Johan G.R. Banér papers: 1890-1938
Summary Information
Title: Johan G.R. Banér papers
Creator: Banér, Johan G. R. (Johan Gustav Runeskeold), 1861-1938
Dates: 1890-1938
Extent: 3 linear feet, 2 oversize volumes
Swedish-American author and journalist, of Ironwood, Michigan. Correspondence, manuscripts of poetry and other writings, and scrapbooks containing correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other poetry, concerning the myths of Sweden and Scandinavia and Banér's studies of Michigan Indian lore; also photograph.
Call number: 85997 Aa 2
Language: The material is in Swedish and English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

This collection was donated by Mrs. Burke Taylor (donor no. 4651) in 1970 and 1992.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see:


Donor(s) have not transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Johan G.R. Banér papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Johan Gustav Runeskeold Banér was a noted Swedish-American author and folklorist who spent most of his life in Ironwood, Michigan. Born in Småland, Sweden in 1861, he immigrated to the United States in 1883, where he lived in Ashland, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota.

While in Ashland, Banér began publishing Frihet, which became the major Swedish language publication in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. He continued to publish Frihet after he moved to Ironwood, which was home to a large Swedish speaking community. Banér also began to write poetic accounts of Scandinavian epics, as well as translations of Chippewa legends, myths and folklore; he wrote literally thousands of articles and poems for the nation's Swedish language press. As his influence as a publisher and writer spread, Banér corresponded with several well-known people, including Luther Burbank, Booker T. Washington, Elbert Hubbard, and Michigan governor Chase S. Osborn. He died in 1938.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Johan G.R. Banér collection is an especially valuable resource for the study of immigrants in Michigan; it also provides examples of popular folklore during the first half of the twentieth century. The collection is divided into six series: Biographical Information, Correspondence, Manuscripts, Scrapbooks, Publications and Photographs; the material is written in both English and Swedish.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Authors, American -- Michigan.
  • Indians of North America -- Michigan.
  • Ironwood (Mich.)
  • Journalists -- Michigan -- Ironwood.
  • Poetry.
  • Swedish Americans -- Michigan.
  • Upper Peninsula (Mich.)
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Banér, Johan G. R. (Johan Gustav Runeskeold), 1861-1938.
  • Banér, Johan G. R. (Johan Gustav Runeskeold), 1861-1938.
  • Burbank, Luther, 1849-1926.
  • Hill, Joe, 1879-1915.
  • Hubbard, Elbert, 1856-1915.
  • Osborn, Chase S. (Chase Salmon), 1860-
  • Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Biographical Information [series]

Biographical Information (1 folder; 1901-1973 and undated) contains clippings and reprints of articles about Banér which were written during his lifetime, along with a 1973 biography from The Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly, and notes and photographs by Ironwood historian Victor Lemmer.

Box   1  
Biographical Material 1901-1973, undated
Correspondence 1890-1939 [series]

Correspondence (.3 linear ft. and 1 scrapbook; 1890-1939 and undated) is arranged in chronological order where possible. A "Calendar of Correspondence" at the beginning of the series provides an index to the people with whom Banér corresponded, as well as thumbnail descriptions of the letters' contents. There are letters in the collection from Luther Burbank, Joe Hill, Elbert Hubbard, Chase Osborn, and Booker T. Washington.

Box   1  
Correspondence undated, 1890-1939 (6 folders)
Box   1  
Correspondence Scrapbook 1914-1920
Manuscripts [series]

Manuscripts (1 linear ft.; undated) are arranged by genre and language. "Essays" include prose fiction, articles and Banér's versions of Indian legends. "Poetry" runs from light rhymes written for family and friends, to book-length odes. Most of the manuscripts are drafts of material which was eventually published.

Box   1  
Essays concerning American Indian and Swedish folklore undated
Box   1  
Essays including some autobiographical writings undated
Box   1  
Essay "Verdandee and I" undated
Box   1  
Miscellaneous undated (3 folders)
Box   1  
"Cha-Yani' Pi' Kta" undated
Box   1  
"Checquamegon" undated
Box   1  
"Keshena" undated
Box   1  
"Keystones" undated
Box   1  
"Tecumtha" undated
Box   1  
"Viking Mettles" (2 versions) undated (2 folders)
Box   1  
Miscellaneous undated (6 folders)
Box   1  
"Fran January Till December" undated
Box   1  
"Herr Slump Och Herr Jag" by Johan Fornmo undated (2 folders)
Box   2  
"Waldemar Thorstenson" undated
Box   2  
Miscellaneous undated (10 folders)
Box   2  
"Loke" undated
Box   2  
"25 Plus 25" undated
Scrapbooks [series]

Scrapbooks (1 lin. ft. and 2 oversized volumes; 1893-1938 and undated) contain clippings about Banér, published versions of his work and a few photographs and calling cards from colleagues and friends. Most of the contents are in Swedish.

Box   2  
Clippings of poetry, articles, and personal items 1890s-1920s (3 volumes)
Oversize Volume   1  
Clippings of poetry, articles, and personal items 1890s-1920s
Oversize Volume   2  
Clippings of poetry, articles, and personal items 1890s-1920s
Box   2  
Clippings of poetry, articles, personal items and photographs 1924-1933
Box   2  
Manuscripts of poetry and essays undated (2 volumes (scrapbook))
Box   3  
Manuscripts of poetry and essays pasted in magazines 1912-1929 (6 copies)
Box   3  
Miscellanea, poetry and articles 1926-1935, undated (3 volumes (scrapbook))
Box   3  
Obituaries, condolences and photographs 1938
Publications 1911-1936 [series]

Publications (.25 linear ft.; 1911-1936) are the published book and pamphlet versions of Banér's creative work.

Box   3  
Svenska Roman Bladet [newspaper] 1889-1890
Box   3  
Swedish Magazines containing Banér poems 1926-1927
Photographs 1870-circa 1920s [series]

Photographs (3 envelopes; 1878-ca.1920s) are mainly of Banér, but also include pictures of his family and friends. Most of the latter are unidentified.

Box   3  
Banér family and friends circa 1880s-1920s
Box   3  
Portraits of Johan Banér 1878-circa 1920s (2 folders)