David Ferdinand Swenson


Dublin Core


David Ferdinand Swenson


Biographical Sketch of David F. Swenson (1876-1940)

David Ferdinand Swenson was born in Kristinehamn, Sweden, in 1876. He came to the United States at the age of six. He was educated in the Minneapolis Public Schools and attended the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1898. He was an instructor in the Department of Philosophy from 1901 to 1906, Assistant Professor from 1906 to 1913, Associate Professor from 1913 to 1917, and Professor from 1917 to 1940. In 1936 he was appointed chairman of the Department of Philosophy upon the retirement of Norman Wilde.

Swenson was an authority on the life and writings of the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, and spent much of his professional life translating Kierkegaard's works into English. Two of these translations were published before his death in 1940. They are Philosophical Fragments (1936) and Two Discourses (1938).

Lillian Marvin, also a graduate of the University of Minnesota in 1898, married Swenson in 1912. After his death, she learned to read Danish and continued working on the translations of Kierkegaard which Swenson had left unfinished. The following works were published as a result of her efforts: Edifying Discourses , Volumes I-IV (1943-1947), Either/Or , Volume 1 (1945), Works of Love (1946), Gospel of Suffering and Lilies of the Field (1948). She also compiled and edited Something About Kierkegaard (1941), which is a collection of Swenson's philosophical talks, and Kierkegaardian Philosophy and the Faith of a Scholar (1949), also a collection of Swenson's addresses and essays. Lillian Swenson died in 1961.


Inventory of the David Ferdinand Swenson papers, 1912-1978


See also Lillian Swenson


“David Ferdinand Swenson,” Gallery, accessed May 23, 2024, https://gallery.lib.umn.edu/items/show/2172.