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From the Archives

Swedish Cooperative Update

Sarah Rovang

So if you caught my first post last Friday, you read about the kind of evidence I was looking for to prove that Rural Electrification Administration had access to a book called Swedish Cooperative Wholesale Society's Architect's Office (that's a mouthful) and was using it to inform their designs. I received this book through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) this afternoon, and I'm ready to argue with a reasonable degree of certainty that now that REA was using this work. Here's why:

1. The MIT intake stamp on the ILL book is dated February 10, 1936. This means that within a year of the book's publication, the book had made its way to the United States and was in MIT's library. Given this fact, it is probable that libraries at other major research institutions also owned this work. 


2. The ILL book I have currently is an the English language version. At the Wolfsonian Museum, I had seen the Swedish version and was unsure if an English translation even existed. The availability of an English version in the United States means this work would have been usable for not just the pictures but also the text and thus a much better architectural source book for an American audience. 

3. The same photograph of a Swedish cooperative that appears in the 1940 Rural Electrification News (reproduced the previous post on this topic), appears on page 116 of this book. 

 SIGTUNA COOPERATIVE SOCIETY UPPLAND: Old house rebuilt as modern shop.

SIGTUNA COOPERATIVE SOCIETY UPPLAND: Old house rebuilt as modern shop.

So REA obviously had access to a copy of this book and was using it, at least in some capacity, as an inspiration for their architectural designs. I think we can say case closed on this one.