The North

The North (Minneapolis, Minn.) 1889-1894 Browse the title

On June 12, 1889, Hans Mattson published the first issue of the North. This seven-column, eight to ten- page general interest paper covered news from the Midwest and Scandinavia. It also included serialized fiction, Scandinavian art, and translated news items from Scandinavian newspapers. Mattson was one of the most well-known Swedes in American politics serving as Colonel in the Third Minnesota Regiment, as the first secretary for the Minnesota Board of Immigration, and as Minnesota Secretary of State in two non-consecutive terms. He also founded several Swedish newspapers in Chicago and Minnesota, including Svenska tribunen and Minnesota stats tidning. Mattson was also president of the Scandinavian-American Publishing Company where his son-in-law and former editor of Budstikken in Minneapolis, Luth Jaeger, was the first secretary. Known for his clear and passionate writing, Jaeger served as editor of the North for the duration of the paper’s run.

The North’s editorial section is perhaps of greatest interest to contemporary researchers as it was a forum for Scandinavian immigrants to passionately debate the preservation of their heritage and cultural identity in a new country. An early slogan of the paper detailing Mattson’s intent was, "A weekly newspaper in the English language, devoted to the inculcation of American principles among the Scandinavian citizens of the United States". This proved controversial among Scandinavian immigrants, primarily on the points of publishing in English and using the umbrella term "Scandinavian". According to Luth Jaeger, Mattson had practical reasons for publishing this way. Although frequently accused of anti-immigrant Know-Nothingist sympathies, his goal was not to promote cultural assimilation at the expense of his heritage, but rather to expedite the process of exchanging information. Publishing in the common language of the time was an effort to help Scandinavian-Americans have their concerns reach a larger segment of the population and be taken seriously. The blanket term "Scandinavian" had much to do with Mattson’s lack of success publishing exclusively Swedish-interest papers as he was a staunch proponent of all citizens contributing their heritage to broadening the scope of American culture. A more extensive description of Mattson’s politics and approach to publishing the North can be found in his obituary in the March 8, 1893 issue.

On March 25, 1891, Luth Jaeger assumed sole ownership of the North. Although Jaeger was a Democrat and Mattson a Republican, Jaeger eventually wrote with a Republican slant outside of his editorials in order to reach a larger segment of the population and adhere to Mattson’s vision of the paper. On January 6, 1892, advertising agent M.V.B. Phillips became business manager and co-publisher, forming the partnership Jaeger and Phillips. Hans Mattson returned as editor on October 26, 1892 and Phillips transferred his interests to new manager Swan J. Turnblad, the owner of Svenska amerikanska posten and later founder of the American Swedish Institute. Minneapolis notary public Andrew L. Himle joined Luth Jaeger as associate editor on December 28, 1892. Turnblad left in February of 1893 and Mattson died on March 5 of that year. Jaeger and Himle published the last issue of the North on January 24, 1894 after which it was sold to the Loyal American Publishing and Printing Company and merged with the short-lived Loyal American.


"Mattson, Hans (1832-1893)." MNopedia.

Brøndal, Jørn. Ethnic Leadership and Midwestern Politics: Scandinavian Americans and the Progressive Movement in Wisconsin, 1890-1914. Northfield, Minn: Norwegian American Historical Association, 2004.

Gjerde, Jon and Carlton Chester Qualey. Norwegians in Minnesota. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2002.

Atwater, Issac. History of the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Part I. New York: Munsell & Company, 1893.

Strand, Algot E. A History of the Swedish-Americans of Minnesota, Vols. 1 & 2. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1910.

Nelson, Olof Nickolaus. History of the Scandinavians and Successful Scandinavians in the United States, Vol I. Minneapolis: O.N Nelson, 1893.