Etikettarkiv: Marie Louise Forsell

12. Augusta Mariana Rütterskjöld and her Absent Father

My last two blog entries told the story about Hedda Heijkenskjöld and Marie-Louise af Forsell, who wrote about a party that the two of them attended. It was described in Marie-Louise’s diary of 16 September 1847:

”During our absence, the family of Colonel Prytz from Malmö had come to visit. Nycander now wanted us to return the visit and I promised, therefore, to put on the gray silk dress on condition that we would then visit Dimanders in the afternoon. It turned out that the Prytzes had already left for Finland – but on our way there, Nycander recognized Tante Netta’s carriage in Jakobsgränd street with Adelaide Rütterskjöld in it. He mentioned to them that we intended to pay them a visit – and when we returned home, Tante Netta had already sent word that they would be home this afternoon.

Thus, at 6 pm, we took the same route as yesterday to Djurgården. To my delight, there were unusually few people at Dimanders, only Nymans, Mrs. Wijkander, ….

The gentlemen played, to which Mrs. Dimander first requested our permission, and Mrs. L. (one of the decent Mamselles Strömberg), together with the girls Rütterskjöld and I, spent the whole evening in the parlor, conversing. It can easily be understood that I had fun, as my stocking was allowed to rest undisturbed in Hedda’s admirable valérie.”

One of the girls Rütterskjöld was Augusta.

Augusta Mariana Rütterskjöld

Augusta Mariana Rütterskjöld was ranked as 12 of the 92 girls who were confirmed in St Jacob’s parish in Stockholm in the spring of 1844. Her high ranking was of course due to her father’s wealth and title. He and his siblings had inherited the ironworks at Aspa and Olshammar on the northwestern shores of Lake Vättern. He thus had the title of Patron of Ironworks (Swedish: brukspatron), a respectable title that signaled wealth.

But the truth is that by 1844, he was likely not the reason for Augusta’s high rank. Pastor Petterson would have been aware of Augusta’s father’s problems at this time. It is more likely that her high rank was based on the status of her uncle, Anders Dimander.

This is Augusta’s story. But it is also a story about her mother and grandmother.

The Spring of 1844

Augusta was not surprised that her father was not attending her confirmation. And she was used to explaining her father’s absence.

“He can’t leave his ironworks, of course.”

Actually, all she had to say, as a way of explanation, was that her father was an owner of some ironworks. Everyone would understand that he had great responsibilities far from Stockholm and couldn’t come home. Augusta even believed that. And she didn’t miss him; she didn’t even know him.

Augusta’s mother, Sophia, devoted all her time to running the large household in Stockholm. They lived in a grand house on Regeringsgatan 66 which Sophia and her sister, Anna (Netta) Dimander, had inherited from their parents. Netta Dimander was a wonderful and socially prominent woman. Everyone in the upper social circles of Stockholm knew her, and the parties she hosted were splendid. Her husband, Anders Dimander, was equally well-liked and respected. He was Stockholm’s “stadsmajor” a high position within the city’s military defense. Having lost their only child, Augusta’s uncle had become a surrogate father to her. The Dimanders also lived in a large house that they owned, at Regeringsgatan 71. They were almost neighbors.

Augusta’s Family

Augusta’s parents were Ulrica Sophia Nyman and Gustaf Rütterskjöld. They had married in Klara parish on 2 December 1822. Their first daughter, Lovisa, was born the following year. Two more daughters, Adelaide and Jaquette, were born before they moved to a house on Stora Nygatan 20 in the Old Town. It was the house where the famous poet Bellman had once lived. Sophia had inherited the house when her father died, but as a married woman, she had no rights to her own wealth, so her husband, Gustaf, was the one who became the legal owner of the house. Sophia now gave birth to their first and only son, Ewert. The following year, she took the 4 children, the oldest being 4 years old, and moved home to her mother in the big house at Regeringsgatan 66. Gustaf stayed behind with a live-in maid. And then, the following year, Sophia gave birth to Augusta.

Mother with 4 daughters (part of drawing by Queen Victoria)

As there are several generations referred to in this story, I thought a summary of the family members would be helpful:

Augusta’s maternal grandparents:
Israel Gustaf Nyman (1757 – 1824) and Helena Sofia Nohrström (1769 – 1829). They had two daughters:

  1. Augusta’s aunt: Anna Helena (Netta) (1790 – 1876) married Anders Dimander (1778 – 1857)
  2. Augusta’s mother: Ulrica Sophia (1792 – 1852), married Gustaf Rütterskjöld (1796 – 1875).
    They had 5 children:
    • Sophia Lovisa (1823 – 1891), single
    • Charlotta Adelaide(1825 – 1886), married Berndt Nycander
    • JaquetteWilhelmina (1826 – 1909) married Theodor Wijkander
    • Ewert Johan Israel (1827 – 1899), single
    • Augusta Mariana (1828 – 1898), single

(I have written about Adelaide and Jaquette previously in a blog entry about Mrs. Dimander.)

Augusta’s Parents, Sophia and Gustaf: Separated or Divorced?

I have spent several evenings looking through census and church records, trying to figure out the family situation. Where was Augusta’s father?

It was obvious that Gustaf had left the family. In 1833, Sophia changes her name in the church records from Mrs. Rütterskjöld to Mrs. Nyman, her maiden name. In the 1835 census records for Sophia and her 5 children, it is her brother-in-law, Anders Dimander, who has signed the form and added a note that the husband’s whereabouts are unknown. And in 1844, Sophia changes her title to widow – maybe a socially acceptable way of explaining her husband’s absence.

I then search for Gustaf Rütterskjöld in the church records of the parish where his ironworks are located, Hammar parish. It shows that he and his brother Rutger moved to Olshammar in 1836 to join their older brother Carl. He now resides in Olshammar and only makes visits to Stockholm.

The next step is to look at the property deeds for their home at Regeringsgatan 66. It had first belonged to Sophia’s father, Israel Gustaf Nyman, a fabric merchant (Swedish: klädeskramhandlare). I look up his estate inventory in 1824 following his death. His wife would inherit half of his estate and the two daughters would each get a fourth of the total value of the estate which would be around $4 million today. Sophia gets her share in terms of property – a house at Stora Nygatan 20 in Old Town. That explains why Sophia and Gustaf moved there around 1827. But as married women did not have the legal right to their own wealth before 1874, it was her husband Gustaf who became the legal owner of the house – something that would turn out to be disastrous.

Sketch for Reading of the Will, by Sir David Wilkie c. 1820

Augusta’s grandmother, Helena, dies five years after her husband, in 1829. Now the estate will be divided between the two sisters, Netta and Sophia. This will be interesting.  The property deed shows that the ownership of the house at Regeringsgatan 66 will be split equally between Sophia and Netta’s husband, Anders Dimander. According to the law, it should have been split between the two husbands as a wife wasn’t legally independent. So what does it mean that Sophia and not her husband Gustaf became the owner of half of the house?

With anticipation, I look up the estate inventory following Helena’s death. It is a balance sheet of credits and debits. The total worth is only $476,00 in today’s value. But on the pages following the balance sheet are Helena’s last will and testament. Reading it is eye-opening and highlights the plight of women in a time when they had no financial rights and their husbands were their guardians.

Helena Sofia Nyman’s Last Will and Testament

”After my death, my estate shall … be equally divided between my dear daughters Anna Helena and Sofia Ulrica who are both equally dear to me.

The part of the inheritance that will be bequeathed to my eldest daughter, Anna Helena, will be given to and be at the disposal of her and her husband, the tobacco manufacturer and City Major at Stockholm’s Citizens’ Infantry Corps, Mr. Anders Dimander, who for his orderliness in the conduct of his affairs and his propitious lifestyle has my full confidence and my utmost esteem.

A completely different arrangement should be made with the inheritance that will be bequeathed to my younger daughter Sophia Ulrica, married to the ironworks owner, Mr. Gustaf Rütterskjöld.

This brother-in-law of mine, ironworks owner, Mr. Rütterskjöld, has revealed the most certain and imperceptible signs of his inability to take care of himself and his wife’s estate, to which he is also unjustified even if he is placed under guardianship.”

Helena then documents her son-in-law’s mismanagement of Sophia’s inheritance from her father. He had borrowed on “his” house in Old Town and defaulted on his loans. There wasn’t much left of Sophia’s inheritance from her father. This in turn had led to legal action and Gustaf had himself been put under guardianship by the court. That meant, he was not allowed to do business or manage his own money anymore. Helena wrote this will in 1827, about the time when her daughter left her husband. The will (in Swedish) can be found at the following link. It is fascinating.

A few lines from Helena Sofia Nohrström’s Last Will and Testament

So when Helena died, the ownership of Regeringsgatan 66 was passed to Anders Dimander and Sophia Nyman, each owning 50%.

Life goes on

Now we are back to where we started, in 1844. Life is good. The four sisters, Lovisa (21), Adelaide (19), Jaquette (18), and Augusta (16) attend balls, parties, and outings – many hosted by their aunt, Netta. In the winter there are sleigh rides.

”It is good that I have had so much fun earlier this winter because now, it is the end of it. The last amusement I had was a sleigh ride to Haga that Mrs. Dimander organized; very charming. It was awfully fun. I rode with Carl Hedin, … , Emma Hedin was also with us and we drove home in the most splendid moonlight – it beautifully lit up the white snow. Too bad we rode in a covered sleigh. The road conditions were perfect for the sleighs and it was not cold. Imagine how many layers of clothing I was wearing: at least 15 shawls, cardigan, and anything one could think of….” (Letter from Lotten Westman to Augusta Söderholm, March 1846)

In 1848, Jaquette marries Theodor Wijkander. Anders Dimander signs the marriage banns instead of her father.

Then in 1852, Augusta’s mother, Sophia, dies of tuberculosis at the age of 59. There is a note in the church records that she is divorced. Her obituary doesn’t mention her husband – only her children and grandchildren.

Three years later, in 1855, Adelaide marries Marie-Louise af Forsell’s widower, Bernt Nycander.

In 1857, Anders Dimander dies and the ownership of Regeringsgatan 66 changes again. Now the husbands of Jaquette and Adelaide become part-owners of the house.

Augusta’s father, Gustaf, dies in Stockholm in 1875. There is no obituary, just a note in the paper.

And Ewert becomes a farmer.

The sisters live long lives, travel to spas at Marstrand and Strömstad in the summers (yes, that is noted in the daily newspapers), and do as well as their grandmother had hoped for when she wrote her will in 1827. She would also have been delighted to know that all her granddaughters would in their lifetime see major changes towards women’s independence from men and legal guardians. In 1863, the laws changed so that single women became independent and allowed to manage their own finances at the age of 25. In 1874, married women were granted the right to manage their own money. In 1884, single women became legally independent at the age of 21, and in 1921 that also included married women.

Today, all women are legally independent at the age of 18.

Erik W. af Edholm’s Diaries

The elusive diaries at Stockholm City Archives

He had found them!

He had actually found Erik W. af Edholm’s original diaries from 1843-1848!

Half an hour earlier, the archivist at Stockholm City Archives had told me that the family Edholm’s archive took up several yards of shelf-space and with the diaries not specifically cataloged, I could look forward to spending weeks looking through boxes of random family memorabilia. The diaries would probably be in one of those boxes.

“Can you please check if there is anything on those shelves that would indicate that the materials should have been sealed until the year 2000,” I ask the helpful guy who is carting up boxes from the vaults below.

Maybe the diaries were boxed separately since they were not to be read until the year 2000?

”Maybe there is something written on a box that would indicate that? I could come with you and help you look,” I suggest with a smile.

“Nope, sorry, you can’t. But I’ll see what I can find,” he promises me.

And now, half an hour later, he has found them! Two boxes, tied with strong brown string, containing the diaries I had been looking for.

The box containing Erik’s diaries

Did Augusta really socialize with Erik af Edholm? Who else did?

I probably need to explain my quest for these elusive diaries.

It all goes back to Augusta’s admirers; that is, admirers according to her best friend Lotten Westman.

“I saw all your admirers at Gunther’s concert last Tuesday – Bergenstråhle, Löwegren, Edholm, etc, etc., as I believe there is a multitude of them.”
(Lotten to Augusta, Stockholm, October 1845)

Earlier this year, I blogged about these four young lieutenants: Knut Bergenstråhle, Ludvig Löwegren, Erik W. af Edholm, and Gillis Bildt.

But how would I know if Augusta really socialized with them? Could that be corroborated by other sources? Would they figure in other published diaries from the same time period?

The answer is yes, at least with regards to Erik af Edholm. Maybe because he seemed to have been very social and well-liked.

My first source is Marie-Louise Forsell, a contemporary, well-connected, young woman who kept diaries which were published posthumously. She writes about Erik who she met at Holmqvist’s ball:

 “Lieutenant Edholm really liked our dark-grey silk gowns and he was the only new one with whom we danced.” (27 March 1843)

Additionally, two sisters, Lotten and Edla Ulrich, whose diaries were recently published by Margareta Östman, also write about Erik. But their description of him is that of a friend or a brother as the two families were close friends. Eric af Edholm’s father was King Carl XIV Johan’s private doctor. The father of Lotten and Edla was the King’s private secretary. Both families lived in the royal palace and the Ulrich and af Edholm children grew up together.

Erik also kept a diary

But then I found out that Erik also kept a diary! He wrote almost daily between the age of 23 (1840) and until his death in 1897.

After a happy dinner at Djurgården 13 August 1844. Erik af Edholm is the fellow falling off the carriage. Drawing by F. Dardel.

In 1944, Erik’s son published selected parts of the diaries from the time period 1840-1859 in a book called “Svunna Dagar” (Days Gone By). The book is fascinating. Every year, from January through March, there were balls. Some weeks, Erik was invited to private balls every day. With a sense of humor and sometimes self-sarcasm, he describes his social life. But he also describes, always in positive ways, his dance partners. One particular favorite was Mathilda Horn, whose father was the governor of the province of Stockholm (Landshövding):

“Miss Mathilda was charming in a white dress with a collar of lace tied around her delicate neck with an enviable blue ribbon. The hair framed her beautiful forehead with long, brown curls and her eyes shone with tenderness and goodness.” (17 January 1843)

Now, if Erik knew Augusta and they went to the same balls, would he have written anything about her? That was what I wanted to know.

Diaries from 1845 and 1846

With white cotton gloves, I open the box of diaries from 1843-1848. Inside the box are small bound notebooks. I open the diary for 1845. That is when Augusta was 18. She later described how happy she was that year, dancing to Strauss waltzes and forgetting everything else around her.

Did she dance with Erik in 1845?

The diary is written in cursive with an ink pen. The font size, if it had existed, would be a 6. That is pretty hard to read! The best strategy is to take pictures with my iPhone and then look at the images on my computer screen when I get home.

In addition, the diary is written in French!

A typical page in the diary.

It will take some time to go through all the images of Erik’s diaries. And some brushing up of my French.  At least, the penmanship is good.

But I check one thing. Did Erik attend Gunther’s concert that Lotten wrote about in her letter?

He did!

“…Puis je vais au concert Gunther dans l’église Ladugårdsgärde…” (14 October 1845)

And to corroborate that, I read the Stockholm newspaper that reported on the concert. It was a farewell concert by the famous Swedish tenor, Julius Günther, who often sang together with Jenny Lind. Julius Günther was to move to Paris. The concert drew a crowd of over 1000 and was very well received.


Heijkenskjöld, Syster, ed. 1915. Sällskapslif och hemlif i Stockholm på 1840-talet: ur Marie-Louise Forsells dagboksanteckningar. Stockholm: Bonnier.   (Translation of title: Social Life and Home Life in Stockholm in the 1840s: From Marie-Louise Forsell’s Diary Notes).

Östman, Margareta. 2015. Systrarna Ulrichs dagböcker – från Stockholms slott, Djurgården och landsorten 1830-1855. Stockholm: Carlssons.   (Translation of title: The Ulrich Sisters’ Diaries – from Stockholm’s Palace, Djurgården, and the Countryside 1830-1855).

Erik af Edholm. 1944. Svunna dagar – ur Förste Hovmarskalken Erik af Edholms dagböcker: Tidsbilder från 1800-talet utgivna av hans son. Stockholm: P. A. Nordstedt Söners Förlag. (Translation of title: Days gone by –  from the First Marshal at the Court, Erik af Edholm’s Diaries: Vignettes from the 1800s published by his son.)

Who was Mrs. Dimander?

Lotten’s letter to Augusta, Stockholm, 16 March 1846

”My own Augusta!

Although you’ve had me wait for a letter for such an unbelievably long time, I have still written to you right away because there is nothing as pleasurable as getting a letter from one’s friends. I do not know what kind of fun those people have who do not correspond with anyone. It is at least my greatest pleasure, although sometimes it is also my greatest dread – for example, writing New Year’s letters and thank-you notes. But writing to a friend is of course always my dearest avocation.

Thank you for the greetings from Lieutenant Brandt, it is always nice to hear about people who remember us. I also remember him very well. I think I have heard that he got married. Maybe it is someone else with the same name?

Let’s see if what I am about to tell you is news to you: that Jaquette Rütterskjöld is engaged to Lieutenant Theodor Wijkander. You may already have heard that,  because rumors travel far. I have not known it until last Sunday. Do you remember at school, Jaquette was always so afraid that she would remain unmarried, but she nevertheless believed it and always said that ”La paicible fille” would be her comfort in old age. They will marry next spring and then move to Wermland, something Mrs. Dimander will work against with both hands and feet. But it will most likely happen anyway.”

Who was Mrs. Dimander?

Wasn’t it Mrs. Dimander who also arranged a sleigh ride that Lotten wrote about in her previous letter? Who was she? I assume she would have been of mature age (30-50?), wealthy, independent, social, and not having kids of her own to take care of.

Googling Mrs. Dimander (Swedish: Fru Dimander) results in two different persons.

  1. Anna Maria Dimander, the wife of the archbishop Johan Olof Wallin who had started a famous girls’ school in Stockholm – Wallinska Skolan. Anna Maria Dimander came from a wealthy tobacco-manufacturing family. Would the wife of an archbishop arrange fancy sleigh rides? And would she oppose Jaquette leaving Stockholm – unless she was a teacher and liked her students?
  2. Maria Dimander, born Nordström, was married into the same tobacco-manufacturing family. She became famous for her comical use of French. She died in 1822, so this could not be Lotten’s Mrs. Dimander.

Contemporary Diaries

As part of understanding social life in Stockholm during the mid-1800s, I am concurrently reading three diaries (listed in references below). Would Mrs. Dimander be mentioned in any of them?


There is a Mrs. Dimander in Marie-Louise Forsell’s diary. Marie-Louise (1823-1852) kept diaries between 1842 and 1852 which were published in the early 1900s. The family was well-connected in Stockholm. So what did she write about a Mrs. Dimander?

The first entry, on 28 March 1843, describes a gathering that the Forsell family is planning in their home. It is going to be a huge, exquisite, superfluous, and costly party and they are going to invite 80 people. There is going to be dancing and they have hired Mr. W for the evening (that must have been important, whoever he was 🙂 ). Unfortunately, they decide that the invitations should not go out until 4 days before the party. At that time, they find out that Mrs. Dimander has already invited most of the same people to her party, planned for the same day – a party for 100 people! Marie-Louise writes: “I, who never envied those who visited the funny old lady Tant Netta’s balls – who would ever believe that she would now, thereby, get us into this predicament.

So Mrs. Dimander’s nickname was Tant Netta.

But it gets more interesting. On 10 September 1847 (one year after Lotten’s letter about Mrs. Dimander), Marie-Louise and some of her family members are out to pay a visit to some friend in Stockholm. On their way, they recognize Tant Netta’s carriage and riding in it is also Adelaide Rütterskjöld.

Would that be a relative of Jaquette Rütterskjöld who Lotten wrote about?

Now Marie-Louise and her family get invited to visit the Dimanders at Djurgården the same evening. It turns out to be a small dinner party consisting of the families Nyman, Wijkander (would that be Jaquette’s fiance?), Eld, Göthe, Wirrman, Liljewalchs, Strömberg, and Rütterskjöld, in addition to the famous portrait artist, Maria Röhl. The men play cards and the women converse. Mrs. Dimander surprises them with a dinner consisting of crayfish omelet, milk, calf brisket, apples, and pastries. Marie-Louise is very happy with the evening and with Tant Netta; she only regrets that she forgot to say goodbye to the nice old Mr. Dimander.

Mrs. Dimander is Anna Helena Dimander, born Nyman

Googling combinations of names at the party reveal the identity of Mrs. Dimander. And the census records of Stockholm confirms the family relationships.

Petter Dimander Frisson (1746-1789) was a tobacco manufacturer and Member of Parliament. His wife was Mrs. Maria Dimander (born Nordström) – the Mrs. Dimander who was famous for her comical French. They had 5 children:

  1. Anders (1778-1857) was married to Anna Helena Nyman (1790-1876). This turned out to be Mrs. Dimander in Lotten’s letters and Tant Netta in Marie-Louise Forsell’s diary. The couple had no children but were very wealthy. They owned a large house on Regeringsgatan 71 where they lived. They also had affluent renters.
  2. Carl
  3. Anna Maria (1781-1866). This was the Mrs. Dimander who was married to Archbishop Johan Olof Wallin. They had no children.
  4. Elisabet Christina
  5. Hedvig Magdalena
Jaquette Rütterskjöld, married Wijkander
Jaquette Rütterskjöld, married Wijkander

So what about Augusta’s and Lotten’s school friend, Jaquette Rütterskjöld? The girl who got engaged and would leave Stockholm when she got married. It turns out that Mrs. Dimander was Jaquette’s maternal aunt. That is why Mrs. Dimander didn’t want her to leave Stockholm!

Mrs. Dimander had a sister, Ulrica Sophia Nyman, who married a Rütterskjöld. According to census records, she and her 5 children were taken care of by the Dimanders – living in a house owned by Mr. Dimander. Their children were:

  1. Sophia Lovisa (1823-1891)
  2. Charlotta Adelaide (1825-1886). When Marie-Louise Forsell died in childbirth in 1852, Adelaide married Marie-Louise Forsell’s husband, Berndt Nycander.
  3. John Evert Israel (1827-1899)
  4. Augusta Mariana (1828-1898)
  5. Jacquette Wilhelmina (1826-1909) married Theodor Wijkander (1821-1885). And despite Mrs. Dimander’s probable objections, the couple did move to Wermland after their wedding.

I am sure I will run into Mrs. Dimander in more letters from Lotten to Augusta. One question remains though, which school did Jacquette attend – Mrs. Edgren’s or Mademoiselle Frigell’s school?

Berndt Nycander with his two wives - Marie-Louise af Forsell and Adelaide Rütterskjöld
Berndt Nycander with his two wives – Marie-Louise af Forsell and Adelaide Rütterskjöld


Östman, Margareta. 2015. Systrarna Ulrichs dagböcker – från Stockholms slott, Djurgården och landsorten 1830-1855. Stockholm: Carlssons.   (Translation of title: The Ulrich Sisters’ Diaries – from Stockholm’s Palace, Djurgården, and the Countryside 1830-1855).

Liljewall, Britt. 2017. Vackra Dagboken – Carl Henric Robsahms anteckningar från 1830-talet. Stockholm, Sweden: Stockholmia.   (Translation of title: The Beautiful Diary – Carl Henric Robsahm’s Notes from the 1830s).

Heijkenskjöld, Syster, ed. 1915. Sällskapslif och hemlif i Stockholm på 1840-talet: ur Marie-Louise Forsells dagboksanteckningar. Stockholm: Bonnier.   (Translation of title: Social Life and Home Life in Stockholm in the 1840s: From Marie-Louise Forsell’s Diary Notes).

Schools for Girls in Stockholm

Augusta’s grade book from the fall of 1842. Grades were given every day and for the following categories/subjects:
Conduct, Neatness, French (spoken), Music, Arithmetic, Swedish, Penmanship, Needlework, Drawing, Geography, History, English, Mythology, German, French, and Christianity

Augusta was enrolled in a private girls school in Stockholm from October 1841 untIn 1842, there were two well-known private schools for girls in Stockholm – Wallin’s School (Wallinska Skolan) and Bjurström’s Pension (Bjurströmska Pensionen).  Was either one of those the school Augusta attended? And how did a wealthy rural girl end up in a private school for girls in Stockholm? The only record we have is her grade book from October 1841 to December 1842. So she started school in Stockholm when she was 14 years old.

Diaries of contemporary girls

The quest to find out more about her friends in Stockholm and the possible schools she could have attended seemed to lead nowhere. So how about looking for diaries of contemporary girls who had attended one of these private schools and were, or became, famous enough to have their diaries published? Maybe that would provide names of friends and teachers, and possibly some connection with Augusta.

I found two girls who met these criteria: Marie-Louise Forsell and Ebba Ramsay.

Marie-Lousie Forsell, born 1823

Marie-Louise Forsell. Drawing by Maria Röhl. 1850.

Marie-Lousie Forsell was 4 years older than Augusta. Her diary from November 1842 to December 1848 was published under the title “Social life and home life in Stockholm during the 1840s” (Sällskapslif och hemlif i Stockholm på 1840-talet). The book is very interesting and is true to the title – details of social life and home life but nothing about school life. In 1842, at the age of 19, she had most likely received all the education necessary for a girl, and for a life as a wife and mother.

Ebba Ramsay (b. Karström), born 1828

Ebba Ramsay was a year younger than Augusta. She published her diary in a book named “About bygone days: From an old diary” (Om flydda tider: Ur en gammal dagbok), and she does describe her schools and friends. Her grandmother was an old friend of Olof Wallin, the bishop who encouraged the establishment of a school for girls. He thought that a school for girls should have a higher aim than teaching girls to speak French and play the piano. The school opened in 1831 and was named Wallin’s School (Wallinska Skolan). Based on some wording about the aim of the school, it seems like it was a 4-year program.

Ebba describes her education in her book:

Ebba Karström (married Ramsay)

”At the age of 10, I was sent to school. The teacher, Miss Limnell, was at the time considered to be a “wonder of knowledge” [Between 1836 and 1840, she was the principal for the girls in the school]. Many new teaching methods were introduced in the school, for example a rich amount of visual aids, like stuffed animals, dried plants etc. How I enjoyed the happy life with friends and the good lessons! I felt a need to devour all the books and their contents during those years.”

”Great grandmother completely disliked that girls should study, but I was not at all interested in house chores and didn’t think my help was needed at home as our domestic help, my mother, and my aunts all took care of the household.”

”I was soon, although the youngest, the best student in my class.”

When Miss Limnell (married name Schwartz) died, Ebba asked her parents to enroll her in the other premier school for girls in Stockholm: Bjurström’s Pension. According to Ebba, the school had very good language teachers. Most of the students came from the upper social class. The school was small; there were only two classes. Ebba liked this new school and noted the beautiful rooms in the airy apartment.

In the diary, she describes her friends, both in school and those with whom she took communion. I compared the names with Augusta’s friends and found no matches.

Fredrique Hammarstedt (b. Unge), born 1823

Fredrique Unge

One of Ebba’s friends from Wallin’s School was Fredrique Unge. She was the same age as Marie-Louise Forsell but she is not mentioned in Marie-Louise’s diary. She graduated at age 16 and then became a private tutor. Later, she married Gustaf Hammarstedt, a pastor, and in 1855 took over the management of the school that had initially been Bjurström’s Pension.  Her life is chronicled in a series of articles in the magazine Idun by one of her students, Gurli Linder.

Records of First Communion

In trying to find some link between Augusta and Ebba, I searched the church archives’ records of First Communion. Both Augusta and Ebba had bible studies for the same pastor in the Jacob Parish. Augusta had her first communion in 1844 and I found her name and that of Cecilia Koch, one of her best friends. In the book for 1845, I found Ebba and one of her friends. But as Augusta and Ebba were a year apart, they did not take bible studies together. So, no leads there.

What was most interesting with these archives was the ranking of names. All boys were listed first followed by the girls. For each student, the father’s title was listed and the students were listed according to the status of their fathers. Listed first were children of noble families or whose fathers had important government positions, followed by children of officers, and then of wealthy merchants. At the bottom of the list were children whose fathers were servants or had unknown occupations.

Next step

So I haven’t found anything new about Augusta’s schooling, but I have now a list of teachers and students and more leads to follow. And maybe another visit to Stockholm’s City Archives would be useful – some documents from Wallin’s School have been archived.

Portrait of a Young Girl. Jean Baptiste Camille Corot. 1850 or 1859. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

By reading diaries of other contemporary young girls, I have become very familiar with social life and home life of wealthy girls in Stockholm in the mid 1840s: concerns about clothes, excitement about invitations to balls, lieutenants with good looks, occasional arguments with the parents, aunts, and grandmothers, and thoughts about marriage. Because what would a girl do once she graduated from school? There were very few choices: get married, or make a living as a private tutor, nanny,  companion to some elderly woman, or a seamstress.

The discussion about the aim of educating girls, which had started in the first decades of the 1800s, continued. Augusta would have been very happy to know that in 1866, the Swedish parliament established a committee to study the aim of public schools for girls, and that her future husband, Adolf Leonard Nordvall, was asked to lead this committee. He was a staunch supporter of women’s education.