Richard and Janet Monson purchased two boxes of old books at an auction last year. The boxes contained books of major historical relevance. The books are now part of Swedish collections in a university and the Swedish National Library in Stockholm, Sweden.
At the end of the sale in May last year a large collection of books came up for sale by Elizabeth Jaderborg of Lindsborg, Kansas.. Boxes of books were scattered under a shade tree in the yard and buyers could select a particular book, or they could choose an entire box of books. The Monsons, who were planning a trip to Sweden, bought a two-dollar box which they noticed happened to contain a Scandinavian travel book. Little did they know what other prizes were in that box.
After sorting through the box, the Monsons decided to bring some books which they did not want along to the Augustana Heritage Association “Gathering” that was being held in Rock Island, Illinois, the first weekend of June 2010. There they could make these books available to interested collectors, especially those that could read Swedish. And in fact some great connections were made between certain old books and those interested in those particular volumes.
Virginia P. Follstad, an author and professional librarian, saw on the “free” table Volume 7 of Blommer vid Vägen (Roadside Flowers), a series published in America for the Swedish emigrants that featured stories for children. Follstad checked to see which libraries held this series in their collections. She learned that the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm had earlier copies of the series in its collection, but not Volume 7. The Antiquarian Acquisition Librarian was pleased to accept this gift to add to the national collection.
In addition to the first book, another book caught the librarian’s eye, Nytt Bibliotek för Barn och Ungdom (The New Library for Children and Youth). This book is held by very few libraries, according to Follstad, and she found that this volume was missing from the Special Collections at the University of Minnesota. The curator was delighted to include it in the Dahllöf Collection of Swedish Americana housed at the University.