The histories of colonial settlement in America are generally presented as uniquely national stories. Yet because these histories involved settlers who crossed oceans, they are inherently transnational and have been important for different groups throughout the world. To understand how settlement histories are used to promote social, political, and commercial relations across national borders, Adam Hjorthén explores the little-known phenomenon of cross-border commemorations.
Focusing on two celebrations of Swedish settlement in America—the 1938 New Sweden Tercentenary and the 1948 Swedish Pioneer Centennial—Hjorthén examines a wide variety of sources to demonstrate how cultural leaders, politicians, and businessmen used these events to promote international relations between the United States and Sweden during times of great geopolitical transformation. Cross-Border Commemorations argues that scholarship on public commemoration should expand beyond national borders and engage the shared and contested meanings of history across local, national, and transnational contexts.