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Linnea Aid Society Records

Identifier: SAAGC/001
The Linnea Aid Society Records include documents related to organizational structure including a number of histories, minutes, membership rollbooks and lists, correspondence, and financial records.


  • 1906 - 1970
  • Majority of material found within 1955 - 1970


Language of Materials

English and Swedish.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on the materials, and the collection is open to all members of the public. However, the researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright that may be involved in the use of this collection.


7.25 Linear Feet (13 containers)

Biographical / Historical

The Linnea Aid Society was founded on February 9, 1906, as a ladies auxiliary for the newly established Englewood Hospital in Chicago. The first meeting was held at the home of Mrs. N. A. Nelson, who remained a prominent member of the Society until her death in 1961. There were twenty women present, representing three churches. At this time the name of the organization was chosen, dues were set at ten cents a month, and the decision was made to extend an invitation to members of other south side Lutheran, Covenant, Baptist, and Methodist churches of Scandinavian origin to join the Society. By March 1906, principal officers had been elected and the organization had ninety‑eight members.

Until 1909, the Linnea Society limited its charitable activities to Englewood Hospital; furnishing one of its wards, supplying linen and paying for the care of indigent patients. As the Society enlarged its focus, its internal structure became more sophisticated. Membership, Relief, Sewing, Clothing, and Sick (later, Cheer) Committees were appointed under the supervision of elected chairmen to administer the basic functions of the organization. Each of the twenty‑one south side churches eventually associated with the Linnea Society constituted a district, and district managers served as liaison officers between the Society's Executive Board and each of its component parts. Transplanted members of the Chicago group formed a sister organization in Los Angeles in 1923. In 1929, the organization was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois.

The Linnea Aid Society's activities remained fairly consistent throughout the years of its existence. Monetary aid was provided for "worthy" individuals (seldom more than $25 a month) and for charitable and evangelistic enterprises (as much as $500 per year). Christmas baskets were distributed as early as 1909, though they were increasingly replaced by Christmas checks in later years. Homes for the Aging, administered by the four denominations, were visited regularly; admission to these homes was often secured for needy individuals. The Sewing Committee supplied clothing and linen for orphanages and other charitable institutions, and the Cheer Committee visited hospitalized Society members. Occasionally, the Society provided money for the burial of those who had neither family nor resources and, during the Depression, Linnea paid the fare for impoverished young men who wished to return to Sweden.

The organization acquired funds through the sale of tickets to its annual fall concert, and through the sale of the advertisements printed in the concert program. Donations, bequests, collections and membership dues provided revenue to support the organization.

In 1931 the Linnea Aid Society had 1,537 members, and distributed over $12,000 in aid. Over 200 Christmas Baskets per year were distributed during the early 1930's. Between 1931 and 1936, a relief station was maintained by the Society for the distribution of food and clothing. Regular devotional meetings were held by the Society at the Southside Evangelistic Tent at 71st and Vincennes Avenues, Chicago.

The organization disbanded in December, 1970.


Arranged by topic and then chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records of the Linnea Aid Society (Accession 71/5) were donated to the Swedish Pioneer Historical Society Archives by the organization upon its disbandment in 1970.

Processing Information

Processed by Joy Liljegren, June‑October, 1982
Funding to migrate and update this finding aid was provided by the Swedish Council of America through the 2019 grant "Improving and Expanding Access to the Swedish–American Archives of Greater Chicago."

Repository Details

Part of the Swedish-American Archives of Greater Chicago Repository

3225 W Foster Ave
Box 38
Chicago IL 60625 USA