Nannie Lundbeck Whitman Oral History Interview, 1982  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Whitman, Nannie Lundbeck
1982 (inclusive)
2 file folders
1 sound cassette
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Nannie Lundbeck Whitman, 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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Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Nannie Whitman was born Nannie Lundbeck in Toere, Sweden in 1898. One of twelve children, Nannie lived on the Lundbeck farm and helped with the chores. The Lundbeck family celebrated holidays like Christmas, Pingst, and Midsummer. Nannie attended school through the sixth grade. She worked one summer in Luleaa, but for the most part, Nannie helped with all the children. She began to think about improving herself, and she was convinced she needed to move away in order to do so. Therefore, in May of 1923, Nannie traveled to America. She sought out her mother's cousin who lived near Hoquiam, Washington and helped Nannie find work helping a local family. Then Nannie found a job at a boardinghouse where she cooked and washed dishes. In 1924, Nannie married Mr. Whitman, whom she had met on the ship over to America. They had three sons. Nannie did some housekeeping and some weaving while her husband worked in the lumber industry. In 1956, they visited Sweden for the first time to visit relatives. Nannie initially tried to maintain Swedish traditions in their home, but the children did not seem to be interested. As a child, Nannie and her family read Lutheran books and occasionally attended the Lutheran church, but now she is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.


Full Name: Nannie Lundbeck Whitman. Maiden Name: Lundbeck. Father: Anders Lundbeck. Mother: Anna Lundbeck. Brothers and Sisters: There were twevlve children in all. (Please refer to Emil Lundbeck t138 for more detailed information.) Spouse: (?) Whitman. Children: Lawrence Albin Whitman, Carl Stanley Whitman, Harold Eugene Whitman.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The interview was conducted with Nannie Whitman on April 28, 1982 in Port Angeles, Washington. This interview contains information on family background, Swedish holidays, school, work, emigration, Swedish organizations, visits to Sweden, church and community life, and Swedish heritage. The interview was conducted in English. See also the interview with Nannie Whitman's brother, Emil Lundbeck (SPEC T138).

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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
166, side 1 018: PERSONAL BACKGROUND
Name - Nannie (Lundbeck) Whitman. Born in Toere, Sweden in 1898. Toere was the county seat & was about a half hour by car from Luleaa. This is in the northern part of Sweden and is on the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska. They lived by the Bay of Bothnia (Bottenviken). There is the Gulf Stream, which makes the area warmer than Anchorage.
166, side 1 086: PARENTS
Anna and Anders Lundbeck. Father did a little of everything. They had a farm; he was a cobbler and did fishing too. She used to go fishing with her father. Father fished in the evening and sold the fish from his wagon in the larger villages.
166, side 1 160: FAMILY FARM AND HOUSE
2 houses on each place. Wasn't so bad. They moved when she was 16 years old to a little bigger place where it was easier to make a living. Father worked in the woods in the winter.
166, side 1 192: MOTHER
She was very patient and gentle person. Father was the disciplinarian.
166, side 1 210: FOOD
People weren't very interested in vegetable gardens. Had milk, butter, and a lot of bread. Made flat bread and rye bread. Picked wild berries - lingonberries and blueberries. She was too far north to grow apples. Fruit was expensive to buy because it was imported.
166, side 1 253: FAMILY
Their mother worked at home. There were 12 children. One girl got sick and died - the doctor wasn't' very close by. Talks about her siblings, which have passed away.
166, side 1 273: GRANDPARENTS
Didn't know them. They were farmers.
166, side 1 285: FARM
Barley was the main grain they grew. They thrashed it themselves on the farm. They had a thrashing machine, which was powered by a horse. Afterwards there would be a big dinner for those who had been working.
166, side 1 315: FAMILY NAME
Hasn't researched the name. Wished that she would have done that in 1956 when she was in Sweden.
166, side 1 345: HOLIDAYS
Christmas was very important. They danced around the tree at several houses. They would get some treats - cookies or something. One of the boys would go out and cut the tree and then they would decorate it. Then they moved. Raaneaa was the county seat. On Christmas morning they would go to Julafton (a Christmas service) by horse and fancy sleigh. This was in Raaneaa.
166, side 1 390: HOLIDAYS
Pingst. Midsummer - got lemonade, made something out of birch branches. Had lots of church holidays. Thanksgiving was November 2nd. Christmas - had a sleigh and bells on the horses when they went to church early Christmas morning. Birthdays- celebrated your name day rather than your birthday. This was according to your name day on the Swedish almanac. Didn't do too much celebrating because they couldn't afford to make so many cookies.
166, side 1 470: SCHOOL
They were divided into three parts. The first part was first and second grades, the second part the third and fourth, and the third part was fifth and sixth. She finished the sixth grade. Before they moved they skied to school. They didn't have many frills in school. Sometimes they would put together a baseball game and in the winter they would ski.
166, side 1 520: WORK
Worked some. There wasn't much work. She was really needed in the home because there were so many children. Worked out one summer in Luleaa.
166, side 1 558: WASHING CLOTHES
In the barn they had a large pot to heat the water in and then they washed the clothes on a board.
166, side 1 575: CAME TO U.S.
May of 1923. Couldn't see any future on the little farm. She thought that she would try to better herself. There were so many children that she doesn't think that her parents took it too seriously. Her father helped her get the money to come.
166, side 1 596: SHIP TRAVEL
Came with the man who was to become her husband and some others. Came on the Canadian Pacific Line. Crossed the North Sea. Went from Gothenburg (Goeteborg), Sweden to England where they took the train across England. It was here that they went through customs and health inspection. She recalls one lady who was a nurse who got really upset when they were searching for lice in her hair. This was in Southampton, England. They left there by Canadian ship and landed in Quebec and then Montreal where they had to go through customs again.
She was excited. It was an adventure. She was about 23 years old.
166, side 1 629: LANGUAGE
Learning the language was the most important thing. She came to her mother's cousin near Hoquiam, WA. This lady found her a job helping with the family in a nearby home. Nannie couldn't speak much English. The lady got out a first reader and made her start reading aloud.
166, side 1 648: LUGGAGE
Brought the best clothes she had. Didn't bring much.
166, side 1 657: TRAIN TRAVEL
Went through customs in Montreal, Canada. Then she went by train to Vancouver, BC and then by boat to Seattle, WA.
166, side 1 665: TRIP LENGTH
Took about one month. Left home the 28th of April by horse and sleigh to Luleaa where she could catch the train. Came to Seattle the last part of May.
166, side 1 695: HOQUIAM
Liked the food. Mrs. Bairnsfield (?) was very good to her.
166, side 1 700: FUNNY EXPERIENCES
Had never seen a girl dressed in jeans and a sweater. Nannie thought it was a boy.
166, side 1 717: WORK
Stayed one month with the family. Then she got a chance to work at a boardinghouse 17 miles from Hoquiam, WA. Thought she would make lots of money. She had her ticket paid back by Christmas time that same year. Had board and room there and was making close to $100 a month. She would have to wash dishes. In the summertime there were up to 75 men. Later on she became 2nd cook. This was located at a place where the train went farther up the line. The men who stayed there were going to the logging camps farther up and would float the logs down.
166, side 1 750: SCANDINAVIANS
Weren't many others at the boardinghouse except for the cook. Met one man from Dalarna, Sweden.
166, side 1 769: HUSBAND
Met him in Sweden. They were on the same ship. There was another family in Seattle that was on the same ship - Ellis Johnsen (?). They were married in 1924. Nannie wants to research the Whitman name. They were married in Hoquiam, but moved quite a bit.
166, side 1 795: HUSBANDS WORK
he worked in the lumber industry and moved around a lot to do different jobs.
166, side 1 803: CHILDREN
three sons. Lawrence Albin Whitman, Carl Stanley Whitman and Harold Eugene Whitman - lived in the same town. She has eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
166, side 1 814: WORK
Worked doing housework and stuff for people by the hour during the Depression
166, side 1 830: WORK AT HOME
Wove a lot of material for working clothes and even curtains. Work is much easier now. Everything is handy and powered by electricity.
166, side 1 845: CHURCH
In Sweden the Lutheran Church was the state church and you were born into it. To get your small pox vaccination and be baptized in the church was required. Didn't go to church very often because of transportation problems. Father used to read to them on Sunday from a Lutheran book put out by Martin Luther.
166, side 1 863: CHURCH LIFE U.S.
Didn't belong, but would go sometimes to the Lutheran Church in Hoquiam, WA.
166, side 1 870: ORGANIZATIONS
Husband belonged to Vasa for a while. When they moved in 1941 they didn't keep it up anymore. Nannie belongs to the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
166, side 1 885: VISITS TO SWEDEN
Went in 1956. They brought the car and drove from Gothenburg, Sweden. Everything closed early and surprised them. They have quite a few relatives there. The boys have about 29 cousins on both sides. Some have come to visit in the U.S.
166, side 1 934: SWEDISH PEOPLE
They have changed from how they used to be. They are ambitious and do good work. Her father was that way.
166, side 1 950: LIFE IN OLD SWEDEN
She describes how they got water to the barn.
166, side 1 966: SWEDISH LANGUAGE
She only uses Swedish when she has to. The boys and their wives don't understand Swedish. They tried to teach Lawrence Swedish, but he started speaking such a mixture that they gave up. In the mid west there were many opportunities to speak Swedish. They had Sunday school and lodges in Swedish in the mid west. Nannie has forgotten some.
166, side 1 985: SWEDISH CUSTOMS
When they first came they tried to keep up the customs in the home and teach the children Swedish, but the kids never seemed to be around much and they gave up.
Not really interested. Harold can speak some Swedish because he was working with some Swedes at his job. Lawrence was going to take a trip to Sweden after he met one of Nannie's nephews, but the trip never occurred.
166, side 1 1016: SPOKEN SWEDISH
Recites part of a song she knew from school.
A Lutheran minister used to come and give a sermon there. They disturbed him while he was preparing his sermon and got really embarrassed.
166, side 1 1053:
Talks about a Norwegian man who hurt his food and that she told the train brakeman to quit making fun of him.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family -- Sweden
  • Swedish-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Swedish-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Personal Names :
  • Lundbeck, Anna
  • Lundbeck, Nannie--Interviews (creator)
  • Whitman, Lawrence Albin
  • Lundbeck, Anders
  • Whitman, Carl Stanley
  • Whitman, Nannie
  • Whitman,Harold Eugene
  • Corporate Names :
  • Canadian Pacific (Steamships)
  • Seventh-Day Adventist Church (Hoquiam, Wash.)
  • Family Names :
  • Lundbeck family
  • Whitman family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Hoquiam,(Wash.)
  • Töre (Sweden)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Domestics
  • Farmers