1. Eva Charlotta (Lotten) Mörner af Morlanda – ”The Good and Sweet Lotten” and ”the Miss with the Cup”

For each parish in Sweden, there is a library of church records – births, baptisms, confirmations, etc. Early on, I found that one of the best places to find Augusta’s friends in Stockholm was to look at the records of confirmations and first communions. Some parishes listed them alphabetically but in St Jacob’s parish, Pastor Petterson listed them first by gender and then by his perception of their importance – based on their family names and their fathers’ professions. Augusta was listed as number 10 out of the 92 girls.

A little over a year ago, I decided to find out more about the first 20 girls on the list. I have now written about 19 of the girls and I will finish my series with the top-ranked girl: Eva Charlotta (Lotten) Mörner af Morlanda.

Eva Charlotta (Lotten) Mörner af Morlanda

Lotten Mörner was born on August 17, 1827, in Växjö, a small but important provincial town. Both her parents were from noble families. Her father, Count Carl Mörner, was the provincial governor and her mother was a baroness: Constantina Charlotta Ottiliana Wrede af Elimä. Lotten was the couple’s second child; the firstborn son had died in infancy. She also had a 3-year-old younger brother, Stellan Fabian.

Searching for Lotten Mörner

Lotten probably grew up in Växjö but was sent to Stockholm to be introduced to society. She might have lived with relatives in Stockholm. Some family members had positions within the Royal Palace. Lotten’s father had been the queen’s chamberlain before he became governor and his cousin, Charlotta Eleonora Ebba Erika Emerentia Mörner, was one of the queen’s maids of honor.

But what happened to Lotten after her confirmation?

I usually start by searching for an obituary. Sometimes an obituary will tell me details about the woman’s life and her family. Lotten’s obituary was long and informative. The first major event in her life was the untimely death of her mother in 1855. Now, Lotten had to take on the role of hostess in the governor’s residence. She continued to take care of the household even after her father retired. When he died in 1870, Lotten returned to Stockholm and lived in an apartment at Norra Smedjegatan 34. That is where the shopping center Gallerian is now located.

The building on the right is the Governor’s Residence in Växjö as depicted in 1860. This was the home of Lotten Mörner. The residence was built between 1844-1848 after a devastating fire in Växjö in 1843. Lithography by  A.G. Fagerholm.
This silver cake server was said to have been used by Lotten’s father, governor Carl Mörner as a trowel at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new governor’s residence in 1844.

Pictures of Lotten Mörner

Then I search for images of Lotten. The House of Nobility in Stockholm has a searchable archive of portraits and I find some of Lotten. All the pictures show her in profile. The accompanying text to one of the portraits states “Lotten Mörner (with the cup)”.

Lotten Mörner (with the cup)

Interestingly, I find a very similar picture of Lotten Mörner in someone’s old portrait album online. She is wearing the same paisley shawl and bonnet but the dress and her parasol are different!

Lotten Mörner This one is also from the House of Nobility’s archive.

Then I find a picture of her in a museum. It is annotated with the text “Lotten Mörner (with the eye)”.

Lotten Mörner (with the eye)

What does it mean – “with the cup” and “with the eye”?

I search on different combinations of words and within different domain names and suddenly I find something: A biography written in 1937 by another nobleman, Adam Lewenhaupt. He writes about his youth and how his mother’s friend would visit them in the summer:

“Another of mom’s childhood friends, who was born the same year and for once was someone who was not our relative, was Miss Lotten Mörner. She visited us every summer. The most distinctive thing about her was a most peculiar abnormality in one of her eyes. The upper eyelid severely drooped against her cheek. Mr. d ’Otrante always referred to her as “the Miss with the cutlet on the eye”. When she turned her eye, the “cutlet” trembled and jumped up and down. A modern surgeon would probably have been able to correct it. But at that time, it was out of the question.

Others referred to her merely as ”the Miss with the cup” as she was the owner of a precious Sèvres piece with Marie Antoinette’s portrait. It was later bequeathed to the Nationalmuseum (Sweden’s National Museum of Fine Arts and Design).

Financially well-off, she liked to have small soirees in her apartment at Norra Smedjegatan in Stockholm, near the Catholic Church, which the Queen Dowager used to attend, and some small hotels, which others visited.

She was always happy to be invited, but if she had a small pimple or some other blemish, she would not show herself in public. On the other hand, she didn’t care about her abnormal eye.

She was the most indecisive person imaginable. Once, at the moment of departure from Sjöholm, she was asked jokingly if she did not regret leaving and if she might want to stay a few more days. ”Yes, I think so,” she answered and got up to step out of the carriage. But Eriksson, the coachman, cracked his whip and the horses set off at full speed. The old woman fell back into her seat and the equipage disappeared down the lane.

By the way, she was benevolent in both word and deed. I got an idea to register all the ”good Lotten” and ”sweet Lotten” I heard in conversations. But when my mother thought that the courtesy required the same word in response, it became too much for me to record and I got tired of it.”

You can read the original Swedish text here.

Lotten Mörner (picture included in Adam Lewenhaupt’s biography)

The other Miss Lotten Mörner

I mentioned that Lotten Mörner’s father’s cousin was the queen’s maid of honor. She was born in 1816 and thus 11 years older than our Lotten. The problem is, or was, that she was also referred to as Miss Lotten Mörner (until she married August Wachtmeister in 1852). So during several years in their youth, the two girls with the same name were both on the social scene in Stockholm.

One of our Augusta’s acquaintances, Erik af Edholm, wrote about Miss Lotten Mörner in his diary. But which one? In February of 1847, there was a masquerade ball and many young nobles were practicing a quadrille. He listed the girls and their partners and one of the girls was Miss Lotten Mörner. And there are other mentions of Miss Lotten Mörner in Erik’s diary. I would bet that all refer to the older Lotten.

The Swedish singer, Jenny Lind, also mentions Miss Lotten Mörner in her biography but it is also most likely the older Lotten.

This brings me to our Lotten’s nicknames. How would anyone know which Miss Lotten Mörner someone was referring to? Just as it is confusing now, it would have been confusing then. Maybe that is how our Lotten got the nickname “Miss Lotten Mörner – with the cup”? The other Miss Lotten Mörner actually had a title – the queen’s maid of honor (Swedish: Hovfröken).

Later in life

So in 1870, at the age of 43, Lotten had returned to Stockholm and lived at Norra Smedjegatan 34 where she hosted small soirees for her friends. She died in 1879 after a long battle with breast cancer. She was only 52 years old. The good and sweet Lotten, as she was so often called in conversations, had included many charities and a girls’ school in her will. And of course, she bequeathed her beautiful cup (and additional pieces of Sèvres porcelain) to the National Museum of Art.

Lotten Mörner’s Sèvres cup of Marie Antoinette – and other pieces


10. Rosalie Emelie Augusta Söderholm – Our great-great-grandmother

Rosalie Emelie Augusta Söderholm, our great-great-grandmother whose writings were our inspiration for Augusta’s Journey, was ranked 10 out of the 92 girls who were confirmed in St Jacob’s parish in May of 1844.

If you have followed Augusta’s Journey, you probably already know Augusta. But if you are new to our project, here are a few lines about Augusta Söderholm.

Augusta was born in Slaka parish outside Linköping in 1827. She was the youngest child of Anna Catharina and Johan Petter Söderholm. When her father died in 1835, Augusta’s brother-in-law, Gustaf Lejdenfrost, took care of the family at his estate, Loddby, outside Norrköping.

Augusta Söderholm

In the fall of 1841, 14-year-old Augusta was sent to Stockholm to get a first-class education. She would learn French, German, and some English, and she would meet families in high society. Augusta moved in with the Edgren family who ran a private boarding school in St Klara’s parish in Stockholm.

In 1844, Augusta also had to study for her upcoming confirmation. She was living in St Klara’s parish but we know that she was confirmed in another parish in Stockholm – St Jacob’s parish. Why?

Augusta’s close friend, Cecilia Koch, had also come to Stockholm to study. Both were confirmed in St Jacob’s parish. Was it a joint decision? Did they choose St Jacob’s parish because it was led by Pastor Abraham Zacharias Pettersson, a well-liked and respected pastor? Or did their parents’ have a personal connection with Pastor Pettersson? Or did the families with the highest status in Stockholm live in St Jacob’s parish? What seemed to be unique for this parish was that the pastor listed the children according to their perceived status. So for girls like Augusta and Cecilia, who were sent to Stockholm as teenagers to get educated and making their debut in society, this was probably the parish with the “right” families.

Augusta continued to study in Stockholm for one more year, now in a school run by Miss Andriette Frigel. During this year, she boarded with the family of Baroness Jaquette Ribbing.

After having studied in Stockholm, Augusta returned to her country home at Loddby and kept in touch with her friends in Stockholm. In the summer of 1847, she and her mother made the memorable journey through Germany down to Prague which she chronicled in her diary. After their return, she continued to write in her diary about how lonely she was at Loddby.

But in January of 1849, she returned to Stockholm to spend the social season going to balls, theatres, and concerts. She was 22 years old and she wrote in her diary about her suitors and her exciting and carefree life.

Then in July, she was back home at her “calm, quiet home.” Her brother had contracted tuberculosis and by the end of the year, Augusta was bedridden and coughing. For the rest of her life, she struggled with the disease. But she found love, a man who appreciated her intellect and who didn’t mind debates. Adolf Leonard Nordvall was a doctor of philosophy who also wrote wonderful love letters. They married in 1853 and had a daughter (our great-grandmother) in 1854. Their happiness didn’t last long – Augusta died a year later at the age of 28.

5. Elisabeth Schwan – The Belle of the Balls

At 7:30 in the evening, I set off in a carriage pulled by 2 white horses through illuminated streets and cheering crowds to the Bourgeoisie’s Ball on the occasion of the King’s anniversary. The ballroom was unbelievably beautiful and the whole party was, according to unanimous testimony, successful on all accounts. It was probably the most beautiful [ball] in the 25-years [of the King’s reign]. I danced with Miss Gurli [Kantzow], Miss Mathilda [Horn], and Mamsell Elisabeth Schwan, each the beauty of the ball in her own genre.  (Erik af Edholm’s diary, 6 Feb 1843)

Elisabeth Schwan was the belle of the balls. Erik af Edholm, who was the son of the King’s personal doctor, chronicled the social life in Stockholm in the 1840s. And he liked Elisabeth Schwan.

The weather this morning was wonderful, warm and sunny as at the end of April, and The Square* was full of people strolling around. The water trickled around the paving stones on the slightly dirty streets and in higher places, sun-dried paving stones provided a nice playground for children and pets.

In The Square, Elisabeth Schwan sashayed her young pleasures in a pink silk hat and a small, school coat. I confess that I abandoned my companions, the Poppiuses, and went straight to wish her a happy new year because I had not seen her since before Christmas, and then I accompanied her, her mother, and the Munthes for several turns around The Square. Being too elated, I even accompanied Mrs. Munthe all the way to her door at 69 Regeringsgatan. (Erik af Edholm’s diary, 29 Jan 1843).

*The Square (Swedish: Torget) was the nickname for Carl XIII’s Square, which is a part of the large central park, Kungsträdgården, in Stockholm.

Fritz von Dardel also liked Elisabeth, at least he liked to include her in his drawings of the social life in Stockholm.

The Amaranth Ball, 6 January 1845. Painting by Fritz von Dardel. Kunt Bergenstråhle is the young lieutenant in the middle.
The Amaranth Ball, 6 January 1845. Painting by Fritz von Dardel. Elisabeth is the girl in the yellow dress. Yes, our Augusta was there too!


At General Peyron's Ball, 19 Dec 1844. Elisabeth Schwan is the dark haired girl in the lilac dress.
At General Peyron’s Ball, 19 Dec 1844. Elisabeth Schwan is the dark-haired girl in the lilac dress.

Who was Elisabeth Schwan?

Elisabeth Mathilda Schwan was born on February 2, 1828. Her father, Johan Gustaf Schwan (b. 1802), was a wealthy merchant who had married his cousin, Augusta Eleonora Schön. She was the daughter of another important merchant in Stockholm – Johan Schön (b. 1781).

I was already familiar with the wealthy family Schön. The mother of one of Augusta’s friends, Adèlaide (Adèle) Peijron, was born Schön. And it turned out that the mothers of Elisabeth Schwan and Adèle Peijron were sisters. So Elisabeth and Adèle were cousins.

Elisabeth married Knut Cassel who had studied law and worked at the Department of Finance in Stockholm. In 1860, the family purchased Stjernsund Castle from the royal family. There they raised 5 sons.

Stjernsunds Castle in the 1850s
Stjernsunds Castle in the 1850s


Elisabeth Cassel, born Schwan, and her family around 1856-57.
Elisabeth Cassel, born Schwan, and her family around 1856-57.

A Visit to Stjernsund Castle in 2019

Using the language of Augusta’s time, Stjernsund is handsomely situated on a promontory above the still, blue waters of Lake Alsen. It is now a museum.

On a beautiful day in the summer of 2019, Kerstin and I visited Stjernsund Castle dressed in our finest summer dresses. We took a guided tour of the castle and saw a few things that had belonged to Elisabeth. It is well worth a visit!

Photo by Pernilla Gäverth

Sources and links:

af Edholm, Erik. Svunna Dagar. P. A. Norstedt & Söner, Stockholm 1944.

The girl in the yellow ball gown: Elisabeth Schwan

Elisabeth Schwan at Stjernsund