1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Madeline Bengston Family Papers

 Swedish-American family, East Greenwich, R.I.

 Papers, 1884-1940

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 994

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, December 1996

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Madeline Bengston (1907-1996) was a Swedish-American woman who lived in East Greenwich, R.I. It appears that she was the daughter of Swedish immigrants John Albert Bengston and Alma K. Olson, who were married in 1904. Donated along with her papers were numerous books of popular sheet music, from which we can infer that she was an avid cornet player (these books were not retained). From her papers, it appears that she was the daughter of Swedish immigrant Adolph Bengston. She had an uncle, Carl "Ben" Bengston, who removed to Nebraska. Madeline graduated from the East Greenwich Academy in 1925, and for the next fifteen years was employed at the Rhode Island Insurance Company in Providence before being laid off. She never married.

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Scope and content:

            This collection includes three diaries kept by Madeline Bengston, as well as scattered other personal papers. There are also several letters in English and Swedish addressed to her mother Alma (Olson) Bengston, mostly before her marriage. Some of these letters are from her future husband; others appear to be from a woman she worked as a maid for. A large number of postcards are addressed to and from various family members, including many written from overseas. There are also documents and other memorabilia relating to the immigrant experience.

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Processing note:

            Some photographs and other visual material may be in the Graphics Division.

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Madeline Bengston:

Folder 1.        Pocket diary, 1931

                        Diary, 1935-1939

                        Diary, 1940-1944

Folder 2.         Personal account/memorandum book, 1938-1958

                        School records, East Greenwich Academy, 1921-1925 (6 items)

                        Red Cross Home Nursing certificate, 1943

                        Rhode Island Insurance Company correspondence (5 items) 1925-1940

                        Report card for Swedish school in East Greenwich, 1919

                        Letter from Elizabeth Regan, 1942, apparently a Red Cross instructor

                        Typewriting speed certificate, 1925.

                        North Park College - Sunday School teaching certificate, 1932

Family papers:

Folder 3.         Letters in English to Alma Olson, from Elizabeth L. Treat Babcock

                                    and to J. Albert and Alma (Olson) Bengston, 1938.

Folder 4.         Letters in Swedish to Alma Olson, 1895-1906

                        Including several from future husband Albert Bengston

Folder 5.         Family postcards in English, 1910-1924

Folder 6.         Family postcards in Swedish

Folder 7.         Money orders from Sweden, 1895-1902

Folder 8.         Documents:

                        Charles Bengston naturalization, 1892

                        Alma Olson documents (in Swedish), 1884 (copy) and 1895

                                    and U.S. inspection card, 1895

                        Olaf Larsson document (Swedish), 1902

                        Death notices of C.E. "Ben" Bengston, 1961,

                                    and Irene A. Bengston, ca. 1917.

                        C.E. Bengston certificate, World War II war work, 1945

Folder 9.         Miscellaneous, in English:

                        Newspaper clipping re Swedish Congregational Church in Campello, Mass.

                        Wedding announcement, John Albert Bengston and Alma Olson, 1904

                        Receipt from dressmaker, undated, possibly for wedding dress.

                        Lock of hair

                        Poem by Edna Peterson

                        Loose addresses of friends

Folder 10.       Miscellaneous, in Swedish:

                        Newspaper clippings, recipes, pamphlets, etc.

Folder 11.       Various Swedish newspapers, 1895.

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Babcock, Elizabeth L. (Treat)

Diaries - 1931, 1935-1944

East Greenwich Academy

Emigration and immigration - Rhode Island

Rhode Island Insurance Company

Swedish-Americans - Rhode Island

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