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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 489 Response

The Chicago Connection

by Bertil Falk

In Harald Wägner’s “Dr. Hardie,” the doctor’s reported place of residence, Chicago, seems to be quite irrelevant to the story he tells. What might the “American connection” have meant to Swedish readers, especially in the early 20th century?

I think that this is the explanation: In 1913, when the story was published, about 1.3 million Swedes had emigrated to the U.S.A. Sweden then had almost 5 million inhabitants, and Chicago was second only to Stockholm when it came to Swedish inhabitants.

Most Swedes had a relative in Chicago. On my paternal grandmother’s side people emigrated to... Chicago. In my opinion the interesting thing about the story is that it is an early yarn about brain transplantations.

Copyright © 2012 by Bertil Falk

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