Carl Albin Berg Oral History Interview, 1982  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Berg, Carl Albin
1982 (inclusive)
3 file folders
1 photograph
1 sound cassette
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Carl Albin Berg, a Swedish immigrant.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
Telephone: 253-535-7586
Fax: 253-535-7315
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The oral history collection is open to all users.

Additional Reference Guides

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

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Carl Albin Berg was born on July 14, 1890 in Bohuslän, Sweden. His father worked in a factory to support his family of seven. Carl attended the church in town on occasion and went to school for six to seven years, working at a butcher shop after school to earn some extra money. In 1909 Carl joined a group of young men who wanted to avoid the service by moving to Canada. They left from Göteborg, and eventually Carl reached Vancouver, British Columbia. He worked on road construction crews for a while in Canada, but he later moved to Nome, Alaska to mine gold for two years. Carl then returned to Canada to work at a paper mill on Paul River. After working at the mill, he moved to Seattle in 1916 and was employed by the Bank of California, where he worked for 29 years. At the Swedish Club in Seattle, Carl met his wife, Emmy Erickson, and they had one son, Roy David. Carl has not lost touch with his heritage. He still speaks Swedish and participates in several Swedish organizations: Swedish Club, Vikings, and the Vasa Order of America. In addition, Carl and Emmy took one trip back to Sweden in 1957.


Father: Carl Fagerberg. Mother: Johanna Fagerberg. Brothers and Sisters: Johan Fagerberg, Anna Fagerberg, Hilda Fagerberg, Ingrid Fagerberg. Spouse: Emmy J. Erickson Berg. Children: Roy David Berg.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The interview was conducted with Carl Albin Berg on May 12, 1982 in Seattle, Washington. This interview provides information on personal background, emigration, first impressions of America, work in Canada, life in Seattle, family life, a return trip to Sweden, children, and Swedish organizations. The interview also includes photographs of Carl Berg and his wife Emmy at the time of the interview. The interview was conducted in English with some Swedish towards the end of the interview. Also see Emmy Berg.

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
171, side 1 021/006:
Carl Albin Berg was born in Bohuslän, Sweden. This is in the southern part of Sweden out in the country. Born July 14, 1890.
171, side 1 071/049: PARENTS
Johanna and Carl Fagerberg. Father was a worker in the factory. Worked with metal. Lived in a little city.
171, side 1 142: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
One brother and five sisters. Johan Fagerberg, Anna, Hilda, and Ingrid. They all live in Sweden now. A sister was in the U.S. but has gone back to Sweden.
171, side 1 196/136: GRANDPARENTS
Do not remember seeing them when he was small. Grandfathers were factory workers also.
171, side 1 220/152: CHILDHOOD HOME
Not there anymore. Regular house. Other people lived in the house with them in the upstairs.
171, side 1 249: CHILDHOOD
Went to school in the town where he lived. Was also a church in town, went once in a while. Had religious instruction in the school. Confirmed in the church.
171, side 1 308: CHRISTMAS
Always gave presents. Had chicken or turkey. Mother baked a lot for Christmas. Had lutfisk.
171, side 1 354: SCHOOL
Went for 6-7 years. Worked in the butcher shop after school until he came to Canada and then U.S.
171, side 1 383:
Fourteen came together in the gang. Went to Canada in 1909. Was 17 years old. Landed in Vancouver, B.C. Came over so he would not have to go into the service.
171, side 1 417:
Got ship in Göteborg. Went to Liverpool, England after going to Denmark. Rough water at sea. Landed in Canada.
171, side 1 471:
Started work on the road in Canada. Hard work, laying rail. The boys he came over with spread out all over. Carl did not have any relatives to come to.
171, side 1 494: ALASKA
For two years in Nome. Worked two summers doing gold mining, did not see much gold. Paid well.
171, side 1 530:
Worked at Paul River in Canada at a paper mill. Was with his friend, John Carlson from Sweden.
171, side 1 555:
Met people here through work. Was working with mixed nationalities.
171, side 1 584:
Worked for the Bank of California for 29 years in Seattle, Washington.
171, side 1 590:
Moved to Seattle after the paper mill and worked for the bank. Did a little of everything. Was trained on the job. Moved to Seattle in 1916. Came down to Seattle with a friend from Nome, Alaska.
Language held you back some.
171, side 1 642:
Went to school to become an American citizen. Became citizen in Seattle.
171, side 1 661:
Met Wife in Seattle. Emmy Erickson. Met at a dance. Went to the Swedish Club in Seattle. Swedish Organizations: Swedish Club, Vikings, and the Vasa Order of America.
171, side 1 686: TRIPS BACK TO SWEDEN
1957. Wife went with him. Stayed longer than had anticipated because they did not have any reservations to come back. Childhood home is still there. Not too many changes.
171, side 1 740: CHILDREN
One son, Roy David. He worked in a factory in Ballard.
171, side 1 777:
Worked as a janitor in the bank.
171, side 1 784:
Happy he had come to America. Did not want to go back to Sweden to stay.
171, side 1 828:
Worked during the Depression for the bank and did painting for other people. Did not have any trouble during the Depression.
171, side 1 858:
Built the house that they are in now. Have lived here since they came to Seattle.
171, side 1 877:
Still can speak Swedish, "never forget that". Speak more English than Swedish in the home. Son does not speak Swedish.
171, side 1 903:
Lived in a camp when he worked up in Nome, Alaska. Not much work there in the winter. Lived in a camp when he was working on the railroad.
171, side 1 950:
Continues talking about the camps in Alaska.
171, side 1 965:
Bosses for the camps were pretty good.
171, side 1 982:
Saw Eskimos in Alaska. They were by themselves.
171, side 1 1004:
Saw first black person when he came over. There were black people in Sweden too.
171, side 1 1018:
Was not hard to get used to the food as the camps usually had real good food.
171, side 1 1034:
Went to the Clubs once and a while. Played bingo. In Nome, there was not any recreation. Worked everyday. "Eat and work." Made about $4-$5 a day.
171, side 1 1070:
Took the boat up to Nome. Took six days to get there. Left from Seattle.
171, side 1 1089:
Train ride when he first landed was fine. Pointed at the food that you wanted. Gang of boys all took the same train. Had a good time.
171, side 1 1111:
Recreation not much in Vancouver when he was working on the railroad. Got together with friends and a drink now and then.
171, side 1 1131:
What has it meant to be Swedish?
Just belonged, never held a position. Go to the Swedish Club meetings.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Christmas
  • Education -- Sweden
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family -- Sweden
  • Naturalization
  • Sweden -- Social conditions -- 1945-
  • Swedish-Americans--Northwest,Pacific--Interviews
  • Swedish-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Personal Names :
  • Berg, Carl Albin--Interviews (creator)
  • Fagerberg, Carl
  • Fagerberg, Johanna
  • Berg, Carl Albin
  • Berg, Emmy J.
  • Berg, Roy David
  • Corporate Names :
  • Swedish Club (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Vasa Order of America. Lodge N:r 228 (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Family Names :
  • Berg family
  • Erickson family
  • Fagerberg family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Bohuslän (Sweden)
  • Göteborg (Sweden)
  • Nome (Alaska)
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Transtrand (Sweden)
  • Vancouver (B.C.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Janitors
  • Miners