Etikettarkiv: gustafsberg

In Search of Sophia Charlotta Salomon and her Family

Last week, I was reading the Swedish newspaper, Bohusläns Tidning, from 1845 and found an announcement listing the guests who had arrived at Gustafsberg’s Spa. The list included Augusta, her mother, and her brother. I got curious about the other spa guests. What could I find out about them?

I decided to start with what seemed to be an important family, the family of Krigsrådet Carl Jacob Salomon (A krigsråd was one of four civilian members of the Royal War Council. The other three members of the council were military leaders). Carl Jacob was not visiting the spa, only his wife and their two daughters and a son.

I assumed that it would not be difficult to find out more about this family. But it was!

Google was of no use. I didn’t even find the krigsråd himself! And Salomon is a very common name, both as a first name and as a surname.

Then I searched on free genealogy sites and in some books of important Swedish families and found only limited information.

I decided to get serious and turned to the census records of Stockholm for 1845. There I found the whole family with names and birth dates and an address: Regeringsgatan 38. That is where the famous department store NK is now located.

  • Husband: Carl Jacob Salomon, born 9 December 1784
  • Wife: Ulrica Sophia von Seltzen, born 24 April 1802
  • Daughter: Charlotta, born 28 January 1827
  • Daughter: Hilda Jaquette, born 7 June 1828
  • Son: Ernst Carl Victor, born 13 May 1831

Now that I had names and birth dates, the search got easier.

Hilda Jaquette

Next, I turned to published contemporary diaries – those of Marie-Louise Forsell and Lotten Ulrich. They were both well-connected in Stockholm and both mentioned meeting up with the Salomon family.

“Maybe Carl has already told the news that our old dancer, the honorable man Wrangel at The Artillery, is engaged to the youngest Miss Salomon.” (Sällskapslif och hemlif i Stockholm på 1840-talet: Ur Marie-Louise Forsells dagboksanteckningar).

Jaquette married Count Tönnes Wrangel in 1848 and lived a long life and had 4 children.

 Ernst Carl Victor

Ernst Salomon

Ernst was even easier to find. He even had his own Wikipedia page. He became a medical doctor and specialized in psychiatry. He also married and lived a long life.

Sophia Charlotta

The only thing I could find about Charlotta was that she had died in 1856. Or at least, that is what two sources stated. I checked the church records for the Jacob parish in Stockholm, but there was no record of her having died in 1856. I searched the digitized newspapers for 1856 and there was no obituary either. I was running out of creative ways of finding her. Had she moved?

Yes, had they moved?

I realized that there was an online digitized card catalog of property deeds in Stockholm between 1675 and 1875!

Using the information from the census records, I started flipping through the cards until I got to Salomon’s address. Carl Jacob Salomon had bought the house in 1827. Then, every time someone in the Salomon family died, there was an inheritance record regarding the change of ownership of the house. The first one was when his wife died in 1846. Then he himself died in 1850 and, finally, Charlotta’s death was recorded as the 3rd of October 1855. At that time, Jaquette and her husband Tönnes bought the remaining share from brother Ernst.

I never knew that this archive existed or how useful it could be!

So Sophia Charlotta died in 1855 and not in 1856 as reported. Now I could find her death in the church records – she died from tuberculosis, just like our Augusta, at age 28. And I also found her obituary in the paper. She died at Harfva Gård in Ed parish northwest of Stockholm.

Carl Jacob and his wife Ulrica Sophia

Likewise, I could now find mother Ulrica Sophia’s death in the church records. She died at age 44 on 4 July 1846 from edema. Her passing was also mentioned in the daily newspapers.

The death of Carl Jacob at age 65 on 6 February 1850 was announced in the papers but for some unknown reasons, there was no church record of his death in Jacob’s parish. Did he possibly belong to some other parish?


So what else could I find? What about portraits of the family members? In the 1840s, it was popular to have the artist Maria Röhl sketch you. Did the Salomon family commission her to sketch them? I searched on the Swedish Royal Library’s website and sure enough, found them all in 1847. That was the year after the mother had died.

Carl Jacob Salomon 1784-1850. Drawing by Maria Röhl 1847.
Charlotta Salomon (1827-1855) and Ernst Salomon (1831-1880) . Drawing by Maria Röhl 1847.
Jaquette Salomon (Jaquette Wrangel) (1828-1911) Drawing by Maria Röhl 1847.


And then, Google just decided to surprise me. I don’t know what I searched on, but there it was – a daguerreotype of the family taken in the interior yard of their house with a sheet hanging as a backdrop. The picture must have been taken in 1848 or 1849 as Hilda’s husband Tönnes is included (they married in 1848) and before 1850 when the father died.

Daguerreotype of family Salomon, 1848 or 1849, sold at auction.
Family Salomon, 1848 or 1849. Front row: Charlotte, Carl Jacob, Jaquette. Back row: Ernst and Tönnes.

Gustafsberg in 1845

In the summer of 1845, when the family was arriving at Gustafsberg, were they excited to spend some time socializing at this fashionable spa resort? Were the girls curious about meeting young men that might be suitable spouses? Or was their mother, Ulrica Sophia, already sick and hoped that drinking water at the spa would help restore her health? Was Charlotta, who was the same age as Augusta, already ill with tuberculosis?

Unfortunately, Augusta had not started keeping a diary yet so we don’t know if she already knew the Salomon girls from Stockholm and if they socialized at Gustafsberg. The only correspondence we have, where she alludes to the stay at Gustafsberg, is a letter to her best friend Lotten about a young man she met and fell in love with. Nothing came of it, but it would be fun to know who he was.

Ernst Salomon can be easily be written off, he was only 14 years old.


The Victorian Zoom Room

In our family, we now have a “Zoom Room”. We have always Skyped with family members and had professional conference calls using a variety of platforms. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom has become the popular way to connect. And with Zoom, one needs a room with the right lighting and some decent background. No more kitchen table conference calls with family members walking in the background.

TV hosts and their guests have also started to broadcast from home and it is interesting to study their choice of backgrounds – bookcases and artwork and portraits of family members.

So how would one decide what to have in the background and what would it signal?

Bohuslän’s Newspaper

Last night I was reading a Swedish newspaper, Bohusläns Tidning, from 1845. I had searched on Augusta’s family name and found an announcement in this paper that Augusta’s family had arrived at Gustafsberg’s Spa. In itself, it was a fascinating find and I will continue to follow that thread. But what else did the paper cover that day?

Well, there was a ball to be held at the spa the forthcoming Sunday and the tickets could be purchased at Anton Ahlbom’s for 24 skilling banco.

And Carolina Charlotta Bruhn was advertising her café where she served tea, coffee, and lemonade daily. One could also order all kinds of baked goods and especially the not-so-well-known meringues with rose-, punch-, vanilla-, or chocolate flavoring. Not to mention, ice-creams!

The Real Gentleman

And then, Hallman’s Book & Music store listed the arrival of the latest prints, musical notes, and books. There were prints of the Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind, and pianoforte notes for a selection of songs from the opera La fille du régiment by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti.

And what about the books? The book with the most interesting title was The Real Gentleman, or Principles and Rules for Decorum and a Keen Sense under Special Conditions of Social Life. The actual title, once I found this book online, had the additional subtitle: A Tutorial for Young Men to make them liked in Society and by the Opposite Sex. The book was originally written in German by Professor J. G. Wenzel and now translated to Swedish.

This book is a gem for anyone who wants to understand the societal rules of the mid-1800s. I scanned the topics: The Beauty of the Body, The Gaze and the Countenance, Body Positions and Movements, and so on. Then it got to a very interesting chapter: Furnishing of the “Reception Room”.

Furnishing of the Reception Room

During Victorian times, visitations were important and visitors would be received in the reception room (or drawing room, or parlour, depending on the regional differences in naming this room). According to the author, the furnishing of the reception room was of utmost importance if you wanted to be liked in Society and by the opposite sex!

And these were the important considerations for furnishing the reception room:

“…Everything here should betray a purified taste as well as knowledge of the world and times. Paintings, household utensils, and ornaments must make it clear to the visitor that he is in a house where understanding, taste, and fine customs abide.

…This room, designed for the reception of strangers, should be suitably furnished so that neither cabinets, dining tables, desk, dressers, toilet mirrors, nor beds are visible. Chandeliers or lamps, game tables, ottomans, divans, sofas, canopies, or so-called bouncer, etc., are the things that belong in a reception room…

…Well-polished tables and chairs of mahogany or good native tree species and in a modern style make a favorable impression.

…If there are several wide walls in the room, then it is necessary, between the chairs, to set appropriate tables with a vase, a clock, a beautiful alabaster figure, etc. To decorate the tables in the reception room with glass, porcelain, or other everyday objects is of low taste, even as it has often been fashionable.

…If one wants to hang paintings or etchings in the reception room, then they should be made by a master artist and have a suitable subject. Naked figures are obscene, even if they were made by the greatest master. Family portraits, mostly of the present owners, also do not fit in the reception room. One should not want to place one’s dear self everywhere.

Finally, it is obvious that the room should be tidy and free of dust.

Furnishing of the Zoom Room

Today’s Zoom Room is what the Victorian Reception Room was, a room where you will meet your friends, discuss, debate, and share stories. So what can one learn from The Real Gentlemen’s principles and rules? What should be the background in your room when you greet your visitors on Zoom?

  1. The room should be suitably furnished so that dressers, toilet mirrors, and beds are not visible.
  2. Everything should betray a purified taste as well as knowledge of the world and times.
  3. If one wants to hang paintings, they should be made by master artists.
  4. No paintings of nudes even if they were made by the greatest master!
  5. No family portraits.
  6. Keep it tidy, and no dust!

What about bookshelves? It seems to be popular today. Did the gentlemen of Victorian times not read a lot?

I am sure the author would have suggested a bookshelf if the books betrayed a purified taste and knowledge of the world and the times, if there were no nudes on the dust jackets, and if there were no dust on the shelves.

Victorian men using Zoom




Augusta’s First Love

Spring, the Fence by Václav Brožík
Spring, the Fence by
Václav Brožík

”They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.”

(Ernest Dowson, Vitae Summa Brevis)

The Summer Sejour to Gustafsberg, 1845

In the summer of 1845, Augusta turned 18. She had just finished her schooling in Stockholm and maybe her mother Anna thought it was time for her to meet a suitable young man. Why not at a seaside resort on the Swedish west coast?

During the spring, the resorts and spas advertised their facilities, the healing benefits of their mineral waters, and what the guests could expect with regards to entertainment and food. There were several resorts on the west coast. Mother Anna decided on Gustafsberg, a fashionable spa close to the town of Uddevalla.

Advertisement for Gustafsberg's Spa in Aftonbladet, 8 May 1845
Advertisement for Gustafsberg’s Spa in Aftonbladet, 8 May 1845
Mother Anna’s letter to Augusta, April 1845

“Your brother today gives you a present of 10 Rdr Bco that he wants you to use for making a dress of the silk fabric he gave you for Christmas as he heard that I have no money for that.”

Anna then gives Augusta advice about an alternative use for the money, such as making a small coat or collar to go with her black dress, and the importance of black lace on such an item because at the spa, “you can’t just run around in your little blue [dress]”. Final fashion decisions can wait until after the 1st of May.

“I am currently having your straw hat refurbished for everyday wear. I will send it to you when it is ready. I can’t afford to buy more than one so it has to be fairly beautiful. You asked me to sell the jewels. First of all, it wouldn’t be enough and secondly, you would not get paid enough. But on the other hand, it would be to your advantage if you used them yourself.”

I always have so much to do and a thousand expenses for this costly journey. We have to be there just before Midsummer and must necessarily be back here again 8 days before Lejdenfrost’s return, so we will spend 8 days there during the 2nd term. Many rooms have already been taken for the 1st term so I don’t think that will be a problem.”

Emilia Breitholtz' letter to Augusta - postmarked in Stockholm, 30 June 1845
Emilia Breitholtz’ letter to Augusta – postmarked in Stockholm, 30 June 1845

That is all we know about Augusta’s and her mother’s visit to Gustafsberg. Augusta didn’t start keeping a diary until 1847 and there are no letters from her during this time. But she did save an envelope of a letter that was addressed to her at Gustafsberg. From the coat-of-arms on the seal, we could discern that it was from the family Breitholz, so most likely from her friend Emilia Breitholtz.

Augusta’s First Love

Did Augusta meet a suitable young man at Gustafsberg? The clue is a letter from her friend Lotten in the fall of 1845. Augusta must have written to Lotten about her summer sejour and about a young man who she realized she could not marry.

Lotten’s letter to Augusta, October 1845

“My own beloved girl!

You can’t believe how happy I got when I received your dear, loving letter. You really made your poor friend wait for it; but I will not scold you, only thank you from my heart that you remembered your Lotten and, even more so, because you want to write to me in full confidence. You can’t believe how happy it made me. Thank you so much my little Gusta.

Believe me, I will not betray your trust. In my heart, you can lay down both your joy and your sorrow.

I am very sorry my good Augusta that you cannot get your relatives’ permission to a choice that your heart has made. Augusta! I am totally inexperienced in these things, but I love you so much because you listened to your senses instead of your heart which, sadly, many do not. But what would the result be? Indeed, poverty and misery. And I truly believe that ”when Poverty enters through the door, Love flies out of the window.” Perhaps I would not believe that if I had been in love myself, but there are too many stories confirming that the proverb is true. But Augusta, it is difficult for a young heart to accept that matters of money could separate two people who love each other. It’s really strange.

I want you to promise me something, my good Augusta. Don’t get married so soon, before you have had a chance to choose. Do not believe, because your first love could not be fulfilled, that you cannot be happy with someone else. You could find a man for whom you have deep respect and who would also be a good friend. But dear Augusta, be careful. I really shudder when I hear about these engagements settled during a ball. Imagine, frivolously entering into a bond for life! Your whole life! When you think about it, it’s horrible.

So you should be careful in making the right choice. Sweet Gusta, promise me that, do you hear me! You’re still so young. You know how deeply your Lotten cares for you and how happy I want you to be. Maybe you think I have given a long sermon, but I may be excused by my friendship for you. One thing, when you really want to pour out your heart, write to me.”

Lotten’s letter to Augusta, November 1845

“You can’t believe how I both laughed and was ready to weep over your love, as you and I call this infatuation. I was glad because you would never have been able to get the one you loved anyway. But I was sad, as you weren’t able to distinguish between a fleeting infatuation and true love. You would never have mistaken it if you had thought it over and tested yourself. What was it that you actually loved about him – his looks and some chivalrous traits? That is obvious because certainly, you couldn’t judge his character during a bathing-sejour when he perhaps always made you his [?]. And thus, he only showed his beautiful side. I only wish (and excuse me for this wish) that he will also just as easily bear the loss of you.”

Our Upcoming Summer Sejour to Gustafsberg

This summer, Kerstin and I are making our own summer sejour to Gustafsberg. We are going to stay in the bathhouse from Augusta’s time – now a hostel. And we are going to swim in our authentic bathing dresses that we are making. Let’s see how that goes! And we are going to visit the archives and see what entertainment they offered during the summer of 1845.

And maybe, just maybe, we can find a log of guests in 1845 and possibly find some candidates for Augusta’s first love?

I can only hope.

Gustafsberg in 1841
Gustafsberg in 1841