The Romansh in Minnesota

Barbara Sommer
Saturday, January 26, 2019 - 10:00am to 11:30am
Washburn Library, 5244 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

Among the mid-19th century waves of immigrants from northern Europe to the U.S, and Minnesota, the Romansh people from Switzerland were a small but influential group, Often counted with Swiss immigrants as a whole, or with German, French, or Italian immigrants, their story in Minnesota, though carefully saved in family histories, has not been well known publicly.

Barbara Sommer, with support through a Gale Library Fellowship from the Minnesota Historical Society, has researched and written a short history of the move of Romansh people from the canton Graubünden to Stillwater, Le Center, St. Paul and other areas of Romansh settlement in Minnesota.This program will cover information gathered by Sommer about Minnesota's Romansh immigrants and their families, including the story of her great-great grandmother.
Barbara is a 4th generation Minnesotan, a public historian with a specialty in oral history, and a published author. She became interested in her Romansh heritage when told by a family member many years ago to remember "We are Roman" - a statement often made by people of Romansh background. Interested in learning more about what this meant, in 2017 she applied for a Gale Library Fellowship from the Minnesota Historical Society. With this support, she researched and began to document Minnesota's little known Romansh story. The results of her work are available on MNopedia (