Norwegians on the Prairie
Ethnicity and the Development of the Country Town
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press
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Maps and Chart
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In 1988 Odd S. Lovoll completed and the Norwegian-American Historical Association published a groundbreaking study of Norwegian- Americans in the context of metropolitan...
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In undertaking a study of three small towns in west-central Minnesota— Benson in Swift County, Starbuck in Pope County, and Madison in Lac qui Parle County—I hoped to gain insight specifically into...
One: The Western Expansion
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Settlement on the American frontier illuminates immigration’s centrality in the history of American society. By 1800, as settlers streamed into the region, the northern frontier had crossed into Illinois, which gained statehood in 1818; then decade by decade it moved...
Two: The Village of Benson
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The village of Benson—the county seat from its founding in 1870—served as a central place for Swift County. Townspeople, villagers, and farmers throughout the county had business to conduct in the courthouse. In commerce and farm trade Benson interacted most...
Three: Norwegian Small-Town Apotheosis
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The 1880s were central years in the maturing of the village of Benson; in that decade it secured its firm reputation as a “Norwegian” urban place. Even so, an old-stock elite of bankers and professional people reinforced a traditional view of the country town as a Yankee domain...
Four: Towns of a Common Heritage
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Starbuck in Pope County and Madison in Lac qui Parle County in this chapter enter more systematically and with greater attention to empirical knowledge into an analysis of “Norwegian” country...
Five: In the American Matrix
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Benson became a city in 1908, adopting a city charter on February 25 under the Minnesota municipal home rule statute; the charter made Benson almost entirely self-governing and gave the office of mayor a predominant...
Six: The Persistence of Ethnicity
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The persistence of a separate Norwegian American community may have been in some question in the postwar years. Ultimately, a structural ethnicity and ethnic boundaries dissipated and a sense of a national Norwegian American community weakened...
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Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 30 b&w photos, 18 tables, 9 maps, 1 chart
Publication Year: 2007