In Pole Raising and Speech Making, author Jennifer Eastman Attebery focuses on the beginnings of the traditional Scandinavian Midsummer celebration and the surrounding spring-to-summer seasonal festivities in the Rocky Mountain West during the height of Swedish immigration to the area—1880–1917.
Combining research in folkloristics and history, Attebery explores various ways that immigrants blended traditional Swedish Midsummer-related celebrations with local civic celebrations of American Independence Day on July 4 and the Mormons’ Pioneer Day on July 24. Functioning as multimodal observances with multiple meanings, these holidays represent and reconsider ethnicity and panethnicity, sacred and secular relationships, and the rural and the urban, demonstrating how flexible and complex traditional celebrations can be.
Providing a wealth of detail and information surrounding little-studied celebrations and valuable archival and published primary sources—diaries, letters, speeches, newspaper reports, and images—Pole Raising and Speech Making is proof that non-English immigrant culture must be included when discussing “American” culture. It will be of interest to scholars and graduate students in ethnic studies, folklore, ritual and festival studies, and Scandinavian American cultural history.