Per Adolf Persson (aka Adolph Pearson) was born 9 January 1884 in Veinge Parish, Halland County, Sweden, the son of Per Svensson and Kristina Larsdotter. His father Per was first married to Petronella Persdotter who died in 1882. Adolph emigrated in 1904, arriving 28 October at New York on the S.S. Carpathia. His destination was Peoria County, Illinois, where his brother, Sven Isak (Isaac), was living.
Josefina Viktoria Johansdotter was born 7 December 1883 in Gullered Parish, Älvsborg County (now Västra Götaland County), Sweden. Her parents were Johan August Andersson and Justina Jansdotter. She emigrated as Josefina Anderson in October 1906 and arrived 8 November at Boston on the S.S. Saxonia. Her final destination was Auburn, Rhode Island. She was known as Victoria or Tori in America.
According to Adolph's obituary from the Grand Forks Herald, he and Victoria were married 11 December 1909 in Illinois. They had three children: Raymond, Edith, and Harry. Adolph and Victoria farmed near Dunlap, Peoria County, Illinois and moved to Sullivan Township, Polk County, Minnesota around 1915. Adolph's brother and sister-in-law, Isaac and Elin Persson, also lived near Dunlap, and two other brothers, John and Hjalmar, lived in the same area. Several of his sisters also emigrated. A brother to Victoria, Per Gustaf Johnson, lived in Polk County, Minnesota, after relocating there from Peoria, Illinois. Victoria died 23 June 1961 followed by Adolf, who died 14 August 1966. They are buried in Bethany Lutheran Cemetery, north of East Grand Forks.
The Persson Family Papers consist of letters and letter fragments, written mainly in Swedish, to Adolf and Victoria "Tori" Persson from family members in Sweden and in the United States. The letters span the years 1911-1930 and have been translated by Special Collections Norwegian student assistants: Ann Catrin Jern, Anne Berit Hamar, Nina Berg, and Ada Jonsson. Because the letters are handwritten in an older form of Swedish, there are probably some errors in the translations.
Correspondents in Sweden include Victoria's father, August Andersson, and her sister, Wilhelmina or Mina, and Adolf's sister, Tekla. Isaac and Elin Persson often wrote from their home in Dunlap, Illinois. Isaac was Adolf's brother and Victoria and Elin seem to have been good friends. Other correspondents include John and Hjalmar Persson (brothers to Adolf), Edna Persson (niece) and Hjalmar Larson and John Magnusson (friends of Adolf).
Correspondents generally reported news concerning family members and friends in Sweden and in Illinois. The letters contain information on births, deaths and marriages. Crops, livestock, weather, and other affairs of daily rural agricultural life are often discussed as well. There are some references to World War I in the letters, but very little commentary on other world events.