1. Alanen, Arnold. “The Development and Distribution of Finnish Consumers’ Cooperatives in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, 1903-1973”. IN: Karni, Michael G.; Kaups, Matti E., and Ollila, Douglas J. Jr., editors. The Finnish Experience in the Western Great Lakes Region: New Perspectives. Turku, Finland: Institute for Migration; in cooperation with the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota; 1975; pp. 103-130. Notes: A paper “originally presented at a conference on “The Finnish Experience in the Western Great Lakes Region: New Perspectives” held at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in April of 1974″ (editors’ introduction, p. 1). Alanen dates “the first actual Finnish-sponsored cooperative” in the United States to 1903 “when thirteen farm families near Menahga, Minnesota contributed a total of $170 to start a cooperative store” (p. 110)–seventy years later this store was still going strong with annual sales of about $2 million. By 1907 several more “Finnish stores or buying clubs” had been established throughout the upper peninsula of Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and primarily northern Minnesota and by 1917 the number had grown to over a hundred Finnish consumer cooperatives throughout the northern area of the three states and the network had their own wholesale outlet, the Cooperative Central Exchange, headquartered in Superior, Wisconsin. Many of these cooperatives had been started during mining strikes in the region, while others grew from “buying circles” set up by Finnish farmers of the area. Between 1904 and 1907 the communities of Brantwood, Wisconsin and Clifford, Wisconsin became Wisconsin’s first two locations to establish a Finnish-sponsored store or buying club; by 1917 nine were scattered across northern Wisconsin alone and by 1929 that number had grown to sixteen. This paper provides an overview of the history of the Finnish-sponsored cooperatives and the factors which influenced their development over time.
  1. Johnson, Jim. The Co-op Label. 1st ed. Wisuri, Marlene, images. Duluth, Minn.: Dovetailed Press LLC; 128 p. Notes: This lovely and evocative book is “dedicated to immigrants and co-operators everywhere” (p. 6) and they are well served by the poems and mainly photographic images contained in it. The authors explain (p. 5) that Part One of their book “portrays immigration and the anti-immigration activities of 1918” and Part Two “alludes to anti-communist sentiments of the 1950s,” through the experiences of the immigrants in the region around the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin, but especially of the Finnish immigrant experience of the area.