Persson Letter Translation, Page 1 – CARLI Digital Collections Featured Image

From Anna Persson Immigrant Letters, Swenson Center (Augustana College) in CARLI Digital Collections.

The first page of this letter, written by Anna Persson to her sister in 1907, reflects the joy of a recent immigrant to the United States. What was undoubtedly an long an arduous journey is characterized simply as "a lot of fuss," and though Anna later notes that the food was terrible, and says that she already misses and worries about her mother, her tone invariably returns to a chatty optimism.

Anna tells her sister Sigrid about her long journey (including mechanical problems with her train and the subsequent wait for the trip to resume), the people she's met, and repeatedly marvels at the unassuming kindness of those she has met along the way. I'll give Anna a pass for referring to Chicago as a "dirt hole," since her letter reminded me of the ways that the immigrant experience hasn't changed in the 100+ years since she left Sweden, and the welcoming nature of Americans to the people who arrive on our shores missing their families and homelands, but enthusiastic and optimistic at the start of a new chapter in their lives.

Written by Adam Strohm, Director, University Archives and Special Collections, Illinois Institute of Technology

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