We tend to think of immigration into Minnesota in terms of Scandinavians, but actually, in terms of individual countries, Germans are the most numerous. But the image of Minnesota as a center of Scandinavian culture is strong. The immigration from Scandinavia began in about 1825 and people came for farming, fishing and logging. Sometimes whole villages immigrated together. They developed a strong interest in politics, especially in third-party movements and gradually moved from the rural to urban areas.

Those who came were predominantly Lutheran and brought with them the Bible in their own languages, translated out of Luther's German. But there were splinter religious movements, in particular that of the Laestadian Finns. In the 1880's and 1890's there was a large number of family Bibles published in the Scandinavian languages in Philadelphia and elsewhere across the States, frequently using the illustrations of Gustave Doré throughout the text.

Some of the earliest work of supplying Bibles by the Northern Bible Society was in the Scandinavian languages to workers in the mines and lumber camps and to families who lost everything in the forest fires of the logging era.

Two of the interesting Scandinavian publications held by the Ramseyer Bible collection are in Sami (Lappish) in the Norwegian and Russian dialects.

[click thumbnail for large view]

Big brown spine
Swedish Bible
Göteborg, 1809
Page of hand written text
Danish Bible
Brittish and Foreign
Bible Society, 1855
Page of hand written text
Finnish New Testament
Turu, 1815
Titel page with text
Norweigan New Testament
Christiania, 1855
Page of hand written text
Norweigan Sami (Lappish) Pentateuch
Kristiania, 1840


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