Jane Grey Swisshelm

Jane Grey Swisshelm, Location no. por 11054 r2, Negative no. 82257Jane Grey Swisshelm was a well-known woman in the United States when she arrived in Minnesota on June 22, 1857. Swisshelm, already an experienced journalist and editor of the Pittsburgh Saturday Visiter, argued for women's rights and the abolishment of slavery. To escape a troubled marriage and money problems, Swisshelm, along with her young daughter, moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota, to be near family. Soon after their arrival she became editor of the St. Cloud Visiter and later created a new paper known as the St. Cloud Democrat. Her strong political opinions expressed in her papers, helped the early Republican Party dominate Minnesota politics. Jane Grey Swisshelm is known today as an abolitionist, a feminist, and a reconstructionist. Her ability to be heard in a time when women usually remained silent makes her a remembered figure in Minnesota history.


  • "Between Antislavery and Abolition: The Politics and Rhetoric of Jane Grey Swisshelm," by Michael D. Pierson.
    In Pennsylvania History, vol. 60, no. 3 (July 1993): pp. 305-321.
    MHS call number: F 146. P635 v.60:3.
  • "Gender and Vigilantism on the Minnesota Frontier: Jane Grey Swisshelm and the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862," by Sylvia D. Hoffert.
    In Western Historical Quarterly, vol.29, no. 3 (autumn 1998): pp. [343]-362.
    MHS call number: 591.W464 v.29:3.
  • "Jane Grey Swisshelm: 19th Century Journalist and Feminist," by Kathleen Endres.
    In Journalism History, vol.2, no.4 (winter 1975-1976): pp. 128-132.
    MHS call number: PN 4801 .J69 v.2:4.
  • Jane Grey Swisshelm: An Unconventional Life, by Sylvia D. Hoffert.
    Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
    MHS call number: HQ 1413 .S95 H64 2004.
  • "Jane Grey Swisshelm and Feminism in Early Minnesota," by Paula A. Treckel.
    In Midwest Review, 2nd ser., v. 2 (spring 1980): pp. 1-17.
    MHS call number: PN 4874.S947 T73 1980.
  • "Jane Grey Swisshelm—Editor and Speaker."
    In Roots, vol. 20, no. 1 (fall 1991): pp. 28-29.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F 602.A28 v.20:1.
  • "Jane Grey Swisshelm: Marriage and Slavery," by Abigail McCarthy.
    Chapter 3 in Women of Minnesota: Selected Biographical Essays, edited by Barbara Stuhler and Gretchen Kreuter; pp. 34-54.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1998.
    MHS call number: Reading Room HQ 1438.M6 W65 1998.
  • Shadows Illuminated: Women in a Rural Culture, by Terry Jaakkola and Julia Lambert Frericks, edited by John C. Massmann.
    St. Cloud, Minn.: Stearns County Historical Society, 1996.
    MHS call number: HQ 1438.M6 J33 1996.
  • "Strong-minded Women: Jane Grey Swisshelm, White-Collar Worker," by Margaret Farrand Thorp.
    In Delphian Quarterly, vol. 24, no. 3 (July 1941): pp. [11]-17.
    MHS call number: PN 4874.S947 T56 1941.
  • Two Bold Women: Shaping the Course of the State, script by Pamela Thompson, photographs by Fred Thompson.
    Filmstrip that looks at the roles played by women in the development of Minnesota, concentrating on Harriet Bishop and Jane Grey Swisshelm.
    Brimson, Minn.: Midwest Visuals, 1974.
    MHS call number: Library Kit # 12.


  • Half a Century, by Jane Grey Swisshelm.
    Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Company, 1880.
    MHS call number: E 449.S97 1880a.
  • Letters to Country Girls, by Jane Grey Swisshelm.
    New York: J.C. Riker, 1853.
    MHS call number: BJ 1681 .S8.
  • St. Cloud Visiter (Dec. 10, 1857 - July 29, 1858)
  • St. Cloud Democrat (Aug. 5, 1858 - Sept. 6, 1866)


  • Crusader and Feminist: Letters of Jane Grey Swisshelm, 1858-1865, edited with an introduction and notes by Arthur J. Larsen.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society, 1934.
    Available online through The Library of Congress American Memory.
    MHS call number: Reading Room PN 4874.S942 A2 1934.
  • Sylvanus B. Lowry and Family Correspondence
    This archival collection (1858-1863, 1902-1909) contains letters commenting on state politics, Jane Grey Swisshelm, and family business.
    MHS call number: A/-L921; see the green "cutter" Manuscripts Notebooks for more details (there are 11 items); plus additional material on 1 reel of microfilm (A/m.L921).
    Note: Microfilm is available for Interlibrary Loan.
  • Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
    • Minnesota Union (1861-1863)
    • St. Cloud Journal (1866-1876)
    • St. Cloud Times (weekly, 1864, 1866-1869)
    • St. Cloud Union (1864)
  • Visual Resources Database subjects that may be useful for this topic:
  • Check the library catalog for other materials.