This website is dedicated to the Swedish emigrant Anders Pettersson, who moved to America from Sweden in 1850, and changed his name to Andrew Peterson. He was a successful pioneer who in many ways made a significant contribution to the documentation of a Swedish immigrants life in America. The most important part of his legacy is the diary he kept throughout his lifetime in America. The massive emigration from Sweden to America at the end of the nineteenth century had a great impact on Swedish history. Yet this surge of emigrants has long been overlooked both in research and in literature.
One of the most important Swedish writers of the twentieth century, Vilhelm Moberg, realized this and started a comprehensive research project, (Andrew Petersons diaries was his most important source,) that resulted in a four volume emigrant epos. The books were published between 1949 and 1959 and were subsequently voted best Swedish novel of the century. Two critically acclaimed films were made from the books in the seventies, with the actor Max von Sydow as the main male character of Karl Oskar and Liv Ullman as the main female charachter Kristina. The novels and the films show great similarities with the fictional life compared with Andrew Petersons diaries. 25 years ago Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, the men behind the legendary pop group ABBA, also wrote a successful musical based on the novels, which again drew attention to the impact of Moberg's emigrant novels. Vilhelm Moberg made no secret of the fact that Andrew Peterson's diaries were the most important source of information for his emigrant novels.
In 2003 the Andrew Peterson Society was formed in Andrew's native Swedish Home County in order to promote interest in Andrew Peterson's life and work. Prior to this time and during our first year of operation we received valuable assistance from our friends in America.
We would like at this time to acknowledge and express our gratitude to the following people and institutions for their generous contributions to our work in the Andrew Peterson society; Professor Roger McKnight, author of the book "Moberg's Emigrant Novels and the Journals of Andrew Peterson". Professor McKnight and his book were of great assistance in our initial research; Josephine Mihelich, author of the book "Andrew Peterson and the Scandia Story" assisted us with making the connection between Andrew Peterson's Swedish and American homes; and last but not least the staff at the Minnesota Historical Library, where Andrew Peterson's original diaries are kept, were kind enough to send us the microfilms of Andrew Peterson's diaries, his bookkeeping and his correspondence.