Forging a cultural economy: Swedish-American publishing networks and organizations in the mid-west 1860-1880

Sångsalen Session 6: Families, business and wealth organized by Staffan Albinsson


Erik Thosteman


Ethnic newspapers have been regarded as key institutions in expanding the sense of national and ethnic community. This paper analyses two publishing businesses between 1860-1880: the Lutheran-affiliated Swedish Lutheran Publication Society, and the Svea Society-affiliated Swedish American Publication Company. Through the framework of cultural economy, the paper uses letters and newspaper sources to analyze the social and entrepreneurial networks underpinning the businesses. It argues that these networks were crucial in the organizing and the activities of the respective businesses, and that the publishing businesses were mobilized as key elements in the struggle for power over how to shape the Swedish-American community in Chicago.


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