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The Åland Club of Seattle


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May 10, 1954 legendary Åland professor Otto Anderson visited the club’s founder in his Seattle home and took the following notes about the club. The penciled notes are stored in the Åland Islands Emigrant Institute archives. They are referenced in Myhrman’s book Finlandssvenskar i Amerika.

“The Åland Club of Seattle was founded in 1933. The initiator was Oscar Hägg-blom, born July 1, 1988 in Sundsvall, Sweden. Häggblom’s father passed away when Oscar was 6, after which his mother moved back to her native country, Kumlinge, Åland.

The club’s first meeting was held in Hägg-blom’s home in October, 1933. Hägg-blom had summoned a group of Åland islanders for the purpose of founding a society focusing on native country issues.

There were seven Ålanders present: Oscar Häggblom, Charles Sjögren (Kumlinge), Albert Carlson (Kumlinge), Linus Sjögren (Kumlinge), Ruben Jacobson (Seglinge), K.E. Nordlund (Lemland). A committee was named to create bylaws and meeting agenda. The bylaws were approved at a well attended meeting on November 16, 1934.

The society name was decided to be The Åland Club of Seattle. The purpose of the club was defined in the first paragraph of the bylaws: 1. ”To bring people from Åland together for social gatherings, thereby (to) further their friendship and welfare of each other, and 2. To work for and promote fellowship, intelligent citizenship and take active part in anything that may help someone in our club.”

The bylaws further defined membership requirements; board of directors; frequency of meetings (one meeting per month). There were two kinds of membership: active or passive (social members). The club’s official language was to be English.

The following persons have been presidents of the Åland Club: Nordlund, Sjögren, Carl Anderson, Edvin Jacobson, Emil Junggren, Elis Mattson, Ruben Jacobson, Oscar Häggblom, Lennart Stith (Smith ?) and Michel Anderson. Michel Anderson is the current president. The following persons have been secretary of the Club: Oscar Häggblom and Alma Hanson (current secretary).

During it’s 20 year existence the Club has had regular activities, also during the war. At the meetings the issues stipulated in the bylaws have been discussed. In addition there have been (theme) discussions, music- and other programs, lectures, package auctions (in the earlier years) and dances. The meetings have ended with coffee.

The membership was in the beginning 80-90. Later the membership has declined and currently it is between 60 and 70. Of the founders all but Nordlund and Ruben Jacobson are still alive.

In the opinion of Messrs. Häggblom and Sjögren who provided the information above the Club has been important for the solidarity of the Åland islanders in the Seattle region; in particular the older generation. Members of the older generation are seldom absent from the meetings. The Club has also catered to Dnon-members; every year the Club has arranged an Åland dance, inviting all local Ålanders and guests from nearby citys.

This testimony was recorded by Otto Andersson at the home of Oscar Häggblom, 8010 25th Avenue NW, Seattle on May 25, 1954.”

Mrs. Helen Bruin has recently donated a wooden cabinet with glass door containing the banner of the Åland Club of Seattle to SFHS.

  • Literature: Anders Myhrman, Finlandsvenskar i Amerika. Svenska Litteratursällskapet i Finland. Helsingfors 1972. ISBN 951-9017-04-6 (pp. 347-348).
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