Each day leading up to the April 17 announcement of the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature
General Nonfiction Finalist,
I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson
Joy K. Lintelman
MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESS
An excerpt from I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson:
Thus Mina, like thousands of other young Swedish women of her time, decided to emigrate to America. Given women’s social and economic status in nineteenth-and early twentieth-century Sweden, the decision made by these women is not difficult to understand. An eighteen-year-old Swedish woman in 1907 succinctly summed up the feelings of quite a few young Swedish women when she told an interviewer she was emigrating because there “was no future and that was why she wanted out.” It was in America that many Swedish women saw the opportunity for a better future. As one Swedish doctor observed in 1909, the United States attracted female immigrants when they heard they could “have more time off, have nice clothes, [and] be respected and noticed.” When the opportunity to obtain passage to America presented itself, Mina and many others like her embraced it as an offer they could not refuse.
I Go to America traces the story of writer Mina Anderson, who emigrated from Sweden to Wisconsin and then to the Twin Cities where she worked as a domestic servant. It explores her move to rural Mille Lacs County, where she and her husband worked a farm, raised seven children, and contributed widely to rural Swedish community life through her poetry, fiction, and letters to Swedish American newspapers.
Joy K. Lintelman is a professor of history at Concordia College in Moorhead. Her areas of research include Swedish immigration history and women’s history. A Fulbright Scholar, she has lived and traveled in Sweden.
“Well-researched, thoughtfully compiled, engagingly written. Historical information informatively contextualizes excerpts from Mina’s journal in each themed chapter. A model format and narrative structure for local immigrant history.” – Minnesota Book Awards Judge
“The immigrant experience is still our great American epic. Its hero has a million faces, and this one is female and Swedish. I Go to America is a part of this collective history at its best, told in an immigrant’s own words, accompanied by a thoughtful and carefully researched text, then laced with photographs that offer fascinating visual images of immigrant women becoming Americans. Joy Lintelman has given us a gripping account of how Swedish women made their epic journey to America and how they fared once they arrived.” – Joan Jensen, Professor Emerita of Women’s History, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
“Joy Lintelman is the authority on the lives of Swedish-American women. In I Go to America, she allows her female characters to tell their stories of everyday life in their own words, by nature personal, experiential, and emotive. Beautifully conceived and illustrated, this fine contribution to ethnic, women’s, and Minnesota history will appeal to a wide range of readers.” – Philip J. Anderson, President of the Swedish-American historical Society and Professor of Church History at North Park Theological Seminary
Award winners will be announced at the sold out 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. If you wish to be placed on a waiting list should additional seats become available, please call us at 651-222-3242.
If you missed out on tickets, be among the first to hear about the winners! Follow us on Twitter as we tweet live from the gala on Saturday night.
Have you read I Go to America? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!