Author shines light on Swedish immigrantsDr. Joy Lintelman, a history professor at Concordia College in Moorhead, visited the Two Harbors Library Aug. 3 to talk about her new award-winning book, “I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson.”
By: Lizz Berge, Lake County News Chronicle
Dr. Joy Lintelman, a history professor at Concordia College in Moorhead, visited the Two Harbors Library Aug. 3 to talk about her new award-winning book, “I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson.” The book is about young, single women who immigrated to America from 1881 to 1920, focusing on a Swedish woman named Mina.
Mina was a domestic servant who moved to the U.S. for a better life and new opportunities. She married and settled in Minnesota to work a farm with her husband. She would occasionally write articles for the Swedish American newspaper Svenska Amerikanska Posten, under the name Cicelia. The story is told in Mina’s own writing, accompanied by Lintelman’s text of how immigrant women became Americans.
Lintleman says she first became interested in studying Swedish immigrants while she was attending Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.
Lintelman first found Mina’s memoir in an archive in Sweden. Author Vilhelm Moberg asked Mina to write about her life as a Swedish immigrant to help him write his famous work known as “The Emigrants Series.” What Lintelman found was that the series and Mina’s memoir were very disjointed, and Lintelman felt Mina’s story had to be told.
Lintleman spent about a decade doing research and visiting Sweden and Norway where Mina had spent the first part of her life.
“I love archival research, looking through documents, photographs, and it was thrilling when I could make a discovery or connection to Mina’s life,” Lintelman said. “While researching another topic at an archive in Sweden, I discovered a survey Mina had completed and sent in about her immigration, sometime in the 1940s.”
Lintelman said that the actual writing of the book took two summers. When it was published it was a success, winning a Minnesota Book Award.
Lintelman also had another unexpected surprise when the book was published. “A number of people have contacted me to tell me that Mina’s story really helped them understand their own grandmothers or great-grandmothers, or their own family history in general,” she said. “Some even told me that the book at times moved them to tears. I didn’t expect to have such an impact on some readers, and it is rewarding when that happens.”
Lintelman is now working on a book about the experiences of Swedish immigrant children and would be happy to receive information or stories on the topic. If you would like to share your stories, you can email her at email@example.com.