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James M. Kaplan

Dr. James (Jim) M. Kaplan grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts and graduated the University of Massachusetts with a degree in French in 1964. He received the Ph.D. in French literature from the University of California Berkeley in 1971. He became acquainted with Sweden as a long-time camp counselor for the Swedish YMCA. He did doctoral research at the University of Uppsala, Sweden and later published books and articles on eighteenth century French literature based on manuscripts that he found in Swedish archives. After receiving his doctorate Dr. Kaplan worked for several years as a U.S. Department of State interpreter. He began teaching French and Swedish at Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1975 where he became active in the Swedish-American community. He founded the Swedish Cultural Heritage Society of the Red River Valley in 1976 and served for a long time as its president. He arranged many community programs, film series, exhibits, lecture series, concerts, etc., funded by the Arts.

Councils and Humanities Commissions of Minnesota and North Dakota. He founded and chaired the North Dakota New Sweden ’88 Committee to arrange programs throughout the state commemorating the Three Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary of the Swedish colony in Delaware. For his service to the Swedish-American community Dr. Kaplan was knighted by King Carl XVI Gustav with the Royal Order of the Polar Star in 1988. In recent years he has published articles and a book on the Swedish Kansas artist Birger Sandzén and on Swedish art exhibits at the World‘s Fairs of St. Louis (1904) and San Francisco (1915). Jim often spends a month in Stockholm in the summer working on his research. He retired from MSUM in 2008 but continued to teach Swedish courses and speak to community groups on Swedish cultural topics, especially the popular murder mysteries. He is an avid gardener.