Etikettarkiv: Emilia

Visiting Uppsala and Discovering Professor Johan Way

In the foreground, Gustavianum, where Adolf Nordvall studied philosophy, and Carolina Rediviva, the university library in the background. Johan Way, 1833.
In the foreground, Gustavianum, where Adolf Nordvall studied philosophy. Carolina Rediviva, the university library, in the background. Painting by Johan Way, 1833.

A couple of weeks ago, Kerstin and I visited Uppsala University archives. We were trying to find more information about Augusta’s husband, Adolf Nordvall, and about student life in the early 1850s. Where did he live, where did he post his letters to Augusta, and who were his friends? It was a fruitful visit even though we still have lots of unanswered questions.

While Uppsala was on my mind, I remembered Lotten writing to Augusta about their friend Emelie Breitholtz who figured in a previous blog.

Lotten to Augusta, October 1845

.”….On Monday I was at Bohemans and had quite a nice time. Emelie was there as usual. She is now traveling to Uppsala to her mother’s sister, Mrs. Waij, to open a new hall to which they have moved. Royal Secretary Ekström asserted that Emelie was to perform at some concert there and sing …”

Who was Mrs. Waij? And what did Lotten imply by ”a new hall” (in Swedish: “…inviga en ny sal som de har flyttat till.”)?

It took some round-about research to find that the last name, Waij, should actually be Way.

Emelie’s aunt, Maria Theresia (or Marie Therese) Way was born Hästesko-Fortuna and married Johan Wilhelm Carl Way in 1827 (sometimes he also goes by the name John Way). She was a portrait painter, although, I haven’t found any paintings attributed to her.

Josefina, Queen of Sweden and Norway. Miniature painting by Johan Way.
Josefina, Queen of Sweden and Norway. Miniature painting by Johan Way.

Johan Way, on the other hand, was a famous and multitalented artist and professor, having retired from a military career at age 27. Before then, at age 21, he had participated in the Battle of Leipzig where the French army, under Napoleon Bonaparte, was defeated.

The couple had two daughters, Jenny Maria* born in 1829 and Josefina Theresia born in 1833 (married, Matthiesen). When Emelie visited the family Way in October of 1845, she was 19 years old and her two cousins were 16 and 12 years old.

Wouldn’t it have been interesting if any of these girls had kept a diary – maybe they did?

But back to Johan Way. His specialties were miniature portraits and glass painting. He also wrote textbooks on how to draw and he taught art classes. In the 1830s, he took the initiative to an art museum at Uppsala University. Today, the museum is located in Uppsala Castle.

Johan Way also made some interesting glass paintings for Uppsala Cathedral in 1840-1841. The winged angels were untraditional and had hairstyles of the times.

Angels painted on glass for Uppsala Cathedral. Johan Way,
Angels painted on glass for Uppsala Cathedral by Johan Way.
Unknown woman. Miniature painting by Johan Way.
Unknown woman. Miniature painting by Johan Way.

His miniature paintings of royalty and famous people were exquisitely executed and a few are in the Swedish National Gallery. Did he paint any of his wife or daughters, or of his niece, Augusta’s friend Emelie?

And, did Augusta’s husband, Adolf Nordvall, ever run into Professor Way in Uppsala?



*listed as one of the beneficiaries in Johan Way’s estate inventory (Swedish National Archives)

Who was Emilia Breitholtz?

I have continued to read the correspondence between Augusta and Lotten Westman from 1845. In the earliest letters, they decide to write each other monthly, but sometimes they write even twice a month. The letters give a glimpse of the concerns of 18-year-old girls who have just finished their education and now have to be content with home life, social life, and prospects of marriage. They would have loved social media; instead, they write letters to exchange gossip about friends, eligible lieutenants, and family members – in that order.

Stockholm, Thursday, 18 December 1845

My dear, good Augusta!

Heartfelt thanks for your last dear letter, you can hardly believe how happy I got and how much I have laughed…


Oh how fun it would be if you would come here this spring, but I would probably only catch a glimpse of you for all your other acquaintances. But if I were to abduct you, I would at least see you sometime. One can never meet Emilia Breitholtz at home because she is always at the Bohemans….


Augusta writes about the Boheman family in her diary. The head of the family was Professor Carl Henrik Boheman, in charge of the entomology collections at the Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. In 1845 the household consisted of Carl Henrik, his wife Amalia Åberg and her elderly mother, and their 4 children: Hildegard (b. 1826), Hildur (b. 1829), Carl Hjalmar (b. 1834), and Ernst Hindrik Georg (b. 1836).

Augusta, Lotten, Hildegard, and Hildur were all close friends – in addition to Emilia Breitholtz.

Who was Emilia?

Emilia’s full name was Emilia Bernhardina Breitholtz. She was born in Stockholm in 1826, so she was the same age as Hildegard Boheman. Her mother, Emilie Hästesko-Fortuna, was a widow and lived with her children on Holländargatan, close to the Hay Market. Today, the google map street-view of the location is a parking garage.

Emilia’s father

Emilia’s father was Claes Josef Breitholtz, an officer who participated in the Finish War of 1808-1809 and the Napoleonic wars. Maybe he knew Augusta’s father?

Emilia Breitholtz

Emilia’s brothers also became officers. But what about Emelia? The only thing I can find about her is that she did not marry, that she died in Waxholm in 1891, and that she is buried in the family grave in Solna. What did she do? Did she teach? Maybe she kept a diary; maybe she wrote letters? Maybe some family member still have them? Or are they somewhere in the large Breitholtz family archive at the Royal Library? At least there is a picture of her later in life.

The search goes on. There are more names to follow in Augusta and Lotten’s correspondence and more stories about forgotten lives.