Sunday 6 February 2011

A little bit of Swedish history that relates to the USA

During the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century about 1.3 million Swedes emigrated to the USA. Main reasons being poverty, bad crops here in Sweden and just generally the American Dream of the Promised Land.

An excellent source to learn more about this is to read the novel suite The Emigrants by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg, which he wrote between 1949 and 1959. (The Emigrants, Unto a Good Land, The Settlers, The Last Letter Home). These books are considered to be among the best pieces of Swedish literature. And I do recommend them strongly.

In the 1970's two films were made based on the book suite. The Emigrants and The New Land. These films I also highly recommend. They were shown on Swedish TV when I was a child, around 7 to 9 years old, and I still have very vivid memories from them. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman plays the two leading roles.

In the 1990's the two former ABBA members Björn Ulveus and Benny Andersson did a musical based on the story, Kristina from Duvemåla. The music clip from YouTube is from a performance by the female lead singer Helene Sjöholm, singing the main theme, where she is doubting God's existance. I get goose pimps!

My grandmother's older brother Harald Lignell emigrated in the 1920's. And I know I have a whole family of relatives from his descendants living in the US today. My cousin Eva went there and saw them some 20-30 years ago. I remember her showing photos of the amazing house they lived in. As I remember it, it was a round house looking almost like a spaceship that had landed in the desert. There was a small group of these houses built as I remember it on the outskirts of Phoenix Arizona. I think I must contact her soon to get the facts right. It would be very much fun if anyone would happen to know what I am talking about though. Those houses are apparently famous. My maiden name was Nordstrom (or Nordstroem, depending on how you choose to spell it). And isn't there a big and nice ware house called Nordstrom's in Chicago and around that area. I don't know if the founder was a relative of mine, but I can always fantasize, can't I.

Hej då!
Vi ses snart igen!


Unknown said...

Har man en engelskspråkig blogg är det helt naturligt att man berättar något om svensk historia och kultur. Jag försöker också vara något av en liten ambassadör för Sverige på min blogg.
Det var roligt att du också är med i Etsy sammanslutningen 'Team Swedeint'. Jag har två Etsy-butiker och bloggar med.

Det kommer att bli tufft för mig ett tag framöver eftersom jag måste flytta till en ny bostad. Så rätt som det är kommer jag att behöva göra ett avbrott under en eller två veckor.

Välkommen att besöka min engelskpråkiga blogg:
Anna's Adornments

Varma hälsningar

(Jag kallar mig ofta 'Anna', så bli inte förvånad om jag använder namnet 'Anna' när jag skriver under brev och blogginlägg.)

Malin de Koning said...

Hej Anna! Kul å se dej här, jag är ärad. Jag är förresten uppvuxen i Norrköping. Har sällan anledning att åka dit, men nån gång ibland så. Och jag har faktiskt redan kollat in din blogg via Team SwedenInt. :-)
Vi hörs å syns!

Anonymous said...

Malin. I liked this post. I will see if Netflix has the movie for me to watch. And the singing in the video was fabulous. As you know, many Swedes immigrated to Minnesota, which is part of my heritage. Here is a link for The American Swedish Institute in Minnesota.
BTW, Nordstrom's is also at the Mall of America in Minnesota!