Rosalind Spitzer, PLU Alumni '68
"Only forty miles away from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House in the Big Woods,” Anna Lavinia Tilderquist is fast approaching adulthood in the Swedish immigrant community of Vasa, Minnesota.
Anna’s life is full and happy in her large, lively, farm family when a theological student named Gustaf catches her eye. Unlike Anna, Gustaf is rebuilding his life after experiencing great losses caused by the deaths of his mother and half his siblings, a traumatic immigration experience, and serious illness.
Nevertheless, she enrolls in the college in St. Peter where he teaches, and she soon finds that a romance between a professor and a student comes with its own dilemmas—the first of many they will face. As the school year ends, Gustaf accepts a ministerial position in the frontier town of Tacoma, Washington Territory, while Anna begins her own teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse back home. When the depression-prone Gustaf urges her to marry him, Anna hesitates. She loves her work and is committed to tending to her gravely ill mother. More than anything, Anna fears she doesn’t have the strength or knowledge to create a new home far away from everything she has known and loved.
Drawing on real-life letters and journals, and substantiated by additional research, Anna’s Home by Rosalind Spitzer takes you inside the richly detailed lives of immigrant families, recreating the challenges, dreams, and triumphs of the frontier in late nineteenth-century America immigrant families, recreating the challenges, dreams, and triumphs of the frontier in late nineteenth-century America.