The Economy of Scandinavian-American Exchange: Donations and Scholarships in the American-Scandinavian Foundation, 1912–1995

Christin Mays, Andreas Åkerlund

Abstract


The importance of philanthropy for academic exchange cannot be overestimated. Especially in the first half of the twentieth century, scholarships for academic exchange originated from the private sector instead of the state. But what is the relationship between academic exchange and the donations which finance scholarships? How can specific donations and the restrictions placed on them change the flow of exchange? This article investigates donation and scholarship praxis within the American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) from 1912–1995, a philanthropic organisation devoted to academic exchange between Scandinavia and the United States. The period, 1912–1944, is characterised by various small donations and few scholarships to mostly American fellows. The second period, 1945–1995, represents an era of economic growth created from a surge in large, restricted donations invested in scholarship funds. This led to an increased number of scholarships to a more geographically diverse population.

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