Finns in Wisconsin: Revised and Expanded Edition

By Mark Knipping

Paperback: $9.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-390-9

72 pages, 29 b/w photos and illus., 6 x 9"


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From mining to logging to farming, Finns played an important role in the early development of Wisconsin. Although their immigration to the state came later than that of most other groups, their contributions proved just as significant. Finns pride themselves for their sisu, a Finnish term which, roughly translated, means fortitude or perseverance, especially in the face of adversity. They needed their strength of character to help them face the difficult task of building a new life in a new land. Many Finns arriving in Wisconsin, unable to own land at home, hoped to establish themselves as small independent farmers in the new land. They settled mainly in northern Wisconsin, due to jobs and land available there.

This book traces the history of Finnish settlement in Wisconsin, from the large concentrations of Finns in the northern region, to the smaller "Little Finlands" created in other areas of the state. Revised and expanded, this new edition contains the richly detailed story of one Finnish woman, told in her own words, of her hardships and experiences in traveling to a new country and her resourcefulness and strength in adapting to a new culture and building a new life.

Discover the histories of other ethnic groups in Wisconsin in the ongoing People of Wisconsin Series!

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Mark Knipping has a master's degree in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined the staff of the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1971 as the Chief of Research and Interpretation at Old World Wisconsin and assisted in the planning and developing of that historic site. He has also researched and managed other historic sites, such as Pendarvis and the Herrling Sawmill. Since his retirement in 2004, Mr. Knipping continues to pursue his research interests, such as the historic pottery of the Sheboygan, Wisconsin area and serves as a constultant to museums.