This site is not updated on a regular basis. 12/23/19


The Sons and Daughters of the Colony of New Sweden (New Sweden Historical Society) and Maine’s Swedish Colony, Inc. have merged under the New Sweden Histroical Society name.


New Sweden
Historical Society



116 Station Road

PO Box 33
New Sweden, ME, 04762


Carolyn Hildebrand nshs@maineswedishcolony.info


Download Membership Form

Historical Society



280 Main Street
Stockholm, ME 04783

Sandra Hara


Historical Society

1149 New Sweden Rd.
Woodland, ME 04736



Folklife Heritage


Folk Songs

Unlike dance music, folk songs have sung lyrics and can be performed with or without instrumental accompaniment. They usually tell stories or are about topics related to seasons, holidays, rites of passage such as marriage, work, etc.

In New Sweden it appears that Swedish folk songs were commonplace in homes well into the 1960's. Several residents recall hearing Swedish lullabys as children and singing other songs as a family. However, unlike the dance music tradition, folk songs are not all that visible today. It seems that folk songs were not ever valued for public performance the way dance music was for social events. Thus, the folk songs normally handed down through an oral tradition of repeated listening and singing have faded rather quickly. And previous generations often sang the songs only in Swedish, making learning and singing awkward for more recent generations who didn't learn the language. In fact it's hard to find anyone who will sing the folk songs.

Nancy Holmquist-Roble knows and sings quite a few, especially children's songs and ring dance songs (sung by children while dancing). And Adella Johnson knows many of the "old songs." But she says, "It's been a long while since I've sung any of them for anyone. I'd have to practice!"

Helen Borjeson is known to have sung a lot folk songs. She says she remembers the words and melodies well. But, at ninety years old, she states, "I'm too old and my voice is too gone for singing them." Even so, she would be an excellent person to help trace the history of folk songs in New Sweden; what songs were sung? by whom? where? etc.

With further assistance from Nancy, Adella and others, it might not be too late to put together a picture of the folk song tradition in New Sweden. Such an effort would keep this unique and tangible body of local traditional music intact for future generations to refer to and build upon.



Report on Discovery Research Fieldwork in the Swedish Colony by Matthew Shippee Contractor, Maine Arts Commission, Traditional Arts Division June, 2001. (413) 628-0159 mshippee@fiam.net. This report was funded in part by a grant from The Maine Arts Commission, the New Century Community Program, and the National Endowment of the Arts, a federal agency. The New Century Community Program is a collaborative initiative of seven cultural organizations providing matching grants and technical assistance to Maine communities. Funded by the people of Maine, the program seeks to assist towns in developing their cultural and educational resources

Privacy Policy-We do not share contact information. Site comments, correcctions, and questions? No change is too small – email the official web guy: Bill Duncan, Bill@WilliamLDuncan.com ©2019 Site hosting courtesy of WilliamLDuncan.com. This site was originally developed with assistance of a Discovery Research grant from the Maine Arts Commission, the New Century Fund of the Maine Community Foundation and the historical societies of the Maine Swedish Colony.

Note, Dec 2019. This site is not updated on a regular basis. See individual historical society pages on Facebook for the latest.--Bill