Svenska amerikanska posten (Minneapolis, Minn.) 1885-1940 Browse the title
Published in Minneapolis, Minnesota between 1885 and 1940, Svenska amerikanska posten (the Swedish American Post) was one of the largest and most popular Swedish-language newspapers in the United States, catering to an urban and secular segment of the Swedish American community. Begun as a proponent of temperance and reform, in the 1890s Svenska amerikanska posten began to minimize its anti-alcohol stance in order to broaden its appeal. The paper, which initially contained four pages, was expanded to eight pages in 1887, twelve pages in 1891, and around twenty pages by the early 1900s. Typical content included news from the U.S., Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Sweden, and Scandinavia, news items about Swedish Americans, editorials, pages for farmers, women, and workingmen, reader letters and inquiries, humor columns, jokes, poems, short stories, and serialized novels.
The first issue of Svenska amerikanska posten was published on March 9, 1885 by the Swedish-American Publishing Company, becoming the fourth Swedish-language weekly in Minneapolis. The paper struggled financially at first, due in part to a series of libel lawsuits filed against the paper and its rancorous first editor, N.P. Lind. Finances revived under the able leadership of Swan J. Turnblad, who took over management in fall 1886, and who in 1889 became the largest shareholder of the paper's publishing company. Turnblad's brother, Magnus Turnblad, was named editor-in-chief in 1890 and served in that post for twelve years.
Swan Turnblad's business acumen and constant drive for innovation and improvement in content, circulation, and technology led Svenska amerikanska posten to great success. Claimed circulation grew from around 2,000 in 1887 to 5,000 in 1890, 20,000 in 1896, and 50,000 in 1904. Circulation peaked at 56,000 in 1915, making it arguably the largest Swedish-language newspaper in the U.S. at that time. Posten was the first Swedish-language newspaper to use rotary presses and stereotyping, in 1891, and linotype machines, in 1894. It was the first Swedish-language paper to add a regular cartoon, in 1901, and it ran a color comic strip in 1902 and again from 1908-1911. The paper also experimented with English-language content, including the Posten Junior supplement for children which ran from 1902-1905, English-language editorials in 1903 and early 1904, and English-language comics from 1907-1910. The use of English was ended after 1910 due to reader disinterest.
In October 1920 Turnblad sold Svenska amerikanska posten to Magnus Martinson, but declining readership due to slowed immigration led the paper near bankruptcy in 1927. Martinson was forced out by the board of directors and Turnblad was asked to return as manager-publisher; he quickly regained ownership as well. In 1929 Turnblad donated the paper to his newly formed American Institute for Swedish Art, Literature, and Science, located in Minneapolis, though he continued to run the paper until his death in 1933. Svenska amerikanska posten remained in publication until 1940, when Turnblad's daughter Lillian Turnblad sold out to Svenska amerikanaren tribunen of Chicago.
Beijbom, Ulf. A. "The Swedish Press." The Ethnic Press in the United States, Sally M. Miller (ed.). New York: Greenwood Press, 1987.
Björk, Ulf Jonas. "Svenska Amerikanska Posten: An Immigrant Newspaper with American Accents." Swedes in the Twin Cities, Philip J. Anderson & Dag Blanck (eds.). St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001.
Strand, A.E. A History of the Swedish-Americans of Minnesota. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1910.