Near the end of her life, Mina Anderson penned a lively memoir that helped Swedish novelist Vilhelm Moberg create "Kristina," the central female character of his beloved emigrant novels, a woman who constantly yearns for her homeland. But Mina's story was quite different.
Showcasing her previously untranslated memoir, "I Go To America" traces Mina's trip across the Atlantic to Wisconsin and then the Twin Cities, where she worked as a domestic servant, and her move to rural Mille Lacs County, where she and her husband worked a farm, raised seven children, and contributed to rural Swedish community life.
Mina herself writes about how grateful she was for the opportunity to be in America, where the pay was better, class differences were unconfining, and children--girls included--had the chance for a good education. In her own words, "I have never regretted that I left Sweden. I have had it better here."
Author Joy Lintelman greatly expands upon Mina's memoir, detailing the social, cultural, and economic realities experienced by countless Swedish women of her station. Lintelman offers readers both an intimate portrait of Mina Anderson and a window into the lives of the nearly 250,000 young, single Swedish women who immigrated to America from 1881 to 1920 and whose courage, hard work, and pragmatism embody the American dream.
Joy K. Lintelman is a professor of history at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota . Her specialties include immigration history and women's history.