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The Americanization of the Finns

John Wargelin, A.M.,

President of Suomi College and Theological Seminary

Chapter I.  Introduction. Meaning of Americanization Discussed.
Chapter II.  Historical Background of the Finnish Race.
Chapter III.  Causes of Immigration from Finland.
Chapter IV.  Finnish Immigration to America.
Chapter V.  Distribution and Occupations of the Finns.
Chapter VI.  Cultural Life of the Finns. a) School.
Chapter VII.  Cultural Life of the Finns (continued). b) Press.
Chapter VIII.  Cultural Life of the Finns (continued). c) Church.
Chapter IX.  Cultural Life of the Finns (continued). d) Societies.
Chapter X.  Naturalization and Political Life.


The following chapters were written in the belief that there is a need for interpretation of the character and the life of the Finnish people in America. An attempt has been made here to see the facts from the inside with the eyes of one who can say that "even I was there".

The main part was originally written as a thesis in a course in Sociology at the University of Michigan. This was kept as a nucleus around which I have gathered additional material and added further chapters. Prof. C. H. Cooley, in whose course the thesis was presented, commented on it with the following words:

"You have written nothing less than a treatise on the American Finns. It seems to me careful and sympathetic, and has an element of originality due to the extent of your personal knowledge".

Much more could have been written and, perhaps, would have been desirable to an interested reader, but the writing of such a work would take more time than we had at our disposal, and, further, there was no evidence that such a work would be received in a way that would assure the necessary expense of the publication of a more comprehensive book at this time.

I have given considerable publicity to the thoughts of the writers who have entered into the study of this question in a sympathetic and intelligent way. It is to be hoped that others will follow them in a similar undertaking.

My thanks are due to the Rev. H. D. Whitteker, A. B., B. D., and to Miss Alma Burman, A. B., my colleagues on the faculty of Suomi College, who kindly read and criticised all of the manuscript.

May this volume furnish such stimulus to those who come in contact with the immigrants, and particularly the Finns, as will be helpful in more intelligently understanding them and helping them to become better Americans.

The Author.

Suomi College, Hancock, Mich.
December, 1923.

Publication: John Wargelin, The Americanization of the Finns. The Finnish Lutheran Book Concern. Hancock, Michigan 1924, 185 pages.

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