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G.N. Swan papers, 1875-1938

Size: 50 linear feet, 121 boxes

Acquisition: The collection was donated to the College in the 1930s.

Access: The collection is open for research and limited amount copies may be requested via mail.

Control Num.: MSS P:6

Biographical note

Gustav Nilsson Swan was born in Räfstad, Tjärstads parish in the county of Östergötland on May 16, 1856 to Kristoffer Nilsson and Anna Lovia Persson Swan. The father was a farmer, juryman and councilor. The family immigrated to the U.S. in 1870 and settled on a farm they had purchased in Belinda, Lucas County, Iowa. Swan attended public schools in Iowa between 1870-1873, and worked as a store clerk 1873-1876 in Clarithon and Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He studied at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois 1877-1879. After attending college he first went to work as a secretary and manager for a Swedish fabric company in Sioux City, as treasurer in a bank 1889-1910, guardian and trustee of property 1910-, and finally as the Swedish and Norwegian consul in Sioux City, Iowa between 1899-1906 and for Sweden 1906-1928.

Swan was a member of the Augustana College and Seminary board of trustees between 1893-1912, Augustana Book Concern board 1917-1926, treasurer for the Augustana Synod mission board, 1894-1896, treasurer for the Iowa conference 1896-1899, Riksföreningen för Svenskhetens bevarande i utlandet, Svenska Kulturförbundet i Amerika 1917-1927, and the American-Scandinavian Foundation.

He received the honorary degree of atrium magister 1900 and L.H.D in 1917 from Augustana College and the North Star in 1928.

Swan married Carolina Sofia Samuelsson from Norrhult, Tidesrum parish in Östergötland on June 12, 1884. Their one child, Helge was born July 27, 1885 (see MSSP:5). He became a literary critic and drama playwright. Helge died at the early age of 36. His mother proceeded him in death in 1888. G.N. Swan died on June 30, 1938 in Sioux City, Iowa, after living there for 57 years. He is buried in Floyd Cemetary. 

Swan contributed regularly with articles to Swedish, Swedish-American and American newspapers and journals. He also published the following books:

Fjettrad, eller den strid som stundar. Öfversättning från engelskan. Rock Island, Illinois 1885

Svenskarna i Sioux City. Några blad ur deras historia. Chicago, 1912

Gamla Svenska Biblar i Amerika och Bibelns segertåg genom världen.

Tvenne uppsatser om Böckernas Bok. Rock Island, Illinois


The collection reflects Swan's interest in Swedish-American literature, the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, press history, cultural organizations, and business. It includes letters addressed to Swan, his personal writings, notebooks, private financial records, clippings from the Swedish-American press and photographs.

Series Description

I. The material includes autobiographical and biographical material, including clippings from newspapers, handwritten notes, and scrapbooks.

II. Family correspondence. The series include letters from family members and are arranged chronologically.

III. a. Professional correspondence, 1875-1938, indexed on cards by writer's last name

b. Letter files, arranged by writer's last name (card index in progress)

IV. Correspondence and business files. The series include information about the Augustana Evangelical Church in Sioux City such as extracts of minutes, financial records, and accounts; Correspondence with Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande i Utlandet; consular files, and estate papers, etc.

V. Personal finance and legal papers. The series include notebooks containing travel expenses, sales of land, bills, etc; papers relating to personal investments in stocks and securities; tax returns; real estate papers etc.

VI. Literary production and writings. The material includes Swan's notebooks containing listings of pseudonyms, travel journals, and other literary and historical compilations.

VII. Subject files. The series include among others biographical material about individuals, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, Augustana College, and the Swedish-American Lincoln Club of Sioux City, Iowa.

VIII. Scrapbooks and Clippings containing material of various Swedish-American topics such as "Letter to newspapers," Swan's contributions to newspapers, Svenskarna i Amerika, and Svenskarna i Sioux City.

IX. Clippings from Swan's books arranged in call number order.

X. Printed pamphlets and matters arranged in alphabetical order according to subject and include information on the topics of religion, business matters, and art.

XI. Photographs including portraits of Swan, his family, printed portraits of Swedish-American authors, and stereo view cards.

XII. Postcards of emigrant ships, Swedish-American buildings and sites, and from various sites in Europe and United States.

XIII. Artifacts such as notebooks, calendars, business cards, pins, and ribbons.

XIV. Misc. book catalogs, travel brochures, and copies book reviews.

Related Materials

Many of the photographs, pamphlets, and artifacts from this collection can be viewed online in our PastPerfect Online Database by clicking the link and keyword searching "G. N. Swan papers" (with the quotes). 

Folder Inventory

Series I. Autobiographical and Biographical material

Box 1, Folders 1-9

  1. Samuelson - handwritten family notes
  2. Autobiographical material written for various encyclopedias, notes, etc.
  3. Clippings from newspapers - family, births, deaths, anniversaries, etc.
  4. Knutson - Anderson notes
  5. Family data - notes
  6. Scrapbook and Clippings
  7. Clippings - G.N. and Victor Swan (professional and business)
  8. Personal Diaries, 1870-1878 and 1878-1879
  9. Misc. Certificates
  10. Misc. diplomas

Series II. Family Correspondence

Box 2, Folders 1-11

Series III a. Correspondence arranged chronologically and indexed on index cards by writer's last name. Index available at the Swenson Center.

Box 1, Folders 1-5; 1875-1908
Box 2, Folders 1-5; 1909-1915
Box 3, Folders 1-8; 1918-1929
Box 4, Folders 1-8; 1930-1938, n.d.

Series III b. Letter Files

Boxes 1-17

Arranged by writer's last name (index in progress)

Series IV.

Box 1. Folders 1-12

  1. Augustana Book Concern board of Directors, Notices of meetings and Minutes.
  2. Augustana College and Theological Seminary, Board of Directors. Notices of Meetings, correspondence and printed invitations.
  3. Augustana College and Theological Seminary. Phrenoskosmian Society - minutes and notices of meeting, March 1879.
  4. Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church. Board of Missions - correspondence, and other misc.
  5. Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church. Ministerial Aid fund - printed statues and lists correspondence and notes.
  6. Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sioux City, IA - extracts of minutes, 1991-1909, and financial records and accounts 1887-1906.
  7. Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sioux City, IA - correspondence, 1883-1897, and misc. notes.
  8. D. Irving Holcomb dry goods Store, Mount Pleasant, IA - financial ledger.
  9. Larson - Swan Dry Goods Co., Sioux City, IA - financial statements etc.
  10. Föreningen Fridhem - constitution.
  11. Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sioux City, IA - choir program and copy of original Sunday School notes.
  12. Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sioux City, IA - printed financial statements, 1920s-1930s.

Box 2, Folders 1-9

  1. Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande I Utlandet/Svenska Kulturförbundet. Letter files - Lundström, Wilhelm and Lundström, Enni.
  2. Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande I Utlandet/Svenska Kulturförbundet. Minutes, reports, speeches, and articles.
  3. Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande I Utlandet/Svenska Kulturförbundet. General correspondence and circulars.
  4. Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande I Utlandet/Svenska Kulturförbundet. Letter files - Fleege, Ragnar
  5. Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande I Utlandet/Svenska Kulturförbundet. Letter files - Riksföreningen and Allsvensk Samling.
  6. Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande I Utlandet/Svenska Kulturförbundet. Various printed material and notes.
  7. Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande I Utlandet/Svenska Kulturförbundet. Letter files - Hult, Bertil 1927.
  8. Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande I Utlandet/Svenska Kulturförbundet. Letter files - misc. 1920s
  9. Föreningen för Svenskhetens Bevarande I Utlandet/Svenska Kulturförbundet. Misc. Material about Lydia Hedberg (Bergslagsmor).

Box 3, Folders 1-6

  1. Jenny Lind Memorial Committee. Correspondence - Christina Nilsson
  2. Jenny Lind Memorial Committee. Correspondence
  3. John Ericson Memorial Commission, New York, NY. Correspondence, Telegrams, Minutes and Treasurers’ Bulletins; 1914, 1916 and 1917.
  4. John Ericson Memorial Commission, New York, NY. Correspondence, Treasurer’s Bulletins, and Subscription Lists; July -December, 1917.
  5. John Ericson Memorial Commission, New York, NY. Correspondence, Treasurer’s Bulletins, Printed Matter, and Photographs; 1918.
  6. John Ericson Memorial Commission, New York, NY. Correspondence, Memoranda, Reports and Minutes; 1919-1929; 1932-1933; n.d.

Box 4, Folders 1-7

  1. Merchants National Bank Ledger, 1892-1894
  2. Merchants national Bank, Sioux City, IA. Scandinavian Exchange, Official corresp., and Papers.
  3. New Samaritan Hospital Association Sioux City, IA. Correspondence , Board Meeting Notes, Warner Fund Notes; 1897-1935; n.d.
  4. Security Building and Loan Association; Nov. 1889- April 1897.
  5. Sioux City Academy of Sciences and Letters, Sioux City, IA. Correspondence, Minutes, Receipts, and Programs
  6. Sioux City Plow Company. Business Correspondence, Annual Report, Notes, and Bills & Receipts; 1880s
  7. Newspaper Subscription Agency/ Scandinavian Book Exchange. Catalogs, and letters; 1880s, and 1890s.

Box 5, Folders 1-11

  1. Notary Public Files
  2. Passenger lines, tickets, reservations
  3. Steamship agents circulars
  4. Svenska turistföreningen
  5. Svenska turistföreningen
  6. Nils Nilsson – correspondence
  7. Swedish Club, Sioux City. Constitution, membership, and committee lists
  8. Swedish Club, Sioux City.
  9. Swedish Publishing Company, Sioux City. Cash Accounts Ledger, 1894-1894, Cash Receipts (Notes) 1892-1893.
  10. Swedish Publishing Company, Sioux City. Minutes, Correspondence and draft of letter to shareholders.
  11. Third Ward Republican Club, Sioux City. Constitution and Minutes.

Box 6, Folders 1-13

  1. 1. Consular Files Introductory files
  2. Handwritten misc. notes
  3. Official Consular regulations & forms
  4. Printed forms and circulars
  5. "Record of Official Acts…" March 20, 1899-December 31, 1928
  6. Diary of Communications 1921-1928
  7. Correspondence 1886-1899
  8. Correspondence 1900-1919
  9. Correspondence 1920-1929
  10. Correspondence 1930-1938; n.d.
  11. Misc. certificates
  12. Passport applications and translations of Swedish documents
  13. Circulars

Box 7

  1. Finances and corresp., 1920-1922
  2. Finances, corresp. and receipts, 1922-1923
  3. Consular receipts, 1902-1927
  4. Record Book: postage and temperatures.
  5. Receipts for payment of post office box
  6. Consular fees and expenses, 1906-1910
  7. Consular expenses
  8. Stationary orders, inquiries
  9. Collections and distributions 1899-19211
  10. Index of collection cases, 1899-1907
  11. Consular collection cases, 1910-1928
  12. Corresp., notes, and semi-annual reports on inheritance cases
  13. The Theodor Erickson case
  14. The Carl Leander Blom case (divorce)
  15. Ole Peterson Moe vs. John Anderson Moe case file
  16. Hulda Helena Ottosdotter Swanson case file

Box 8, folders 1-4

  1. George P. Day Estate papers
  2. Stone – Day Estate papers
  3. Day family, corresp.
  4. George P. Day Estate, legal documents etc.

Box 9, folders 1-36

  1. Misc. cases
  2. Gustaf Abrahamson Estate
  3. Carl J. Abrahamson Estate
  4. Carl J. Anderson Estate
  5. Cecilia Anderson Estate
  6. Ernst Herman Anderson Estate
  7. S.G. Anderson Estate
  8. Carl J. Appelman Estate
  9. Axel Berg (Elgtberg) Estate
  10. Charles Johan Berglund Estate
  11. Esther Brun Branefeldt Estate
  12. Esther Brun Björnefeldt and J.W. Thorbjörnson 1921-1936
  13. Johan Bernt Börjeson Estate
  14. Anna C. Carlson Estate
  15. John P. Chilgren Estate
  16. Bengt Nilsson Cederquist Estate
  17. Arvid Teodor Eriksson Estate
  18. Erick Erickson Estate
  19. Brita Foline Estate
  20. Fredrik Victor Fredriksson Estate
  21. Peter Gustaf Gustafsson, Inheritance Case
  22. Peter Gylberg Estate
  23. John Jacobson Estate
  24. Jonas Johannesson Estate
  25. Anders Johansson Estate
  26. August Johnson Estate
  27. Charles V. Johnson Estate
  28. Frank O. Johnson Estate
  29. C.G. Johnson Estate
  30. John and Randi Johnson Estate
  31. Erik Jonsson Estate
  32. Hedda Jonsson Estate
  33. Andrew G. Kjerstedt Estate
  34. Anna Oliva Miller Estate
  35. Frank Munson Estate
  36. Loius Munson Estate

Box 10

  1. Hans Nilsson Estate
  2. Anna Greta Nor
  3. Carl Gustaf Nord Estate
  4. A.B. Norlin Estate
  5. Erland Norman Estate
  6. J.O. Nyquist
  7. Olausson and Demarest Estate
  8. Frank Ostholm Estate
  9. Mrs. D.A Paul Case
  10. Axel Paulson Estate
  11. James W. Pearson Estate
  12. Johannes Persson Estate
  13. Per Persson and Elna Persson Estate
  14. Charles L. Peterson Estate
  15. Svante Petterson Estate
  16. Carl Albert Samuelsson Estate
  17. Erik Sjögren Estate
  18. Ellen D. Swanson Estate
  19. Nels Truedson Estate
  20. Karin Ullberg Estate
  21. Erk Johan Youngberg Estate

Box 1

  1. Geo P. Day Estate. Account Settlements and Records (see also oversize material)
  2. Geo P. Day Estate. Financial Accounts and Banking Records, 1919
  3. Geo P. Day Estate. Financial Accounts and Banking Records, 1920-1931
  4. Geo P. Day Estate. Tax Payment Receipts 1918-1921; 1923-1930

Box 12

  1. Christina Smith Estate. Correspondence 1915-1917
  2. Christina Smith Estate. Correspondence 1918-1919
  3. Christina Smith Estate. Correspondence 1920-1935
  4. Christina Smith Estate and Charles Smith Real Estate, 1915-1916
  5. Christina Smith Estate. Legal Documents / Official Papers, Tax Statements

Box 13

Printed Matters, incl. Inheritance law of Iowa, Svensk författningssamling

Series V. Personal Finance and Legal Papers

Box 1.

28 Notebooks containing travel expenses, account books, address books, etc.

Box 2.

25 notebooks containing travel expenses, sales of land, bills, expenses etc.

Box 3, folders 1-8

Correspondence and papers relating to personal investments in stocks, bonds and securities

Box 4., folders 1-5

Real Estate papers, incl. purchase transactions, lease agreements, repair and improvements etc.

Box 5, folders 1-16

Receipts, addresses, tax returns, banking, personal insurance papers

Series VI. Literary Productions and Writings

Box 1

  1. Writings – Notebooks, incl. college compositions
  2. Svenska psendonymer ur olika källor samlade [1866-1893]
  3. Literary Pseudonyms & Initials
  4. Svenska pseudonym & initialer. Samlade…
  5. Notebook "Translations of Swedish Books" n.d.
  6. Notebook "Några blad ur Sw. Ev. Luth. Augustana församlingen i Sioux City, Historia." and misc. clippings and writings.
  7. Notebooks – Literary and Historical.

Box 2

  1. Notebooks – Travel and Diaries 1891-1922
  2. Notebooks - Various

Series: VII. Subject Files

Box 1

  1. Agrelius, Carl, Oscar and Family
  2. American-Scandinavian Foundation
  3. American-Scandinavian Society
  4. Augustana College and Theological Seminary. Swan Essay Contest.
  5. Augustana Colonization Association
  6. Augustana Lutheran Church. Sioux City, Ia.
  7. Augustana Historical Society
  8. Bible – Swedish, 1915-1917
  9. Bible – Swedish, 1918-1933
  10. Bremer, Fredrika, 1916-1917, n.d.
  11. Enander, John A.
  12. Fogelstrom, Ansgar N.
  13. Gray, Thomas and Gray’s "Elegy"

Box 2

  1. Carl Jonas Love Almqvist – Photostats of correspondence and notes 1887; 1898-1899; 1926-1927; 1930-1932; n.d.
  2. Carl Jonas Love Almqvist – Article entitled "An Inglorious Genius"
  3. Carl Jonas Love Almqvist – Biographical material

Box 3

  1. Knox, William (1789-1825)
  2. Kyrkohistoriska Föreningen (Uppsala, Sweden)
  3. Litzetter, J.C. (1825-1911)
  4. Lund University Library
  5. Lundström, David
  6. Paoli, Sarah Corning
  7. Pearson, Alfred J. 1923;1931
  8. Rice, Eugene W. 1907;1911
  9. Rosen, Axel Samuelson n.d.
  10. Royal Library Stockholm, Sweden
  11. Runeberg, Johan Ludvig – Translations
  12. Schultz, Rudolf 1916; 1921
  13. Smith, Belle E. (Arabella Eugenia)
  14. Söderblom, Nathan, Archbishop of Sweden
  15. Swanson, Carl E.
  16. Swedish-American Lincoln Club of Sioux City, Ia.
  17. Tegner, Esaias – Translations and Translators
  18. Topelius, Zacharias – Translations and Translators 1902-1938
  19. Uppsala University Library. Uppsala, Sweden 1913-1932
  20. Vilhelm. Prince of Sweden – American Lecture Tour 1926-1927
  21. Wallin, Johan Olof – Translations and Translators (Dödens Ängel)

Box 4

1. Svenska Pansarbåtstypen

Box 5

Folder 1-8

Bernays, Albin – Correspondence 1885- 1898

Box 6

Folder 1-3

Correspondence from Dr. Albin Bernays to G.N. Swan and correspondence re. Bern's.

Series: VIII


Box 1

  1. Vol. 1. Svenskarna i Sioux City
  2. Vol. 2. Svenskarna i Sioux City
  3. Vol. 3. Oversize
  4. Vol. 4 Oversize
  5. Vol. 1 Letters to Newspapers, 1878-1895
  6. Vol. 2 Letters to Newspapers, 1927-1931
  7. G.N. Swan’s Resebref, 1906-1926
  8. Clippings about his life and work

Box 2

  1. Svenskarna i Amerika, af Adrian Moline
  2. Svenska och Svensk-Amerikanska Tidningspressens Historia – 1931
  3. Americana och Svensk-Americana
  4. Misc. handwritten notes
  5. Svensk-Amerikanska Studier för Svenska Tribunen af Johan Person
  6. Lectures by Carl van Bergen
  7. Smådrag ur Jenny Lind’s lif samt Christina Nilsson

Box 3

  1. Newspaper obit.
  2. Clippings of poems and misc. writings
  3. Clippings – "The Man with the Hoe," with illus. By Garrett Porter
  4. Brochures and clippings – Nationalföreningen mot emigrationen
  5. Newspaper clippings. New Sweden, Iowa.
  6. Rydbergiana, Swan compilation
  7. Charles Springer -- biographical material

Box 4

  1. Contribution to Newspapers, incl. biographical material by G.N. Swan
  2. Olla Podrida, diverse tidningsuppsatser vol. 1
  3. Olla Podrida, diverse tidningsuppsatser vol. 2, augusti 1922-1924
  4. Olla Podrida, diverse tidningsuppsatser vol 3, 1925-1929

Box 5

Scrapbooks and clippings

  1. Various articles – history and obituaries
  2. Poems
  3. Poems
  4. Scrapbook "Allmännyttigt från skilda länder."
  5. "Famous Songs and their History"
  6. Diverse tidningsartiklar 1917-1922
  7. Articles by G. N. Swan
  8. Articles by G.N. Swan, January 1913-1915
  9. Articles from English and American Periodicals, June 18, 1881
  10. Articles from English and American Periodicals, 1882

Box 6

Scrapbooks and clippings

  1. "Tal hållna vid olika tillfällen i Sioux City" af G.N.S.
  2. "Svensk-Amerikanska Pseudonymer " and related clippings ( O.A. Linder)
  3. Scrapbooks "Vitterlek" (Nya Pressen, Moline) (Nordstjernan Svea, NY)
  4. Anecdotes and Stories of Famous Persons
  5. Swedish Poetry 1870-1890s
  6. Short Prose – Historical and Other
  7. Svenska ordnar och medaljer i Förenta Staterna.
  8. Various clippings

Oversize items:

Letters etc. to Newspapers vol. 3
Letters etc. to Newspapers Vol 4
Tal of Uppsatser af Joh. A. Enander et al. 1877-

Series IX

Clippings pulled from Swan's books arranged by call numbers. The clippings do not always appear to have anything in common with the book they were pasted in and they have not been indexed by subject or author.

Box 1

Pulls from the Immigration collection 325-2485 - J 875

Box 2

BF 371 A.45 - PS 875

Box 3

000s-839 - 826 167wh

Box 4

839.8230 B55a - 974.1 N42st

Box 5


Series X

Box 1 - Printed matters

1. Academies, Colleges, universities
2. Art - architecture
2a. Athletics
3. Augustana College
3a. Augustana Synod
3b. Augustana Lutheran Church, Sioux City, Iowa.
3c. Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church
3d. Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church
4. Banking
5. Banquets
6. Biography
7. Business
8. Charitable institutions
9. Churches
10. Churches
11. Civic
12. Convention
13. Elections
14. Expositions
15. Foundations
16. Insurance

Box 2

17. Lectures/ speeches
18. Libraries
19. Medicine
20. Missions
21. Motion pictures
22. Music choral - choral societies
23. Music institutions
24. Music instrumental
25. Music - librettos
26. Music - scores
27. Phonograph Recordings
28. Prohibition
29. Public Health
30. Scandinavian languages
31. Tracts
32. Theater

Box 3

Printed matters - articles from Ungdomsvännen by G.N. Swan

Box 4

Printed matters - not sorted

Box 5.

Printed matters - not sorted

Box 6.

Printed matters - Swedish American biography

Series XI Photographs

Box 1

1. Portraits of G. N. Swan
1a. Portraits of G.N. Swan
2. Samuelson - Swan, Caroline
3. Swan, Viktor, Axel, Eric, Mrs. VA, Susie, Hugo, and other family members
4. Family photographs
5. Anna and Christofer Swan
6. Mr. and Mrs. Samuelson
7. J.A. Samuleson
8. duplicates

Box 2

  1. Places and buildings misc.
  2. Stereo View Cards
  3. various identified and unidentified pictures
  4. various identified and unidentified pictures
  5. various identified and unidentified pictures

Box 3

Misc. photographs

Box 4

Printed portraits of Swedish-American authors

Box 5

Printed Pictures - assorted

Series XII. Post cards from the United States, Europe etc.

Box 1

Assorted from the U.S.

Box 2

Assorted from Europe

Box 3


Box 4

  1. Emigrant ships
  2. Swedish -American buildings, sites etc.
  3. Iowa
  4. Sweden

Box 5


Series XIII. Artifacts

Box 1

Notebooks, calendars, business cards, etc.

Box 2

Pins, ribbons, etc.

Box 3

Pens medallions, etc.

Series XIV. Catalogs, Brochures, Book reviews

Box 1

Book catalogs

Box 2

Book reviews

Box 3

Travel brochures - Sweden