About The Peter S. Craig Collection

Dr. Peter S. Craig

Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig, J.D., FASG, FGSP

The Swedish Colonial Society is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the study and presentation of New Sweden history, which began in Wilmington, Delaware in 1638.  It has a sizable modern Archive located at the Lutheran Seminary in the Germantown section of NW Philadelphia.  It is honored to have recently received a gift of hundred of thousands of valuable documents and books from the late Dr. Peter S. Craig, the foremost expert on New Sweden.  We have long range plans to make this Peter S. Craig Collection available to the public on line.  To that end, the entire Craig Collection of loose materials has been digitized.  Nearly 125,000 pages of paper have been scanned into .pdf format and run through optical character recognition to turn the scanned images into text that can be searched via computer.  In addition, redacting software has been used to remove all personal data such as names and addresses of living persons.  Furthermore, over 10,000 pages of Dr. Craig’s handwritten family group sheets have been transcribed in order to be computer searchable.

Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig (1928-2009) was The Swedish Colonial Society’s world-renowned historian and genealogist who specialized in 17th century Swedish and Finnish immigrants to the Delaware River Valley.  He researched the colonial experience of the settlers and their descendants into the late 18th century.  He wrote over 100 articles and books on these settlers.  As genealogist for the Society, he reviewed over 500 applications of members proving descent from a Swedish colonist who arrived in the thirteen colonies before the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783.  His work papers and correspondence form the bulk of the Craig Collection.

Dr. Craig first attracted attention among genealogists for his breakthrough article, “The Yokums of Aronameck,” published in 1983.  He was urged to expand his focus and look at all the New Sweden families.  His book, “The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware (1993), is the definitive work presenting family histories of 195 households then belonging to the Swedish Lutheran churches on the Delaware.  His subsequent book, “The 1671 Census of the Delaware (1999), identifies and discusses each of the residents on both sides of the Delaware River in the first English census of the Delaware.  A majority of the residents were still Swedes and Finns.  Dr. Craig’s eight-part series, “The Settlers of New Sweden, 1638-1664,” published by the Swedish American Genealogist (1996-1999), identified each of those colonists who today have many millions of living descendants.

Dr. Craig was born in 1928.  He obtained his B.A. from Oberlin College in 1950 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1953.  After practicing law in Washington for 36 years, including more than 25 years with Southern Railway and two years as Assistant General Counsel for Litigation for the U. S. Department of Transportation in the Johnson Administration (1967-69), he retired in 1989 to spend full time on history and genealogy.  A resident of Washington, DC, he joined the Swedish Colonial Society in 1981 and was its Historian & Genealogist from 1991 until his death.

Much in demand as a lecturer because of his expertise on the New Sweden colonists and their descendants, Dr. Craig spoke to historical and genealogical audiences in eight different states.  In recognition of his writings, Dr. Craig was named a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists and a Fellow of the Pennsylvania Genealogical Society.  In recognition of his contributions to a better understanding of America’s New Sweden heritage, Dr. Craig was awarded Knighthood in the Order of the Polar Star by King Carl XVI Gustav in 2002.  He was also a recipient of the Swedish Council of America’s Merit Award.

We have created the Craig Fund to assure that Dr. Craig’s unique collection of resource materials and genealogical information about New Sweden’s settlers and their descendants is properly archived and made accessible for scholars, descendants and other researchers.  We are grateful for grants we have received from the Swedish American Council, from the Order of First Families of Maryland’s Sappington Scholarship Committee, and from Society members. Won’t you please help! You may donate on our website colonialswedes.net or send your check made payable to The Swedish Colonial Society with Craig Fund noted on the memo line and mailed to:

The Swedish Colonial Society
c/o Gloria Dei Episcopal Church
916 South Swanson Street
Philadelphia, PA  19147

Your donations to The Swedish Colonial Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization are fully tax deductible as no goods or services will be received by you.  The official registration and financial information of The Swedish Colonial Society may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 800-732-0999.  Registration does not imply endorsement.

Click here to view and print for free a Dictionary of the abbreviations used by Peter Craig for many of the references in his family group sheets.