Recent Programs

Saturday January 16, 2021. Swedish Traits.

SAHSWI first meeting in 2021 was held Saturday January 16 virtually via ZOOM. After Society updates and the traditional happy birthday celebration the main topic for the meeting was “Facts about Swedish Traits” presented by board member John Elliott. 31 members attended the meeting.

Program description: The population of Sweden is one of the happiest in the world. In the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network World Happiness Report, 2020Sweden ranks number 7. A high GDP per capita, an emphasis on social equality that is built into the education system starting in kindergarten, 16 months of paid family leave that can be split between a couple after a new child is welcomed into a family, and free day care also make Sweden the best country for women. Basically, an emphasis on work-life balance leads to a happier populace. Turns out feeling productive and rested leads to major smiles.  

Are the traits that Swedes possess make them happy? One of the key characteristics of Swedish culture is that Swedes are egalitarian in nature, humble and find boasting absolutely unacceptable. They are very athletic and hardy, very punctual, and they have everything exactly set.

John Elliott discussed many interesting and some unexpected facts about the traits that Swedes possess. Please find below the complete presentation.

2021-01-16 – Swedish Behaviors Presentation Download

Happy Birthday, Ja må du leva: Smörgåsbandet

Ja må hon leva: Sofia Talvik


Saturday October 10, 2020 SAHSWI 2020 Annual General Meeting

The Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin, Inc. held it’s annual meeting on Saturday October 10 virtually via ZOOM. The ZOOM meeting was administered by Society Board Member John Elliott and chaired by President Barbara Froemming and included:

  • Presentation of society annual reports. The reports are available on the website for one month, see link Annual Reports 
  • Election of directors. George Lofgren, Milwaukee, and JoAnn Kreimendahl, Menomonee Falls were elected for a 3 year term expiring in 2023.
  • Update of Society activities. Barbara Froemming reviewed activities since the previous Annual Meeting. Due to the affects of the Covid 19 pandemic only two public meetings were held – The 2019 Lucia Celebration and a 2020 February meeting featuring a Presentation by member Carol Gustafson about opera singer Christina Nilsson. For further information see page Recent Programs.
  • Presentation of Wisconsin Historical Marker project. John Elliott presented a project initiated by Jan Ehrengren to recognize Gustaf Unonius and The New Upsala first Swedish settlement in Wisconsin with an official State of Wisconsin Historical Marker. See link to the presentation: Wisconsin Historical Marker project pdf
  • As a wrap-up of the meeting Society members Carol Gustafson and Mary Stetson performed Swedish music on violin.

Saturday February 8, 2020 Christina Nilsson World Famous Swedish Opera Singer.

A Rags to Riches Story – Christina Nilsson

The life of Christina Nilsson, the famous Swedish opera singer, was told by SAHSWI member Carol Gustafson, her great, great niece. The meeting was held at Redemption Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa.

Christina was born August 20, 1843 in Sjöabol/Snugge outside Växjö and died November 20, 1921.  Christina sang at the opening night of the New York Met in 1883.  She was very popular in the USA, Russia, the UK and France.

Carol talked about her visit to Christina’s homestead, now a museum in Sweden as well as her visit to the mansion Villa Vik and mausoleum in Växjö. It’s a fascinating story of a poor girl from southern Sweden who became a world renown opera singer.

After the presentation Carol and Mary Stetson, artistic name “Goda Vänner”, performed 2 songs written by Christina Nilsson. They also sang and invited to the audience to join in singing Christina’s signature Swedish Folk song: “Fjorton ar tror jag visst att jag var” translated “I think surely I was fourteen years old”. She also shared a link to the song performed by Mia Marianne and Per Filip.

See additional Christina Nilsson stories


Saturday October 12, 2019 The History of Dala Horses.

Program. Treasured in many Swedish homes, the Dala Horse has become a symbol of the Swedish province of Dalarna and of all Sweden. SAHSWI board member John Elliott presented the history of this colorful wooden horse and showed his collection of Dala Horses he acquired through the years. Some attendants also brought their own to show. John Elliott is second generation Swedish, previously worked in Stockholm Sweden and has developed a close bond to Sweden and its culture. John has many relatives in Sweden and commented “Doing Swedish history research is a nice outlet from my corporate Engineering IT job”.

A summary of Johns presentation “The history of the Dala Horse”

In addition to presentation John also shared the following video showing in more detail how the Dala horses are made.


Saturday October 5, 2019 10 am – 6 pm. Scandinavian Festival.

The 29th annual indoor Scandinavian Festival was held at Ronald Reagan Elementary School, 4225 South Calhoun Rd, New Berlin, WI. The program is published in the Scandinavian Festival website.

Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin participated with a booth where visitors could learn about historical projects and programs, the first Swedish settlers, or buy typical Swedish items donated to the organization.

Swedish American Historical Society booth at he 2019 Scandinavian festival

The festival is a joint event with organizations relating to the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Island, and Sweden forming the Nordic Council. About 750 people attended the event, including vendors and hosting organizations personnel, and 515 visitors.






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