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Swanson, Alma Erickson, 1889-1985



  • Existence: 1889 - 1985


Alma Erickson was born April 17, 1889 in Boone County, Iowa, to Britta and Halver Erickson of Swede Valley, Iowa. She was the youngest of eight children, five of whom survived to adulthood. She attended local schools and in 1914 went to Omaha to work as a seamstress and housemaid. While there, she lived at the Swedish Young Women's Association. After several months, she returned to Boone County to marry neighboring farmer Carl W. Swanson, in 1915. Carl and Alma Swanson farmed in Marcy Township near Ogden, Iowa, where they raised three children, Signe, Thor, and Greta during the farm depression of the 1920s and 1930s. Each of their children worked to finance their college educations. Carl Swanson died in 1952 and twelve years later, Alma Swanson moved from their family farm into Ogden, Iowa, where she lived until her death in 1985.

Signe Swanson was born in 1917 and graduated from Ogden High School in 1934 at age sixteen. At age eighteen she began teaching country school. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, where her uncle Benjamin Swanson was on the faculty, graduating in 1943. She immediately entered the WAVES as an ensign and was stationed in Washington, D.C., for three years. In 1946, she entered Syracuse University under the G.I. Bill, earning a masters degree in Education in 1948. She worked as Dean of Women at various colleges until 1952 when she married Earl Leininger. [See biographical folder for further information.]

Thor Swanson was born in 1922 and graduated from the University of Iowa, receiving a B.A. in economics in 1943 and an M. A. in political science in 1947. He became an officer in the Navy in 1943, and returned to graduate school at Syracuse University, where he received a Ph.D. in 1953. He married Dorothy Neiman in 1950 and was appointed to the faculty at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, in 1951. [See biographical folder for details of his extensive public and professional service.]

Greta Swanson was born in 1924. She studied nutrition at Iowa State University, receiving a B.S. in 1946 and an M.A. from Texas Women's University in 1948, also in nutrition. [See biographical folder for further information about her Iowa education.]

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Alma Erickson Swanson papers

Identifier: IWA0454

Swedish farm woman whose three children became academics during the 1930s and 1940s.

Dates: 1897-2000