Etikettarkiv: Plagemann

Augusta’s friend Lotten and her little cousin Minna in St. Barths

The Swedish colony, Saint Barthélemy (St. Barths)
The Swedish colony, Saint Barthélemy (St. Barths)

Did Augusta know anything about the Caribbean island, St. Barths? Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barths, was a Swedish colony between 1784 and 1878. Augusta’s friend Lotten would have had good reasons to know about the island…

I am still reading the letters from Charlotte “Lottten” Westman to Augusta. Augusta and Lotten had been friends in Stockholm while attending private girl’s schools in 1842-1845. When Augusta moved back to her country home, Loddby, outside Norrköping, Lotten kept Augusta up-to-date on the social life in Stockholm. In the winter of 1845-46, she tells Lotten about the sisters Ulrich.

Lotten and Edla Ulrich

Lotten’s letter to Augusta, Stockholm, 24 November 1845

”…You must tell me in the next letter if you have become acquainted with the Royal Secretary Ulrich’s family and, if so, please convey my heartfelt greetings to them. I sincerely admire them. You must tell me how they are liked in Norrköping. At first acquaintance, the girls appear superficial and pretty unremarkable. But they are extremely good and the older one is particularly dear to me…”

Lotten’s letter to Augusta, Stockholm, 22 January 1846

”…When you meet Lotten Ulrich, give her my heartfelt greetings. I think she will miss Stockholm a lot, as well as all her acquaintances here. She was the one who really grieved the most about leaving Stockholm but she is right in trying to accept her destiny when it cannot be changed…”

Who were the sisters Ulrich and why did the family have to leave Stockholm?

To my surprise and delight, I find a recently published book of the two sisters’ diaries – Systrarnas Ulrichs dagböcker by Margareta Östman.

Lotten Ulrich (1806-1887) and Edla Ulrich (1816-1897) lived at the Royal Palace in Stockholm where their father, Johan Christian Henrik Ulrich, was the secretary to King Carl XIV Johan. When the king died in 1844, the family realized that their status would change and, in April 1845, they received a letter stating that they were now entitled to live at Kungshuset (The Royal House) in Norrköping. Lotten Ulrich was not excited about having to leave the Royal Palace in Stockholm for a house in Norrköping.

Lotten Ulrich’s Diary, Norrköping, Thursday, 12 September 1845 (my translation of the Swedish text, translated by Margareta Östman from the diary’s original entry in French (Östman, 2015).

”In Norrköping. This single word expresses the extent to which my destiny has changed since I last wrote in my diary. I’m no longer in Stockholm, in our dear little apartment in the Royal Palace, I am no longer at Gröndal, our beloved little rural home at Djurgården, these two places where I since my earliest childhood have spent my days; days that, when all is said and done, were happy, peaceful, and quiet No, I’m in Norrköping in The Royal House, eighteen [Swedish] miles from so many people and places that are infinitely dear to me and will remain so. It is here that I will now live my life, it is to this place we have traveled to live among people to whom we are indifferent and who are strangers to us.

And when I think of all the sacrifices that are required of us here, of all the pleasures I forever must forgo because of this move, then my heart breaks and I feel like crying in despair. And nevertheless – do I not have all the reasons to be content with my present situation, especially when I compare with how it could have been without God’s grace and without the grace of our good King Oscar I who gave us a place for retirement here in return for the one we had to leave in Stockholm? My destiny is determined, that is true, but do I not really have cause for despair and for letting my tears flow? …..”

Lotten Ulrich was trying to deal with the family move, her father’s retirement, and Norrköping. On the 6 January 1846, she attended a ball at the city hall in Norrköping. It was a beautiful ball, but Lotten Ulrich was so depressed that she didn’t even enter the ballroom.

I don’t know if Augusta ever did meet the sisters, and Lotten didn’t mention them again.

Ulrichs and Plagemanns

Lotten’s grandfather was the pharmacist Carl Johan Fredrik (CJF) Plagemann. His brother, Conrad Ludvig Plagemann (1784-1842) was a custom’s officer at Saint Barthélemy. He had 14 children born on the island.

The Ulrich sisters’ two brothers served consecutively as governors of Saint Barthélemy. Fredrik Carl (Fritz) Ulrich (1808-1868) was governor until his death in 1868. Bror Ludvig (1818-1887) then moved with his family to Saint Barthélemy and became the new governor.

It is no surprise that one of Conrad Ludvig Plagemann’s daughters, Lovisa Albertina (1815-1899), would marry one of the Ulrich brothers, Fredrik Carl (Fritz).

One of Conrad Ludvig’s sons, Arnold Plagemann (1826-1862) became a famous marine painter. In the late 1840s, he came back to Sweden and stayed with CJF Plagemann in Umeå. Some of his pencil drawings are included in the publication of letters between CJF Plagemann and his daughter Dorothea (Lotten’s “Dora”).

Painting by Arnold Plagemann
Painting by Arnold Plagemann


Jungfru Sara by Arnold Plagemann 1848-1850
Jungfru Sara, pencil drawing by Arnold Plagemann 1848-1850

Minna Ulrich

Fritz Ulrich corresponded with his sisters and family in Stockholm. They eagerly awaited his letter with news from Saint Barthélemy. News about the growing family. And sometimes they got packages or sent packages.

John Carlin, Little Girl with Doll, ca. 1854, watercolor on ivory, Smithsonian American Art Museum
John Carlin, Little Girl with Doll, ca. 1854, watercolor on ivory, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Lotten and Edla Ulrich describe in their diaries in 1838 how they buy a doll. It is going to be a present for Fritz’s 4-year-old daughter, Edla Wilhelmina (Minna), and will be sent all the way to Saint Barthélemy. The body, which is 23 inches long, and the head are bought separately. The head has real hair and enamel eyes. The doll will be outfitted with clothes that the sisters and their mother are making. They are very excited about the project.

Little Minna was actually Lotten Westman’s second cousin. How much did she know about her family in St. Barths? Sadly, Minna and two of her younger brothers died in a fever epidemic in 1841. In 1842, another daughter was born and given the same name. Seems like that was not an unusual custom.


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).

Lotten’s Letter: Mourning a Grandmother

Lotten Westman’s letter to Augusta, Stockholm, 25? March 1846 (Wednesday)

My own beloved Augusta!

If I did not know you and that you would forgive me, I would hardly dare to write to you after such a long silence. Maybe I thought it was longer than you found it to be because I’ve been thinking about writing to you all the time and longing for an opportunity to do so. The reason why I did not write is that my grandmother died and that I have to be there almost every day and keep my aunt company. It happened so suddenly. She was in good health and lively when she had a stroke, but she passed away within a day. We had for a long time been prepared for this because all winter, she had not been very energetic but now she was better than she had ever been. Without her, there is such emptiness in the family. She was always sweet and friendly when one visited her.

If you have ever experienced a death in the family, you know how much there is to do. I cannot help very much, but I can at least keep my aunt company and I have honestly done that. You know how much I like my home, so imagine how boring it has been during the last 3 weeks when I hardly could go home a single day. Now you know the reason why I did not write to you, my own Augusta. That I wish I could have, that you know, and I sincerely wish that you must have longed for a letter from me.

Sleigh Ride, Einar Torsslow.
Sleigh Ride by Einar Torsslow.

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….”

Lotten’s paternal grandmother, Carolina Westman (born Palmgren), must have been a matriarch in the family. Her husband had died before Lotten was born and she lived with her youngest, unmarried daughter, Emilie Aurora. Through Lotten’s letters, one gets the feeling that Lotten was closer to her father’s family (Westman) than her mother’s (Plagemann).

Carolina Westman hosted great parties for the extended family. Before Christmas in 1845, Lotten wrote to Augusta about one of those parties.

”You asked me if I heard something about my relative Hedin and you apologize for liking him only because of the polka [dance]. You do not have to apologize for that, because I also like him just for the same reason. If I am lucky, I’ll meet him on the second day after Christmas when my grandmother always hosts a dance.”

This is the house where Lotten's grandmother lived in 1835,
This is the house where Lotten’s grandmother lived in 1835. 

So where did Carolina Westman live? I checked the census records for 1835 and 1845. In 1835, her address was Drottninggatan 59. Since 1798, this has also been the address of a pharmacy, Apoteket Ugglan. The pharmacy is famous for two reasons:

  1. No other pharmacy in Sweden has been in operation at the same address for as long as this pharmacy (220 years). Parts of the interior and the paintings in the ceiling are still from the late 1800s.
  2. One of Sweden’s most famous chemists, Carl Gustaf Mosander,  started his career at age 15 when he became an apprentice at the pharmacy. Like Lotten’s paternal grandfather, the pharmacist Carl Johan Fredrik Plagemann,    Carl Gustaf Mosander also studied under professor Jacob Berzelius. When Berzelius retired, Mosander got his position.

It is fascinating to think that Carolina Westman must have lived above the pharmacy.

Lotten's grandmother's house in 1845.
This is where Lotten’s grandmother lived in 1845 – the corner of Drottninggatan and Gamla Brogatan.

In 1845, Carolina Westman had moved with her daughter, Lotten’s aunt, across the street and a block north to Drottninggatan 72. The house is long gone. From the early 1900s, the block housed one of the first department stores in Stockholm – PUB. It is now a hotel – Haymarket by Scandic.

After reading about Lotten’s grandmother and finding out where she lived, I got curious. I wonder if Augusta ever visited Lotten’s grandmother?


Note: Carl Theodor and Emma Hedin were Lotten’s 3rd-degree cousins. Another brother, Ludwig, was the father of the famous explorer, Sven Hedin.


A Winter Funeral in Umeå

Umeå Church and Vicarage. Painting by Pastor Anders Abraham Grafström.
Umeå Church and Vicarage. Painting by Pastor Anders Abraham Grafström.

In my last blog, I wrote about Augusta’s friend Lotten and her family. I mentioned that her grandfather, the famous pharmacist, Carl Johan Fredrik (CJF) Plageman, had moved to northern Sweden with his second wife, Eva Sofia. On a wintry day in 1853, she died. Letters from CJF Plagemann to his daughter, Dorothea, who lived in Stockholm, describe all the details of the funeral and the period of mourning. It is an interesting description of a winter funeral in northern Sweden. The following are translations of a few excerpts of those letters, which were compiled by Carl Johan Lamm and published in 1947.

Umeå, 5 February 1853

…The funeral will be in the church and then the body will be taken to the Södermark’s crypt where it will stay until spring when the ground will be bare and our family grave in the cemetery will be accessible. Now it is covered by 12 feet of snow.

Umeå, 18 February 1853

All afternoon, I have been busy writing invitation cards which our friend, pharmacist Johan Olof Asplund, will deliver tomorrow; that is, an invitation to our beloved and lamented mother’s funeral next Tuesday. The invitation is for 11 am. At around noon, when the guests have gathered, there will be coffee and pretzels, then wine and Bischoff, sweets, jam, cake, sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies – all according to local tradition – and then, lastly, bouillon and paté.

Once the church-ringing has started, around 3 pm, the men, after being called, will line up and the body will be carried by friends from the room to the gate, and from there in a wagon to the church and, likewise, be carried to the altar. The funeral will be performed by Pastor Jonas Åberg; then it will be carried out and put in the wagon. Some of the men will leave while others, including the grieving, will follow out to the cemetery where the casket will be put in the Södermark’s crypt. Those who have been the officiants and some of my closest friends will then come back to the house, around 30 people, and eat a dinner while standing. Oh! If it was just over! It will be a difficult and trying day for me…

…Miss Nordin and Carin Sjöström will give Dedé (Dorothea) a complete description of the beloved mother’s last weeks. I have kept her small hair braids. The Flower Room has been divided in half, covered in white, and with 4 chandeliers, 4-arm candle-holders, and 12 wax candles, it will, during the day, shine a light on the sad coffin. The coffin is black-lacquered and decorated with plates, handles, silver feet, and 132 north stars made of tin. The portraits of the Royals, mirrors, tables, and chairs are covered in white. In the innermost room, a corner sofa is placed and chairs are removed from all rooms. In this innermost room, we 3 grieving will be sitting, as well as others, and over the sofa is my beloved Dedé’s portrait dressed in a black crape. Everything will be well arranged for an honorable funeral.

Umeå, 26 February 1853

White morning curtains, that we have borrowed from Mrs. Anna Maria Meuller, will, according to local custom, hang over the windows that face the street for 6 weeks. Oh! Long weeks!

Umeå, 23 March 1853

Another death has occurred, that of young Mrs. Lindberg, who died in childbirth, 36 years and 3 months old, leaving her husband and child. Now my morning curtains, which I borrowed from Mrs. Meuller, have to be taken down and washed so that she can lend them to the family Lindberg. At least it looks a little happier and nicer in my rooms now that these covers have been removed.

In Search of Dora and Finding Dorothea Plagemann

Stockholm, 22 January 1846

My own, beloved Augusta!

Thank you, thank you, my good friend for your last letter, even though I had to wait quite some time to get it. But I will not scold you, only thank you so much for your last letter. I should probably start by thanking you for your good wishes for the new year.

You know what? I have not yet received a letter from Dora since I wrote you last. I’m really worried. Imagine my delight; she will come here this summer. She will also travel with her mother to Nora to a married sister she has there. Mormor (Swedish: mother’s mother) is going to take water because she has been ill throughout the winter. I am supposed to be invited by Moster (Swedish: mother’s sister) to come there, but although I love Dora so much and how fun it would be, it would be impossible for me to stay away from home for so long without getting homesick. I would rather be at my beloved Ulriksdal for a few days. My aunt and uncle live there. There, I really enjoy the summer. It is so private with the lake close by. I can lay down in a boat by the shore and rock gently with the waves. I don’t know anything as monotonous, but also nothing more wonderful on a bright, sunny day than to lie in a boat by the shore and hear the sound of the waves rhythmically break against the shore. It’s a lovely song in my ears. I’ve never liked the countryside before, but now I love it and suffer in the city during the summer.

Write soon to your true friend, Lotten.


The original letter from Lotten regarding Dora.
The original letter from Lotten regarding Dora.

This is Charlotte Westman’s first letter to Augusta in 1846. As usual, she talks about Dora and how Dora will be traveling to the small Swedish town, Nora. But Dora is never mentioned with a family name, so how could one ever find out who she is?

The paragraph in this letter is pretty confusing. Right after discussing Dora, Lotten mentions a maternal grandmother who has been sick and needs to drink water from the spring in Nora. Is it Dora’s grandmother or Lotten’s? I decide to at least find out who Lotten’s grandmother was.

Lotten’s maternal grandmothers

Lotten’s maternal grandmother was Hedvig Charlotta Åslund (1776-1816) from Ovanåker, Folkärna parish, close to Avesta. She was married to a famous pharmacist, Carl Johan Fredrik (CJF) Plagemann (1779-1864). She died in an explosion while making silver fulminate when she was 40 years old. Maybe she was helping her husband in his laboratory?

Carl Johan Fredrik Plagemann (1779-1864). Lotten Westman’s maternal grandfather.

The following year, CJF Plagemann opened a pharmacy in the Westman Palace in Stockholm. A requirement for opening his own pharmacy was that he should also teach pharmacy students. The activities should be conducted under the supervision of a professor of chemistry, Jacob Berzelius.

When CJF Plagemann’s wife died, she left behind four children between the ages of 3 and 11. One of those children was Lotten’s mother, Eva Charlotte (1807-1840, married into the Westman family). So Lotten’s maternal grandmother died long before Lotten was born. As was customary at the time, the widower then married his first wife’s younger sister, Eva Sofia Åslund (1785-1853). Lotten, therefore, had a step-grandmother who was also her great aunt. Did she refer to her as Mormor or Moster?

And here comes the interesting observation. Her grandfather and his new wife had a child, a daughter born in 1826 – thus a year older than Lotten – by the name of Dorothea, or Dora. Could it be the Dora?

Dorothea Plagemann

Dorothea Plagemann (Dorothée Kindstrand). Drawing by Maria Röhl 1861.
Dorothea Plagemann (Dorothée Kindstrand). Drawing by Maria Röhl 1861.

Eva Dorothea Fredrika Charlotta Plagemann spent her childhood in Stockholm. During this time, her father expanded his pharmaceutical business to include manufacturing of chemical products. Raw materials necessary for the manufacturing were abundant in northern Sweden, so in 1833, CJF Plagemann moved to Skellefteå and from there, in 1843, to Umeå. Did Dorothea move with her parents or did she stay behind in Stockholm, boarding with some family and attending school? All we know is that she had her first communion in Klara parish in Stockholm in 1843, a year before Lotten. Most likely, she stayed in Stockholm for at least some of those years. Maybe she also attended Mrs. Edgren’s school?

In the summer of 1851, Dorothea did live in Stockholm. Her letters to her father in Umeå and his letters to her were published in a local yearbook in 1947. She writes about their garden and the famous botanists who come to visit. She tells her father about the status of the various plants. Her father writes about daily life in Umeå.

On the 19 August 1851, Dorothea married pharmacist Fabian Reinhold Kindstrand, a colleague of her father. In documents from the time she goes by several combinations of names and spellings, e.g., Dorothée Kindstrand and Dorothea Plagemann.

Is it Dora in Nora?

I don’t know if Dorothea is Dora who Lotten refers to in her letters. I haven’t found any connections yet between Dorothea and the town of Nora. Dorothea’s mother had many sisters, so when Lotten writes that Dora “…will also travel with her mother to Nora to a married sister she has there”, could she possibly mean a sister of her mother? I might find out more, as I have many more of Lotten’s letters to read.

Update: 30 November 2018.

There were more clues in Lotten’s later letters.

 Stockholm, 6 May 1846

”…Imagine spending the whole summer in the countryside! I could spend the whole summer in the countryside if I could only bear being apart from Mademoiselle Hellberg and Clara – at Moster (Swedish: mother’s sister) Anna’s – but I would be crushed by the longing for them.”

So, Lotten’s maternal aunt in Nora was named Anna. I search on Anna and Nora and Plagemann and get nowhere. Then I simplify the search to just Nora+Plagemann and land in a book about Swedish families published in 1906. And there it is – Anna Sofia Plagemann married to Adolf Fredrik Baer, living in Nora. So Dorothea Plagemann had a married sister living in Nora, by the name of Anna.

Family tree connecting Lotten to Dora
Simplified family tree connecting Lotten to Dora. It shows Lotten’s maternal grandparents and CJF Plagemann’s 5 children.

In a later letter, Lotten, for the first time, mentions her maternal grandfather – not by name, but the fact that he came to visit. Makes me wonder if she corresponded with him? Dora did – but that was her father, not her grandfather.

Stockholm, 16 June 1846

”…I was fully convinced I would meet Dora. The day of her arrival was already determined and we were expecting her. Then Morfar (Swedish: mother’s father) came alone, because Momor (Swedish: mother’s mother) had again fallen and had a fracture and, therefore, they could not travel.”

In the next paragraph, Lotten complains about all that she has to do.

“Today, as well, letters and packages must be sealed and sent to Umeå.”

And it was in Umeå that CJF Plagemann and his wife lived. Did Dora also live there in 1845-1846 and only spent the summers in Nora?

I think it is safe to conclude that Dora in Lotten’s letters is Dorothea Plagemann and that Dora visited her aunt Anna in Nora.

Dorothea’s daughter

Eva Upmark (Eva Dorothea Helena Kindstrand). Painting by Carl Larsson, 1896.
Dorothea’s daughter, Eva Upmark (Eva Dorothea Helena Kindstrand ). Painting by Carl Larsson, 1896.

When searching for images of Dorothea, I found some beautiful paintings by the famous Swedish artist, Carl Larsson. What did they have to do with Dorothea? The first one happened to be of Dorothea’s daughter. Eva Dorothea Helena Kindstrand was born in 1852 and is better known by her married name, Eva Upmark. She held many positions in organizations for women. She was the chairperson of the Swedish Women’s Confederation and the secretary of the Red Cross Women’s Association. In 1911, she organized the International Congress of the International Council of Women.

Dora Lamm with sons. Painting by Carl Larsson, 1903.
Dorothea’s granddaughter, Dora Lamm, with sons. Painting by Carl Larsson, 1903.

Eva Upmark also had a daughter. Her name was Dora. And Carl Larsson painted her too – a large painting of Dora Lamm with her sons and another one of her reading.

Dora Lamm reading a book. Painting by Carl Larsson.
Dora Lamm reading a book. Painting by Carl Larsson.