Kategoriarkiv: Letters and Diaries

Cecilia’s Album: Josefine Stenbock (Uggla) – A 7-year-old in Edgren’s boarding school

In 1840, at the age of 7, Josefine Stenbock was sent to Stockholm to live with Pastor Johan Fredrik Edgren and his wife Lovisa Dethmar and to attend their school. She lived with the Edgren family for four years (1840-1843).

Tack för hvar stund jag med dig delat,
Tack för hvar dag jag haft med dig
Om någon gång jag mot dig felat,
Glöm mina fel, men glöm ej mig.

(Thank you for every moment I shared with you,
Thank you for every day I had with you
If ever I have wronged you,
Forget my faults, but don’t forget me.)

(Similar versions of this poem can also be found in older texts.)

Josefine Stenbock

Josefine belonged to a very old, noble family in Sweden. Her full name was Baroness Josefina Albertina Charlotta Fredrika Lovisa Stenbock. She was born 7 May 1833 at Torsjö estate in Solberga parish in Skåne. Her father, Count Magnus Albert Carl Gustaf Arvid Stenbock, was a chamberlain at the royal court and had also been an adjutant to the crown prince. Her mother was Countess Jeannette Margareta Hamilton. Josefine had five brothers (three of which died young) and one sister.


In 1857, Josefine married Chamberlain, Count Jacob Fredric Theodor Uggla and settled at Sillsjö (Selesjö) manor (close to Rejmyre) in Skedevi parish in Östergötland.

The following year, their daughter, Margareta, was born. For some reason, she was born at Jacob Fredric’s childhood home, Stora Djulö in Stora Malm’s parish in Södermanland).

Then in 1859, Josefine gave birth to a son, Carl Otto Knut Theodor. The young family lived at Sillsjö for 5 years. In 1862, they moved to Näringsberg in Västerhaninge parish. Näringsberg was owned by Josefine’s parents.

Näringsberg (Source)

Two years later, in 1864, at the age of 34, Jacob Fredric made a trip to France.

In Paris, he visited a photographer (Alophe) at 35, Boulevard des Capucines to have his picture taken. Interestingly, it was at this address that another famous photographer, Felix Nadar, also had a studio. In 1874, Nadar lent his studio to the newly formed group of impressionists for their first exhibition.

Count Jacob Fredric Theodor Uggla (1829-1864) at 35 Boulevard des Capucines in Paris . Source

The ultimate destiny for the trip was Dax in south-west France. Dax was famous for its hot springs and was the first established spa in France. Many visited hot springs to cure diseases. Was that the reason for his trip? Did he have tuberculosis? Jacob Fredric died while at Dax, only 34 years old.

Josefine also visited a photo studio – but in Stockholm. Unfortunately, there are no dates on the photos.

Countess Josefine Albertina Charlotta Fredrika Lovisa Uggla (born Stenbock) (1833-1881) Source

Josefine was now a widow at the age of 31 and with two young children, 5 and 6 years old. She would have to move in with some family members. In 1865, the little family moved to Klafreda (Klafreström, Klavreström) in Nottebäck parish. Josefine’s brother, Albert Magnus Olof Abraham Stenbock owned half of Klavreström’s iron mill. Josefine and her two children would live with her brother’s family in the beautiful old manor until 1869 when she moved to Copenhagen.

Klavreström Manor (Source)

Josefine died in Copenhagen in 1881 at the age of 48.

Josefine’s daughter, Margareta Charlotta Johanna Fredrika did not marry and died in 1943.

Margareta Charlotta Johanna Fredrika Uggla (1858-1943) Source

Josefine’s son, Carl Otto Knut Theodor, emigrated to USA and changed his last name to Hamilton (after his maternal grandmother). He married, had 6 children, and died in 1933. According to genealogy sites, he became an artist (painter) and lived in Brooklyn, NY.

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Cecilia’s Album: Augusta Rütterskjöld – A French Poem

Augusta Rütterskjöld was 16 years old when she sat down to copy the following lines on a card for Cecilia Koch’s memory album.


L’amitié vient du ciel habiter ici bas
Elle embellit la vie et survit au trèpas

(Friendship comes from the heavens and dwells below
it embellishes life and survives death)

The poem is actually the last stanza of a longer poem, “Même Sujet” by Desmahis, a famous French poet who lived in the 1700s. It might have been included in a French poetry book that the girls studied in school.

Augusta Rütterskjöld

Augusta Rütterskjöld was one of Cecilia’s (and our Augusta Söderholm’s) friends. They had been in the same confirmation class and they had just celebrated their first communion (Jacob Parish, May 1844). They all, most likely, also attended Edgren’s school. Augusta was 16 years old and lived in a large house at Regeringsgatan 66. She had lived in the house since she was born. Augusta was the youngest of the Rütterskjöld children. Her older siblings were Lovisa 21, Adelaide 19, Jaquette 18, and Ewert 17.

Her family was well connected in Stockholm but her father had left them after mismanaging his wife’s inheritance. It was Augusta’s mother and her relatives who cared for the children. The family history is documented in an earlier blog entry about Augusta (Augusta Mariana Rütterskjöld and her Absent Father).

Jaquette Rütterskjöld

I was wondering if any of Augusta’s sisters might also have given Cecilia a memory card. Were there any cards that had been signed simply by a first name or initials that might match any of her sisters’ names? There was one. It was a memory card by a friend who had also copied a short French poem and who had signed it using her initials, J…e. It was probably signed by Augusta’s sister Jaquette.

Awhile ago, I also wrote a blog entry about Jaquette and her aunt, Netta Dimander: Who was Mrs. Dimander?

The Poem

The poem from which Augusta copied the last lines can be found in the following book, published in 1835: The French Reader’s Guide; or, Miscellaneous Selections in Prose and Verse from the Best French Authors of the two last Centuries, and from the Most Distinguished Writers of the Present Day.  It is available online.



Cecilia’s Album: Charlotte Lindström – A true friend?

One of Cecilia Koch’s friends gave her a card with a cryptic message. Charlotte Lindström had drawn a picture of a blue flower – a Forget-Me-Not – and included the text: pas une véritable amie (not a true friend). It doesn’t make sense to me. Or did she copy the phrase and mistook par for pas? The phrase, par une véritable amie (by a true friend), would make a lot more sense.

We will never know. But if you have any ideas, please let me know.

And we will never know for certain who Charlotte Lindström was. But I have a very good candidate. Lindström is a fairly common name in Sweden and Charlotte (Charlotta) was a very popular name in the mid-1800s. However, social class was also important at the time. Someone who gave Cecilia a card for her memory album would have belonged to the same class – the ones who paid for their daughters to attend private schools.

I scanned church records in Stockholm for candidates and found one that met my criteria. When I realized that she and her family lived in the house next to the family Edgren, whose school Augusta and Cecilia attended, I was pretty certain this was the right girl. And if I am mistaken, this blog will simply be one about an interesting family in Stockholm.

Gustafva Magdalena Sophia Charlotta Lindström

Charlotta Lindström was born in Uppsala on February 5, 1831. When Charlotta was a baby, they moved to Stockholm where her two younger sisters were born: Sophia Jacobina (June 7, 1832) and Hedvig Ottilia (August 5, 1833). Sophia later changed her middle name, Jacobina, to Jacquette. Their father, Jacob Niklas Lindström was a young professor of medicine and physician at the royal court (Swedish: kunglig livmedicus). Their mother was a countess, Magdalena Eleonora Charlotte Wrangel.

It was a young successful family. The godparents listed at the girls’ baptisms all belonged to the aristocracy, which bode well for the girls’ futures.

The Cholera Epidemic of 1834

But being a medical doctor in the 1800s had its risks. And when the cholera epidemic hit Stockholm in 1834, nobody knew what caused cholera and doctors had limited means of treating patients.

On August 25, 1834, Stockholm officially declared a cholera outbreak. It would last until October 12. During these 49 days, the official number of cholera cases was 7,895 and 3,277 died. Charlotta’s father was one of those who succumbed to the disease. He died on September 29, 1834, at the age of 33.

The parents of two other friends of Augusta and Cecilia also died from cholera that fall, Therese Gustafva Aspegrén and Hilda Theophila Lagerheim 


The girls grew up not having known their father. They moved several times within Stockholm and in 1844, they were neighbors with the Edgren family, in a block named Svalan. It is possible that they also attended Edgren’s school. And if they didn’t, they certainly knew the girls who were boarding with the Edgren family, like Augusta.

For a well-connected family, life still went on with balls and visits. Anna-Lisa Geijer, the wife of Erik Gustaf Geijer (professor and chancellor of Uppsala University), mentions Charlotta’s mother in a letter to Malla Silfverstolpe (writer and literary salon hostess). In a letter dated February 1, 1847, she complained about a boring ball she had attended. She was, however, delighted to have run into Charlotte Wrangel (Charlotta’s mother) who, “as always, was well and tastefully dressed”. On her head, Charlotte wore a creation of “black lace and purple flowers that suited her a lot.”

Then tragedy struck again. Charlotta’s mother died from cancer in 1856, at the age of 53. The three girls, who were now 25, 23, and 22 years old, were put under guardianship by the court. The two male guardians were unrelated to the girls: Royal Cabinet Chamberlain Johan Gabriel Eketrä (b. 1808) and Chamberlain Carl Gustaf Leijonhielm (b.1820). They would manage the girls’ finances and their inheritance.

Later years

Of course, the girls could not live by themselves. Someone would have to take them in. Alternatively, a well-educated girl from a respectable family could always take a position as a governess in a family or become a lady’s companion.

According to church records in 1856, the 3 girls moved in with an elderly widower and nobleman, Major Carl Jonas Lagerberg, on his estate Hamrum in Korsberga parish far from Stockholm. How did they know him? Sadly, their time there was short. Major Lagerberg died the following spring and the girls had to move again.

I follow the girls’ moves in and out of parishes across Sweden. In 1857, Sophia moves in with the family Hamilton at Boo castle close to Örebro. And Hedvig moves to Karlskrona. Charlotta seems to end up in Linköping.

Only Hedvig marries – a navy officer (later, Admiral) named Jacob Lagercrantz. They move back to Stockholm and raise 5 children. Charlotta lives with them at the turn of the century. I wish I knew how her life turned out. She died from a stroke on June 26, 1812, in Linköping.

And by the way, Charlotta and my great-grandmother, Anna Hermanna Lindström (b. 1849) were cousins. Their fathers were half-brothers.

Rosalie Roos’ Bathing Costume

Sara and Kerstin enjoying saltwater bathing at Gustafsberg (photo: Nathalie Kereki Bohlin)

A couple of years ago, Kerstin and I made 1840s bathing costumes. At that time, I remembered a description of bathing costumes in an autobiography by a Swedish young woman. She had visited Charleston, South Carolina in 1854 and described them in a letter to her brother.

The other day, I found the book again: Travels in America 1851-1855 by Rosalie Roos (translated and edited by Carl L. Anderson).

Rosalie Roos was born in 1823, so she was 4 years older than Augusta. In 1851, she left Sweden for a teaching position at Limestone Springs Female High School, a boarding school in South Carolina.* She stayed at the school until the beginning of 1853 when she became the governess to two of her students on the Peronneau family plantation, Dungannon.

In the summer of 1854, the family vacationed in Charleston which she described in a letter to her brother Axel:

I have another nice day to tell you about which was spent on Sullivan’s Island, just about the only summer resort which the city people have nearby. At 5 o’clock, good Mrs. Peronneau came to awaken me, and at 7 we were aboard the little steamboat which was to take us to the island.

The Company included Mrs. de Saussure with a couple of children, Clelia, Mary, and I. At the dock on Sullivan’s Island, we were met by old Mr. de Saussure, a little, portly, and prosperous-looking, exceedingly pleasant, and genial old fellow, in whose carriage we went to his residence and were welcomed there by his wife and two daughters. After breakfast, we sat on the piazza and I delighted in seeing and hearing the saltwater waves break against the fine sand of the shore just a few steps away from the house. Later we were invited to go out on ’the beach,’ which at flood tide lies under water. Traveling across the white, fine-grained sand bar was especially pleasant, and we got down from the carriage to gather shells and seaweed which the waves had thrown up on the shore. Back at the house, we were invited to go bathing, which we accepted with pleasure.

”One of the daughters let me borrow a bathing dress consisting of wide unmentionables and a jacket of red flannel, and a kind of coat of the same material to throw over my shoulders when descending into the water. Clelia and Mary received old bathing costumes of lesser elegance, and I assure you it was a droll sight to see us wandering off in this strange attire with old sunbonnets on our heads. In these bathing costumes, the women can quite freely enjoy bathing in the sea without being concerned about onlookers; they are excellent for this purpose, although I should not feel myself inclined to be dressed in this manner or to go bathing with gentlemen, although this is said to be quite usual.”

It was glorious out in the water; it was thoroughly warm so that I did not feel one shiver when the first wave washed over me, and it was with difficulty that we could bring ourselves to leave the salty element after we had been in almost one hour. Later it tasted marvelous to eat watermelons, apples, pineapples, bananas, fresh figs, raisins, and almonds, along with lemonade – doesn’t it make your mouth water?

Some American illustrations of bathing costumes in the 1800s:

Bathing Costume in 1858

Bathing Costumes in 1869

Bathing Dresses in 1868
Bathing at Long Branch, – ”Oh, Ain’t it Cold!” Drawing by Winslow Homer. 1871
Saltwater bathing

*“Originally named the Limestone Springs Female High School, the new institution attracted the daughters of the most influential families of South Carolina, who sought the finest liberal arts education available at that time. On November 6, 1845, a total of 67 young women began their classes at Limestone.” (https://www.limestone.edu/history-of-limestone)

Source: Roos, Rosalie. Travels in America 1851-1855 (Based on Resa till Amerika 1851-1855, Ed. Sigrid Laurell), transl. and ed. Carl L. Andersson. 1982. Southern Illinois Univ. Press.

Featured Image. Saltwater Bathing. 1857. Illustration by Augustus Hoppin (1828-1896).

Cecilia’s Album: Amelie Ahlberg (Tottie) Makes a Drawing of Haddon Hall


Haddon Hall. Drawing by Amelie Ahlberg (Tottie), 1844.


Amelie Ahlberg made a drawing for Cecilia. I have now learned that these pencil drawings were not original creations but copies of prints. Drawing was a subject in Edgren’s school and copying prints might have been part of the curriculum.

I uploaded Amelie’s painting in Google Lens and it was an instant hit. The original print of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, England, was drawn and engraved by Jandes Baylin Allen (1803-1876). The print was published in The Ladies’ Cabinet of Fashion, Music and Romance, Volume V, 1841.

Haddon Hall. Jandes Baylin Allen (1803-1876). Appeared in The Ladies’ Cabinet of Fashion, Music and Romance, Volume V, 1841.

Amelie’s drawing is a fantastic copy of the original. One has to really scrutinize the drawing and the print to find differences (such as Amelie forgetting to draw the birds in the sky). Amelie must have been interested in art at an early age and maybe encouraged to draw. She has a Wikipedia page where she is described as a Swedish drawing artist.

Amelie Ahlberg’s Family

Amalia Lovisa Augusta (Amelie) Ahlberg was born on June 29, 1830. Her father was Johan Daniel Ahlberg, a physician at the royal court (Swedish: kunglig livmedicus) and also the chief medical officer (förste stadsläkare) in Stockholm. Amelie’s mother was Louise Henriette Moll. They had 6 children:

  1. Charlotta Henrietta Bothilda (b. 1828)
  2. Amalia Lovisa Augusta (b. 1830)
  3. Johan Georg Theodor (b. 1832)
  4. Emma Eugenia Matilda (b. 1833)
  5. Adelaide Theresia Paulina (b. 1837)
  6. Henriette Elisabet Pauline Christina (b.1851 – long after her older siblings)
Louise Henriette Ahlberg (in 1838) with her three oldest daughters (in 1852): Charlotte (Lotten), Amelie, and Eugenie. Drawings by Maria Röhl.

In 1845, the family lived at Stora Vattugränd 13 (they were the owners of the house), right across the street from Edgren’s school. One can therefore speculate that at least the 2 oldest girls, Charlotta and Amelie, attended Edgren’s school with Cecilia.  And if they did, did Amelie’s sister Charlotta also provide a greeting for Cecilia?

There is a drawing, similar to Amelie’s, that is signed: Charlotte. It might likely be drawn by Charlotte Ahlberg (so she will get her own blog post).

In 1854, Amelie married Henry Rumsey Tottie, a wholesale merchant who was born in London. His father was also a merchant besides being the Swedish Consul General in London. Amelie and Henry settled in Stockholm and raised 5 sons.

The fact that Amelie has a Wikipedia page and is a documented artist means that she continued to draw throughout her life. The drawing she made for Cecilia when she was 14 years old is, therefore, a real treasure. I wonder if any other drawings by her have survived.