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The Tell G. Dahllöf Collection of Swedish Americana was acquired by the University of Minnesota in 1986 and is housed in the Special Collections and Rare Books Department on the first floor of Andersen Library. The collection encompasses American history seen from a Swedish perspective, the history of Swedish emigration to America, Swedish culture in America, and general descriptions by Swedish travelers to North America. It consists of approximately 7,000 books, periodicals, and newspapers spanning over 350 years of printing.

Tell G. Dahllöf (b. 1912), a journalist and editor in Stockholm, Sweden, started collecting Americana while on assignment in New York in the early 1940s and continued building the collection until 1985. Most of his collecting was done in Sweden and during repeated trips back to the United States. In recognition of his achievement in strengthening ties between Sweden and the United States, Mr. Dahllöf was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Upsala College, East Orange, New Jersey, in 1972.

Gradually defining his collection as Americana in the broadest sense, certain topics where collected in depth, while others were included at the level of representative examples of a subject area. Areas of particular strength are colonial “New Sweden,”and naturalist and explorer Pehr Kalm, Swedish emigration history, Swedish culture in America including Swedish-American imprints, i.e. Swedish language books printed in America, history and geography of North America, and travel accounts of the United States and Canada by Swedish writers. Swedish observations of African Americans and of Indians of North America are present, as well as biographical collections on prominent figures in American history. Approximately 100 Swedish-American newspapers are included as examples of the Swedish-language press in America. American authors of the mid- and late 19th century in Swedish translation are well represented, while modern American literature and Swedish translations of modern American fiction were generally considered out-of-scope by the collector. Most of the collection is in Swedish: there are holdings also in English, German, and other European languages.

The collection has long been well known and appreciated by American Studies scholars and bibliographers. Two Swedish bibliographers have recorded the approximately 1500 Swedish language American imprints in the collection (Gunilla Larsson and Eva Tedenmyr, Swedish-American Imprints [Stockholm: Kungl. biblioteket, 1988]). In connection with the dedication ceremonies at the University of Minnesota, an exhibit was mounted and an illustrated catalog published (Mariann Tiblin, To North America. . . . [Minneapolis: Special Collections 1988]). Mr. Dahllöf himself has recorded his experiences as a collector in Biblis (1970, English language version in American-Swedish Handbook, 1973). For an account of the collection after it arrived at the University of Minnesota Libraries, see Mariann Tiblin, “A Swedish-language source for American studies: The Tell G. Dahllöf collection at the University of Minnesota” , in: Hembygden & världen: Festskrift till Ulf Beijbom (Växjö: Svenska Emigrantinstitutet, 2002). (Wilson Library E184.S23 H4 2002)

The University Libraries continues to build the Dahllöf Collection within the context of other collections within the Libraries and in the country. The emphasis in acquisitions remains on books published before 1986 on the topics of Swedish views of America, including books printed in Swedish in America.

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