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Walfrid J. Jokinen papers

Identifier: IHRC1146


Papers (1952-1964), of Walfrid J. Jokinen (1915-1970) consist of biographical material; correspondence, mainly regarding Jokinen's translation of Hans R. Wasastjerna's Minnesotan Suomalisten Historia and resulting disputes; a manuscript, "The Finns in Minnesota: A Social History"; and research reports and miscellany.


  • Creation: 1952-1964


Language of Materials

English and Finnish


Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


The Jokinen, Walfrid J., 1915-1970 collection is the physical property of the Immigration History Research Center Archives, University of Minnesota.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRCA.


Walfrid Jokinen was born on July 22, 1915 in Hibbing, Minnesota. His parents were Finnish immigrants and Jokinen grew up on a farm near Keewatin, Minnesota, where he attended elementary and secondary school. After graduation from high school he worked in Hibbing and later as a reporter for the Industrialisti newspaper in Duluth. Jokinen went to California in 1940, and on July 1941, he was married to Elsie Ekholm, a professional photographer, whom he had met earlier in Duluth. Jokinen served in the Air Force from 1942 to 1946 and afterward attended the University of Minnesota, receiving his BA in Sociology in 1951. He enrolled in graduate school at Louisiana State University, where he received his MA in 1953 and his Ph. D. in 1955. In addition to his duties as a Professor of Sociology, he also served as chairman of the Department of Sociology and as Assistant Dean of the Graduate School (1958-1961).

Prof. Jokinen’s great interest in his own ethnic group, the Finns, can be seen in his postgraduate work. His master’s thesis dealt with the Finns in Minnesota, and his doctoral dissertation was a broad study of the Finns in the United States. He was a contributing editor to H.R. Wasastjerna’s Minnesotan Suomalaisten Historia (History of the Finns in Minnesota), and in 1961, he undertook translating the history into English at the request of the Minnesota Finnish- American Historical Society. Professor Jokinen decided to change the format and concept of the book so that it would be no mere “chronological cataloguing of Finnish activities” but rather, a “comprehensive interpretive survey” that could also serve as a textbook for college courses. To do this, he proposed combining material from his own dissertations with the largely popular historical material of the book. The historical society board of directors at first went along with the idea of a revision, but a year later, they resolved that the English version of the Minnesotan Suomalaisten Historia should be a direct translation of the original and withdrew their support for Prof. Jokinen’s project. Professor Jokinen had planned to have the book published through a university press, but these plans remained uncompleted at his death.

While vacationing in California with his family, Professor Jokinen died of a heart attack on August 9, 1970.


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