Ruth Lindberg Nelson Oral History, 1896-1981  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Nelson, Ruth Lindberg
Title
Dates
1896-1981 (inclusive)
Quantity
3 file folders, 1 photograph, 1 sound cassette, 0 compact discs.
Collection Number
t066
Summary
An oral history interview with Ruth Lindberg Nelson, a Swedish immigrant.
Repository
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
98447
Telephone: 253-535-7586
Fax: 253-535-7315
archives@plu.edu
Access Restrictions

The oral history collection is open to all users.

Additional Reference Guides

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Ruth Nelson was born Rut Otilla Lindberg on July 29, 1896 in Rofors, Sweden. Her father, Anders Lindberg, worked as a blacksmith to support Ruth's family, which included her mother, Ingeborg, and her five brothers and sisters. As a young girl, Ruth attended school to learn "the 3 R's" and to learn domestic skills like crocheting and knitting. Her job for the family was to wash their clothes. Ruth had an aunt who lived in America; when she visited in 1914, Ruth decided to return to America with her. Assuring her family that she would only be gone five years, Ruth departed Sweden. She accompanied her aunt to Bozeman, Montana and arrived there in July of 1914. Ruth found work as a babysitter for a family in town. After living in Montana for a few years, Ruth moved to Tacoma, Washington. In 1918, she began nurse's training at Tacoma General Hospital. That year, she fell victim to the flu epidemic. In 1919, Ruth met John Nelson, and they married soon thereafter. Together, they had one daughter named Nancy. Ruth became very involved in her Lutheran church and in the Vasa Lodge, which she joined in 1921. She retains her heritage by cooking traditional Swedish fare, collecting Swedish plates, and occasionally speaking the language. Several times, her Swedish relatives, with whom she has kept close contact, have visited her. Ruth has returned to Sweden four times, but she regards America as her home.

Lineage

Full Name: Ruth Otilla Lindberg Nelson, Maiden Name: Rut Otilla Lindberg. Father: Anders Lindberg, Mother: Ingeborg Jonsson Lindberg. Brothers and Sisters: Elin Lindberg, Karl Gustav Lindberg, George Lindberg, Anna Lindberg, Ingeborg Lindberg. Spouse: John Edwin Nelson. Children: Nancy Nelson Stolz.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The interview was conducted with Ruth Nelson on July 1, 1981 in Tacoma, Washington. This interview contains information on personal background, life in Sweden, emigration, family, community life, and Swedish heritage. Also available are a photograph of Ruth and John Nelson on their 56th anniversary and a profile on them from the Tacoma News Tribune in regards to their 60th anniversary. Also see John Nelson. The interview was conducted in English with some Swedish towards the end of the interview.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The partial interview transcription highlights important aspects of the interview. Numbers may be used as guides to important subjects. Two numbers separated by a slash indicate that the first number is for cassette and the second for CD.

Container(s) Description
Cassette
66, side 1 009/05: PERSONAL BACKGROUND
Born July 29, 1896, Rofors, Sweden.
66, side 1 031: PARENTS
Anders Lindberg, blacksmith and Ingeborg Jonsson.
66, side 1 042: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
(See attached.)
66, side 1 053: GRANDPARENTS
Doesn't remember them.
66, side 1 061: BACKGROUND FAMILY NAME
Aunt from America comes to visit.
66, side 1 071: SCHOOL DAYS (SWEDEN)
Learned to crochet, knit, the 3 R's.
66, side 1 120/06: CHORES (SWEDEN)
Appointment to wash clothes. How it was done.
66, side 1 155: WHY SHE DECIDED TO COME TO AMERICA
Came with aunt, brother was supposed to have gone, but didn't. Was taking care of boy in Roefors.
66, side 1 202: FAMILY'S FEELINGS AT DEPARTURE
She was only staying five years. Went to Vaermland to Goteborg to Oslo, Norway and then to the U.S.
66, side 1 206: BOAT TRIP: During WWI
(See counter, I-226 and I-277.)
66, side 1 222: FEELINGS LEAVING SWEDEN
Sad, too young to think.
66, side 1 226/07: BOAT TRIP
Second class. WWI and German U-boats. Stormy crossing North Sea (see counter I-206 and I-277).
66, side 1 256: ARRIVAL U.S.
July 1914. Destination Bozeman, Montana. Stopped in Livingston, Minnesota, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
66, side 1 277: ENGLAND TO U.S.
Nine days. Going to go on Lusitania but missed ship. Departed from Liverpool, England.
66, side 1 297: LANDED BOSTON
Depended upon aunt at all times.
66, side 1 322: IMMIGRATION
Showing papers, etc. Did not go through Ellis Island.
66, side 1 336: SWEDISH KEEPSAKES
Bible and trunk. The Bible she got for confirmation.
66, side 1 350: TRAIN TRIP
Boston to Minneapolis to Livingston, Montana. Sister lived in Bozeman, Montana.
66, side 1 375/08: ON TO BOZEMAN
Stayed and helped sisters. Learning English. Norwegian Immigrants n Bozeman and Norwegian Church (See counter I-390).
66, side 1 390: LEARNING ENGLISH
Getting a teacher. Classes in evening. (see counter I-375)
66, side 1 412/09: ON TO TACOMA
Employed at a banker's home babysitting in Montana, the family's name was Baker.
66, side 1 457: TACOMA 1918
Training as nurse, Tacoma General Hospital. Flu epidemic, she became ill. (See counter I-647)
66, side 1 488/10: MEETING HUSBAND
Married 1919. Cousin lived in Tacoma and associating with Swedish people.
66, side 1 513: IMPRESSIONS OF TACOMA
Much bigger than Bozeman.
66, side 1 525: FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH
Recreation and social doings. (see counter II-067).
66, side 1 536: VASA LODGE
Joined 1921. About Sweden and Swedes. Describes community activities. (see counter II-077)
66, side 1 578: CHILDREN
(See lineage.)
66, side 1 589: KEEPING HOUSE (EARLY DAYS)
Hard to get things during WWI and WWII, rationing and prices high.
66, side 1 616/11: PRACTICAL NURSING
Supplement to family income.
66, side 1 647: MEDICAL CARE
Differences from today. Bad flu epidemic 1918 (see counter I-457)
66, side 2 014/12: CHRISTMAS
Big dinners, making pickled herring (she giver her recipe), learning to make lutefisk and white sauce from mother.
66, side 2 045: SWEDISH COOKING
Pepparkaka, spritz, rice pudding.
66, side 2 058: SWEDISH RELATIVES VISIT
Still speak Swedish. English used when U.S. relatives visit (see counter II-157 and II-175).
66, side 2 067: FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH
Important part of community. Member ladies society (see counter I-525).
66, side 2 077: VASA LODGE
Member for 50 years (see counter I-536). Valhalla was for men.
66, side 2 081/13: HOBBIES
Needlework, knitting, and crochet. Collecting Swedish plates.
66, side 2 099: FOUR TRIPS BACK TO SWEDEN
Correspondence back and forth. Rofors changes a lot.
66, side 2 138/01,02: IMPRESSIONS OF SWEDEN TODAY
Like Sweden, this home now, life better in U.S.
66, side 2 155: SPEAKING SWEDISH
Hardly ever unless husband gets mad (see counter II-58).
66, side 2 160: IMPORTANCE OF SWEDISH HERITAGE
Good feeling, means a lot.
66, side 2 175: RELATIVES VISITING FROM SWEDEN
Kept up link (see counter II-058).
66, side 2 183:
Closes with Swedish inscription from her book.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Christmas
  • Education -- Sweden
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family -- Sweden
  • Ocean travel
  • Sweden -- Social conditions -- 1945-
  • Swedish-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Swedish-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Personal Names :
  • Jonsson, Ingeborg
  • Nelson, John Edwin (Johan Nilsson)
  • Lindberg, Anders
  • Lindberg, Rut Otilla
  • Nelson, Ruth Otilla--Interviews (creator)
  • Stolz, Nancy Nelson
  • Corporate Names :
  • First Lutheran Church (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Vasa Order of America. Lodge Number 233 (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Family Names :
  • Jonsson family
  • Lindberg family
  • Nelson family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Bozeman (Mont.)
  • Knäred (Sweden)
  • Röfors (Sweden)
  • Tacoma (Wash.)
  • Värmlands län (Sweden)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Blacksmiths
  • Domestics
  • Nurses