Documenting Swedish America: A Setterdahl Family Tradition

How often have we heard or said “I wished I had asked that before my loved one passed away”? Lennart Setterdahl (1928-1995) worked diligently for decades to microfilm Swedish-American records and interviewed over 2,000 people in a race against time to preserve the stories of Swedish immigrants, their descendants, their businesses, and their organizations. Lennart’s efforts took him across the US and Canada. His wife Lilly and later their sons joined Lennart in his efforts to preserve the personal histories of Swedish immigrants to America and Canada




The Vasa National Archive will host a temporary exhibit on Lennart Setterdahl’s work and legacy. The exhibit will feature the equipment used in

recording, sneak peeks at interviewees, and his work for the Vasa Order of America and the Emigrant Institute in Växjö, Sweden. The exhibit will run from April 22 to October 23, 2022.

Lilly Setterdahl will speak about the efforts of the Setterdahl family to preserve the rich history of Swedish immigration and her husband’s work at a Closing Reception and Gallery Talk on October 14 at 1 pm.


The Vasa National Archive is located at 109 S. Bishop Hill Street in Bishop Hill. The Vasa National Archive collects, preserves, and makes available historic records of the Vasa Order of America, a Swedish-American fraternity, and assists with genealogical research.


Lilly Setterdahl telling about her husband receiving a honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg and bestowed by the Swedish King.

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