role was to sell tickets for the railroad and ships and answer questions for the Swedes who were leaving their homeland. The Larson Brothers began a ticket agency for immigrants, which after 1878 was known as Broderna Larsson and Co., with offices in Goteborg, Malmo, and Stockholm. They employed 150 agents throughout Sweden.

Goteborg och Sillgatan. On the wall to the right of the ticket agent is a picture of Herring Street (Sillgatan) in Goteborg. The emigrants traveled to Goteborg, where they would spend a night before starting their overseas trip. Most of them stayed at one of the newly opened inns on Herring Street. The street had become well known to the emigrants and many vendors saw an increase in their business. The Swedish American Line pier was close to the fish market, so that may explain where the Herring Street name originated.



Svenska Amerika Linjen (Swedish American Line). In 1915, the shipping company Swedish American Line started a direct line from Sweden to the United States and Canada. MS. Stockholm, the first ship, was purchased from Holland American Line. She could carry 2,292 passengers; approximately 1,880 of them were third class passengers. This was Sweden's first passenger vessel. M.S. Drottningholm was the Swedish American Line's second ship, purchased from the Canadian Pacific Ocean Services in 1920. MS. Gripsholm was the first ship the Swedish American Line commissioned to be built. Delivered in 1924, she became the first North Atlantic diesel engine motor ship. MS. Kungsholm was the second ship commissioned by the Swedish American Line. Delivered in 1928, she became the sister ship to M'IS. Gripsholm. In the display case are some of the items used on the ships. These include an ashtray from M.S. Kungsholm , an aquavit bottle with glass, a metal match box from M.S. Gripsholm, playing cards from M.S Gripsholm, pins from M.S Kungsholm and MS. Gripsholm, a yellow water pitcher, a set ofTre Kronor (Three Crown) dishes, calendars, a souvenir plate, postcards, and a ribbon from M.S Kungsholm gift shop.


In 1892, Ellis Island opened its doors to immigrants from all over the world. It is estimated that almost 20 million people came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1920. Ellis Island closed its doors in 1954. It has been restored and now serves as a

The woman and child sitting on the bench are Elin Hedman and her daughter Birgitta, who arrived at Ellis Island in 1924. Elin's husband, who had left Sweden a few months earlier to start a new life for the family, failed to meet them. They had to spend the night at Ellis Island, which was frightening experience especially for Birgitta, who was only seven years old. Elin's husband showed up the next day, so they could continue their life in the new country. If you look to your right at the pictures of Ellis Island immigrants, you can see a picture of Elin and Birgitta. LIFE IN CHICAGO Swedish Neighborhoods. In 1870, nearly one half of all Chicago residents were immigrants, and the city was growing rapidly. By 1880, Chicago boasted half a million residenrs-c-l LOuu of whom were Swedish. The city was only 43 years old by that time. The Swedish community started new neighborhoods in Chicago throughout the 19th century and well into the 20th century. By 1900, there were so many Swedes in Chicago that it had the second largest concentration of Swedes in the world, second only to Stockholm in Sweden. By 1890, Swedes were the third largest ethnic group in the city of Chicago behind only the Irish and the Germans, The first Swede in Chicago arrived in 1830. Swedes settled in Swede town, located near the Chicago River, around an area near today's Merchandise Mart, extending north to Division Street.




Between 1830 and 1846, Swedes established stores in the South Water Street market area. After the great fire in 1871, most Swedes moved outside the city. Chicagoans were no longer allowed to build wooden houses within the city limits and since most Swedish people built wooden log cabins as their homes, they moved out of Swede town. The area became more industrialized and more Italianized. The Swedes moved either south to Englewood, north around Belmont and Sheffield in Lakeview, or further north to the Andersonville area. OCCUPATIONS Domestic Servants Single women made up one-third of the people who emigrated from Sweden to America between 1890 and 1910. Letters and visits from relatives living in Chicago told stories about the promise of available jobs and good wages. The existence of an established Swedish community also enticed many single women to leave Sweden to come to Chicago. In 1907, at the age of 15, Eva Nydal left Smaland for Chicago, where she found work as a maid. Soon, she was able to buy her very own "America hat," a symbol that demonstrated she had become successful in her adopted homeland. Another woman, Gunhild Malm, emigrated in 1910 at the age of 15. She became a domestic servant for families in Chicago until she had made enough money to put herself through business school and eventually opened an auto service station on Addison street. She and her husband operated the service station into the 19505. Gunhild's immigrant trunk can be seen near the entrance to the exhibit-it is marked "Maim" in white letters on the top.



Carpenter Shop
One of the first recliners was made at the Pullman Factory south of Chicago. Legend says that it was originally made for Abraham Lincoln to put in his first class car on a train. The carpenter shop has a great variety of woodworking tools like those used to create the furniture nearby. The wooden chair hanging from the wall can be folded out and turned into a bench. The chair on the floor was a "gesallprov" (apprentice test,) which a carpenter's apprentice created to prove he was ready to become a master carpenter. Grocery Store Chicago's Swedish community always included a busy shopping area. Jonas Swedberg from Smaland, Sweden, opened the first grocery store on South Water in 1846.. In these shops, Chicago's Swedish residents could purchase imported Swedish products, Swedish books and many other everyday goods. One such store, Dalkullan Publishing and Importing company stocked 'pirated' copies of Swedish language books and plays and also had a steamship ticket office in the back. Dalkullan originally opened on Oak street in the "Swede Town" area but moved northward with much of the Swedish population, reopening in Andersonville in 1910. Dalkullan closed in 1972. Augustana Hospital Originally located at the comer of Cleveland, Lincoln, and Garfield Avenues, Augustana Hospital was founded in 1884 by the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church. The first hospital building was equipped to house 15 patients but quickly grew. The Augustana School of Nursing opened within the hospital in 1894 and graduated over 3,000 nurses by its closing in 1989. The hospital was taken over by the Lutheran General Healthcare System in 1987 and finally closed in 1989.




St. Ansgarius was the first Swedish congregation in Chicago.
An Episcopal church, it was located near Franklin and Kinzie

Streets. The congregation moved in the 1930s, and maintained its Swedish traditions until the arrival of the first non-Swedish speaking priest in 1941. The congregation dissolved in 1998. The wedding crown in the display case is usually worn with Swedish folk dress. The foldable organ and music (Monster Kyrkan, "The Model Church") were both donated by J. L. Hultgren. The organ bench is from the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Mission on Diana Ave. (now Artesian). The bench was used in the first church building. The decorated seat cover was handembroidered by Mrs. Emmar Youngberg in 1870. On the wall hangs a psalmodikon, like the foldable organ, a portable instrument. Many religious congregations did not have a dedicated building in their early years, so they would use the parlors of their members for services and transport these instruments from house to house. The psalmodikon has been called "the poor man's Organ," ifattigsmans orgel) The string is played with a bow; the notes are made by pressing on the frets. The Bibles on the bookshelf span over 100 years and represent only a fraction of the Museum's collection-we have over 700 Swedish Bibles. Many of these Bibles contain family histories and handwritten dedications within their covers. The hand-carved chair has a hinged seat. The altar painting, altar rail, and altar garments were donated by Immanuel Lutheran Church, Delaware, Iowa.


MEET THE PRESS Newspapers were an important part of Swedish American culture. It has been estimated that over 1,500 Swedish-American newspapers were in existence between 1850 and 1940. A few of the papers lasted for many years and enjoyed large circulations. Some ofthe editors and publishers of these papers achieved both fame and fortune. Virtually every religion denomination and political affiliation had its own newspaper. Among the earliest Swedish immigrant newspapers were Scandinaven, first published in New York in 1851, and Hemlandet, first printed in Galesburg, IL, in 1854.
Every city and many small town had its Swedish newspapers and magazines. Most of these were weekly with relatively small circulations. In New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis and Seattle, however, papers had much larger circulations. Swedish language newspapers peaked during World War 1. After the war, readership declined and by World War II, most of the Swedish-American newspapers had disappeared.

Johan Alfred Enander was born in 1842 and came to America in 1869. Enander was a leading figure in Chicago's Swedish press around the tum of the century. He became editor of Hemlandet, an important religious and political newspaper. Nelson Algren, the grandson of Swedish immigrants, once served time in prison for stealing a typewriter so he could write. His stories about Chicago portrayed the gritty underside of urban life. Algren received the National Book Award for Fiction in 1949 for his novel about a heroin addict, The Man with the Golden Arm.


Carl Sandburg, famous Swedish American poet, gave Chicago its nickname "City of the Big Shoulders." Sandburg was born in 1878 in Galesburg, IL. The son of Swedish immigrants, August and Clara Anderson Sandburg. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for his poetry and another for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. A SWEDISH HOME Parlor around 1910 - Prominent on the wall are the portraits of two Bishop Hill immigrants, Per and Carolina Erson. The black pump organ was brought from Sweden. The corner cabinet is part of the Florence Bartlet donation from the Art Institute of Chicago. The textiles in the room were made using traditional Scandinavian techniques. The kitchen was the heart of the home. Here you will find handknit woolen rugs, and linen towels. The Swedish pull-out sofa where the children slept takes up a big part of the kitchen. On the stove is a cast-iron pancake pan. On the small table is a handpainted wooden coffee grinder from the 19th century. The kitchen table is set for breakfast. SWEDISH TRADITIONS Swedish Folk Dress-Swedish folk dress differed from province to province based on differences in taste, climate and materials available. At one point in Sweden's history, folk costumes like those you see here were daily wear for most people. Today, these outfits are mainly used for special occasions and festivals. From left to right: a man's folk costume from Dalarna; a woman's dress from Orsa; and a woman's dress from Dalarna. The cake to the left of the folk costumes is called "spettekaka." It is a local dessert from the southern part of Sweden. The cake consists of eggs, potato flour, and sugar. The batter is poured on a wooden spit, like the one next to the cake, and rotated over an open fire. The flowers atop this cake indicate that it was prepared for a wedding.


Traskor (wooden shoes) -Tdiskor are often worn with the traditional Swedish folk costume. In Sweden, if a farm boy needed a new pair of shoes, he walked into the woods, found a piece of wood, and carved himself a pair. Nyckelharpa is unique to Sweden. This strings are "keyed" from below, and played with a bow. This exceptional instrument was made in Sweden for Axel Hedman, who immigrated in 1911. A photo featuring Axel and his instrument hangs nearby, SWEDISH AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS Swedes established a variety of organizations that provided links to their homeland, celebrated their heritage, and kept them connected to their fellow countrymen. Between 1880 and 1920, in addition to dozens of churches, Swedes founded over 130 secular organizations. Swedish men participated in the formal rituals of fraternal organizations like Vasa, The Order of Vikings, and Svithiod. New members where voted into these clubs, but a "black ball" in the banned one's entrance. Such group also acted as a form of social insurance, providing sickness and death benefits to their members. Singing groups like Freja, Svithiod Singing Club, and the Chicago Swedish Male Chorus continued the European tradition of choral singing. The Chicago Swedish Male Chorus continues today and practices in our gallery space here at the Museuml


The Swedish Club of Chicago championed Swedish achievements, showcasing handicrafts and sponsoring annual art exhibitions. The Swedish Engineers' Society provided a social outlet while advancing professional objectives. Groups such as Swedish American Athletic Association brought Swedes together and kept a tradition of sports alive throughout the 20th century. The Pedestal to the left of the large banner was made in Sweden by the renowned Swedish porcelain company Rorstrand. It was shipped to Chicago for the Columbian World Exposition in 1893 to be displayed at the Swedish-Norwegian Pavilion. The patterns and colors are unusual for Swedish design; they reflect instead the Victorian bourgeois interior stylethat was popular at the end of the 19th century. After the Columbian World Exposition closed, Henry Ericsson, the well-known owner of Ericsson Construction Co. in Chicago, bought the pedestal and displayed it in his home. Eventually, he gave it to his grandson, Robert Ericsson, who in tum donated it to the Swedish American Museum in September 2001. The BOLLING ROOM Pehr Bolling arrived in Chicago at age lOin 1930 with his mother, Marie, and brothers Hans and Bengt. The year before, his father, Otto, came to America where relatives were living with the hope of finding enough work to support his family.


He brought with him his two oldest children, Martha and Carl. Otto hoped to send for the remaining family members as soon as possible. By saving and borrowing money, he was able to do so the following year. Like many Swedish immigrants, the Bolling family settled in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Pehr Bolling founded Overland Bolling, Inc. together with Karl Overland and Kenneth Allison. The company had branches in four states and Switzerland. Pehr's son Tom Bolling, and Ken Overland, son Karl Overland, took over Overland Bolling. Tom was appointed Consul General to Sweden in 1993. His accidental death in 2003 was a great loss to his family and the Swedish American c?mmunity. ." In 1901, pharmacist Charles R. Walgreen, Sr. opened his first store on Chicago'S south side. Charles Walgreen was born on a farm outside Galesburg, 1L in 1873, and was the son of Swedish immigrants from Ockelbo and Goteborg, Sweden. Albert Ivar Appleton was born in Sweden in 1872, came to Chicago in 1885, and in 1893 became assistant superintendent of the Chicago Fuse Mfg. Co. Nov. 1, 1903, he founded the Appleton Electric Co .. For the next 48 years, from the time he took the helm until his death in 1951, Appleton was an innovator and an active participant in the electric industry. He was married to Lillian C. Wihk of Chicago, and had three children, John Albert, Arthur Ivar, and Edith Marie Appleton. Edith Marie is the mother of Albert Goodman of Chicago's Goodman Theatre.




Andrew Langquist, a well-known builder and developer of Lanquist Construction, was born in Sweden in 1856 and immigrated to America in 1881. Lanquist was responsible for such famous Chicago landmarks as Wrigley Building and Marshall Field's on State Street. Per Peterson was born in Sweden in 1830 and established his own nursery, Rosehill, in 1856 on Chicago's north side. Peterson supplied most of the nursery stock for Lincoln Park, and was the sole supplier for Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Peterson Avenue is named after Per Peterson.

RAOUL WALLENBERG ROOM Our last room is dedicated to Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. A member of the foremost banking and business family in Sweden, Wallenberg is revered for saving between 20,000 and 100,000 Hungarian Jews from extermination by the German Nazis and their Hungarian allies during 1944-1945. He was arrested by the Soviets in 1945, and his fate remains unknown, although numerous theories have been advanced.


Visitor Information Museum and Store .Hours Monday -Friday Saturday & Sunday

10 a.m. -4 11 a.m. -4

p.m. p.m.

Brunk Children's Museum Hours Monday- Thursday Friday Saturday & Sunday. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Ila.m. - 4 p.m.

Admission Adults: $ 4 Children, students, seniors: $3 Museum members and children under 1 year: Free Tours I Guided tours for interested groups are available with advance scheduling-contact the Curator at 773.728.8111 (ext. 22) Educational Programs and School Field Trips Contact Education Manager at 773.728. 8111 (ext .26)



5211 N. Clark

st. I

Chicago, IL 60640


Tel: 773.728.8111

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful