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Catalog Number M-0001
Object Name Manuscript
Collection Turnblad Family Collection
Title Turnblad Family Collection
Year Range from 1889
Year Range to 2003
Scope & Content This collection is comprised of correspondence, photocopied articles, ephemera, and books documenting aspects of the lives of Swan J. Turnblad, Christina Turnblad, and Lillian Z. Turnblad. Bulk of the collection is books collected by the Turnblads.
Biographical Information Swan Johan Turnblad was born Sven Johan Olofsson in Tubbemåla, Vislanda parish, Kronobergs län, Småland, Sweden. His family were farmers but following a series of bad harvests decided to immigrate to the United States in 1868 when Turnblad was the age of 8. The family settled in Vasa Township, Goodhue County, Minnesota, where there was already a sizable community of Swedish immigrants. About 10 years later, he headed to Minneapolis, where he worked as a typesetter at several Swedish-language newspapers. Soon after arriving in the city he met another Swedish immigrant, Christina Nilsson. The couple married in 1883 and the following year Christina gave birth to her only child, Lillian Zenobia.

Turnblad worked for the Svenska Amerikanska Posten and after ten years became the sole owner of the newspaper. His brother, Magnus Turnblad, became editor of "Posten" in 1890.[1] Turnblad was very interested in new technology and was the first publisher of a Swedish language newspaper to use a Linotype machine. After acquiring a duplex rotary color printing press in 1903, Turnblad also included color illustrations. Under Turnblad's management circulation increased steadily. The success of Svenska Amerikanska Posten made Turnblad a wealthy man. His success in publishing together with his other investments eventually made him a millionaire.

In 1903 Turnblad commissioned the building of a mansion in Park Avenue in Minneapolis. Turnblad had a firm design a 30-room mansion for him, his wife, and their daughter. Construction began in 1904 and the family moved into their new home in 1908. After Turnblad's wife died in 1929, he and his daughter moved across the street and turned their former home into a museum. Turnblad created the American Swedish Institute, which was housed in his former residence, as a place to preserve Swedish customs and culture. Turnblad died in 1933, after which his daughter Lillian relocated to the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minnesota. Lillian died in 1943.
People Turnblad, Swan J., 1860-1933.
Turnblad, Lillian Z., 1884-1943.
Turnblad, Christina, 1861-1929.
Series in Collection Collection is arranged in 2 series and 5 subseries; subseries are listed on separate lines, and folder names listed in parenthesis.

1. Swan and Christina Turnblad
Books (Möbel-motiv af V. Adler; Enklare möbler i divers stilar; Schablonirte decorations malereien von Oscar Schurth; Journal für Zimmer- und Decorations-Maler, redacteur Ant. Seder; Ornamentets Box af H. Dolmetsch (1/2); Möbler och heminredning i Svenska bygder av Sigurd Erixon; Mönsterbok för bildhuggare; Ornamentets Box af H. Dolmetsch (2/2))

2. Lillian Turnblad
Correspondence (Correspondence received by Lillian Turnblad; Correspondence sent by Lillian Turnblad)

Ephemera (Handmade bookmark with bible verse; Programs)

Information about Lillian Turnblad (Articles about Lillian Turnblad; Correspondence and legal documents about Lillian Turnblad's estate)

Books (Catalogue of books belonging to Turnblads (1/2); Catalogue of books belonging to Turnblads (2/2); Swedish bible, 1889; Scrapbook of clippings on American Swedish Institute, 1930-1932; English bible, 1901)
Physical Dimensions 4.0 cubic feet (7 archives boxes)
Copyrights Copyright for this collection is held by the American Swedish Institute. Staff will provide photocopies of collection materials for personal use at researcher's expense. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce materials must be secured in writing from the American Swedish Institute.