This book began as a term paper in a graduate seminar on popular culture in 1988. Since that early stage, many friends and colleagues have contributed generously of their time and resources, both intellectual and personal, to turning that paper into this book. While I take responsibility for any shortcomings in this work, any successes are certainly due to the advice, probing questions, and wisdom of many people.
This project would have been much more difficult to complete without the financial support of the University of Minnesota and Illinois Wesleyan University. The American Studies Program at the University of Minnesota awarded me a dissertation writing grant in 1990-91; in 1993, Illinois Wesleyan University supported a research trip to complete my revisions through a faculty development grant; and in the final, more mundane, stages of gaining photograph permissions and indexing, Dean Janet McNew of Illinois Wesleyan granted generous and much-needed support.
Early versions of this work were presented as papers at meetings of the American Studies Association and the Organization of American Historians. The final product benefited greatly from the comments of panel and audience members. Many of the archivists I met while writing both the dissertation and the book proved also to be invaluable resources. Along with thanking the people on the staff at the magnificent Minnesota Historical Society, I would like to thank more personally the archivists and officers of the Norwegian-American Historical Association and Archives in Northfield, Minnesota. Ruth Crane and Lloyd Hustvedt helped me enormously throughout this project. Though retired from her many years with the Historical Association, Charlotte Jacobson generously consented to translate an article for me. Odd S. Lovoll, editor of the NAHA's journal, Norwegian-American Studies, has also been very supportive of my work.
Various scholars, both friends and colleagues, read this book at different stages, and I owe them a great debt. I would first like to thank the 1989-90 American Studies Dissertation Writing Group--Joy Barbre, John Bloom, Amy Farrell, Michiko Hase, Jane Healey, Mark Hulsether, Scott Kassner, Chris Lewis, and Kate Spaeth. On Wednesday nights, they shared cookies, coffee, gossip, and, most important, their insights about my work and their own projects. Wendy Kozol, while finishing her own work long distance and beginning her teaching and research career, gave generously of her time reading and commenting on several chapters of this project. Betty Bergland not only shared her important work on ethnicity and immigrant women's autobiography, but also told me timely stories about her