Etikettarkiv: Ulrich

14. Sophia Augusta Preumayr and her Famous Father, Franz

It was a beautiful day, finally. The last week of June had been unusually cold and windy and the relentless rain had flooded some streets. The women in the household, Sophia Augusta and her sister Mathilda, their mother, and their two old maids – Margaretha and Marie – had been forced to stay indoors for several days because of all this rain.

Sophia Augusta had felt sorry for her father and all the soldiers who were camped out at Ladugårdsgärde. She couldn’t imagine how it would be to sleep in a tent and then have to be out marching in weather like this. How could you even practice warfare in rain?

Her father could at least come home at night. He had the most admirable position. He was in charge of the music corps. And when he came home in the evening and told the girls about his day, about the close to six hundred singers from all the various regiments that he had to conduct, they had so many questions. How could you get them all lined up or did they stay in some formation? Or did soldiers from each regiment stay together so that it was visually pleasing as each regiment had a different uniform? What about the musicians? What instruments did they play?

He simply promised them that next Sunday, the day that the Royal Family would visit the camp, they could come along as well. The day would be a celebration of King Carl XIV Johan’s 25-year’s rein. The Royal Family would be seated in a specially built dais and there would be a sermon and then a review of the troops.

And now, it was finally Sunday, the day Sophia Augusta had waited for, and there was not a cloud in the sky and just a light breeze. Getting to Ladugårdsgärde had taken some time as all carriages in Stockholm seemed to be heading in the same direction. Sophia Augusta’s father had told them where they would have the best view, and once they got there, they had even found some large rocks to sit on under the shade of a few large trees. Sophia Augusta looked through her binoculars – trying to find her father among the hundreds of singers and almost as many musicians with their shiny brass instruments. They were all positioned at the base of Drottningberget – The Queen’s Hill.

The rest of the expansive field was filled with soldiers from various regiments. She knew some of them by their uniforms. And then there was the cavalry with their beautiful horses! And there were flags and standards and she recognized the standard of the Svea Life Guards with its yellow lions and blue shields. And curiously, she could see a large group of girls from Dalarna – they stood out by their traditional clothing – mingling with the soldiers from the Dalarna Regiment.

Review of the troops at Ladugårdgärde (Drawing in Illustrerad Tidning, nr 26 the 7th of July 1855)

The program started at a quarter to 2, with the chaplain of the Life Regiment Dragoons, the cavalry in Stockholm, and two assisting chaplains leading the service. Sophia Augusta couldn’t make out what they were saying but when the hundreds of singers joined in the chorales and hymns, everyone joined in too. It was so beautiful! She didn’t want the service to end, and when it did, after more than one hour, she was still hoping that there would be some more music. But the chaplain raised his voice and exclaimed “God save the King and the country”, and she knew that that was it.

But then, maybe it was planned, but it felt like a spontaneous reaction by all who had come out to see the king and the royal family on this glorious day, they all took up the national anthem – God Save the King! Sophia Augusta saw the king stand up and then make his way down to view the troops. She just wished he would have been mounted on his horse – that would have been a sight! But, nevertheless, what a beautiful day it had been. And how proud she was of her father, having perfectly directed all the singers and musicians!

King Carl XIV Johan (painting by Fredric Westin, 1838)

Sophia Augusta Preumayr

Sophia Augusta Preumayr was listed as number 14 of the girls who got confirmed in St Jacob’s church. The ranking was based on the pastor’s perception of the girl’s social status, based on her last name and her father’s profession. And Sophia Augusta had a very famous father.

Sophia Augusta Preumayr was born at home, Jacobsbergsgränd 14, in Jacob parish in Stockholm on December 1, 1827. Interestingly, a famous Swedish poet, Johan Tobias Sergel, was born in the same house in 1740. The house was demolished in 1943.

Sophia Augusta’s father, Franz Carl Preumayr, was born in 1782 in Ehrenbreitstein, Germany.

Franz Carl Preumayr in his youth. (Music and Theatre Library, Stockholm)

He and his two brothers, Conrad and Carl, were all extremely talented musicians who came to Sweden in 1802 to join the Royal Orchestra. Franz was considered to be the best bassoonist ever in Sweden. He was also a talented virtuoso. Later, he became director of the military corps of music, an esteemed choir leader, and a composer. His brother Conrad was just as talented but died at age 44. His brother, Carl, was foremost a violoncellist but took over the position of playing the bassoon after Conrad’s death. He was also employed as a singer at the Royal Opera.

Franz Carl Preumayr in uniform.

Franz married Sophia Crusell, the daughter of Sweden’s most famous clarinet player and composer, Bernhard Crusell. They had three children, Anna Mathilda, (b. 1822), Carl Bernhard Edvard, (b. 1825), and Sophia Augusta (b. 1827).

Franz Preumayr’s European Concert Tour, his Travel Journal, and his Meeting with Franz Liszt

 In October of 1829, Franz took off on a 1-year concert tour around Europe. He left his wife and his 3 young children in Stockholm. In his travel journal, he wrote the following on the day he left Sweden (Malmö, October 19, 1829):

“In a moment I shall be separated from Sweden, a country where I have all that in my life I hold dear, and I confess that it costs me indescribably much to leave it. Farewell, my dear Sweden! Farewell wife, children, parents, kin, and friends! May I soon get to see you all again!!!!!!!” (Translation, Agrell, 2015)


Franz Carl Preumayer’s Travel Journal 1829-1830 (Agrell, 2015)

But as we know, Franz had a successful concert tour and returned home the following October. His travel journal is very interesting. He describes how he was at a private soiree and heard the 19-year-old Franz Liszt play the piano. He was utterly annoyed:

“…then a young man played, with the appearance of a real fanatic or a runaway and crazy student. Probably, what he was playing on the piano, accompanied by a violin and a bass, was his own composition consisting of an introduction, a theme with variations, and a menuette. His theatricals and his playing was the most affected I have ever experienced. He worked with his body so that the sweat ran from his forehead, he stared like a maniac with his eyes turned to the ceiling. Now and then he glanced at the ladies, probably to see if such high sensitivity and expression had been communicated.

For my part, I felt really bad about these endless follies and, with pleasure, I observed that even the audience, every single one, with visible impatience were waiting for it to end. Depressed and deeply annoyed at the fool, who I think is called Litz, if I am not mistaken, I had a hard time focusing on the following, twittering Italian Quartet.”

What happened to the children Preumayr?

Anna Mathilda

Anna Mathilda was fortunate to have a collection of musical notes dedicated to her. In 1836, when she was 14, the 22-year-old German flautist, Carl Ludwig Heinrich Winkler, who had just joined the Royal Orchestra in Stockholm, published the following musical notes:

Francaises, Waltzes, and Anglaises danced in Stockholm in 1836, composed or arranged for Pianoforte and dedicated to
demoiselle Anna Mathilda Preumayr by C. Winckler.
32 skilling.

Maybe he was an admirer or maybe she was also a great musician and he wanted to show his appreciation. But even if she was good at playing the pianoforte, there would be no concert tour through Europe for her. She did what most girls did at this time. On December 18, 1845, she married the secretary of the Royal War Council, Lars Johan Rhodin. Two years later, on September 30, 1847, they had a daughter, Anna Sofia.

Carl Bernhard Edvard

Carl Bernhard Edvard also did not have a musical career. He married Johanna Gustava Elisabeth Fogelström and became a director of the Swedish Telegraph.

Sophia Augusta

And Sophia Augusta? What happened to her? Unfortunately, not even 2 months after becoming an aunt to little Anna Sofia, she suddenly took ill with stomach ache and fever. On the 21st of November 1847, she died from gastric fever, a catch-all name for diseases such as salmonella infections and typhoid. Her funeral was in St Jacob’s church where, 3 years earlier, she had been confirmed with the other girls. The funeral took place on the day that would have been her 20th birthday.

Post scriptum

Sophia Augusta is one of those girls whose life was cut short and didn’t leave many traces – only birth, confirmation, and death records and an obituary in the paper. It is of course possible that there are descendants of her siblings who might have collections of letters, diaries, or portraits of her. I just imagine that she did have an exciting life with both her maternal grandfather and her father being famous musicians. I also imagine that everyone in the family played instruments and sang.

And I imagined that she went to Ladugårdsgärde for the celebration of King Carl XIV Johan’s 25-year’s rein.

Besides several newspaper articles describing this event, Lotten Ulrich and her sister Edla walked to Ladugårdsgärde the day before the event. Lotten writes in her diary that she was sitting by her window in their summer house at Gröndal on Djurgården and could hear the army bands rehearsing. She and her sister decided to walk over to Ladugårdsgärde to get a good view. They sat down on some rocks under two spruce trees and could follow everything with their binoculars. She wrote in her diary:

”It was a rehearsal before the service that was to be held in solemn forms the next day in the presence of the whole Royal Family. Five hundred singers with the best voices from all the regiments, led by the distinguished Mr. Preumayr, would sing hymns and the National Anthem.” (Östman, 2015)


Enquist, I and H. Veslemöy. Preumayrs Resedagbok. Dokumenterat 49 (2017) p. 13-16.

Preumayr, F. C. Reisejournal 1829–30, 4 vols., Rare Collections, MS 329 (Stockholm: Music and Theatre Library of Sweden, 1829–30).

Agrell, D. C. Repertoire for a Swedish bassoon virtuoso: approaching early nineteenth-century 

works composed for Frans Preumayr with an original Grenser and Wiesner bassoon. 2015. Dissertation, Leiden University.

Östman, M. Systrarna Ulrichs Dagböcker. 2015.

Numerous articles in digitized Swedish newspapers describing the event at Ladugårdsgärde on 2 July 1843.


Carolina Wester’s family at Loddby and the accident in August 1831

It is a beautiful, late-summer Sunday. The Wester family at Loddby has attended church and listened to Pastor Mobeck’s sermon about the importance of rest and of keeping the Sabbath. Now they are back at Loddby and that is what they are doing. At least the women, resting. The three young men have decided to go fishing. The matriarch, widow, and owner of Loddby, Carolina Wester, and her daughter Caroline are sitting in the sunny parlor downstairs.

Sofia Ulrich is upstairs with the younger girls: Ulla, Ida, and Lotten Wester. They are sitting by the window, talking. Through the trees, they can see the sun glitter on the bay and the small rowboat in the distance. Sofia can’t tell if it is Berndt or Carl or Markus who is rowing. They are too far out on the bay. Suddenly there seems to be some commotion in the boat – is someone standing up? Then things happen fast. For a split second, it looks like the boat is listing, and then, with horror, she realizes that the boat is capsizing.

Lotten Ulrich’s diary, 1 September 1831

“Today, we received very sad news, that little Markus Wester has drowned at his mother’s Loddby and that both Berndt Forsgrén and Ulla’s fiancé Hülphers almost drowned as well. Poor Tante Wester who has just lost a beloved son in such a horrible way, and poor Caroline! Imagine losing one’s brother and fear for one’s husband’s life, especially as she is still ill, for it has not even been two weeks since she gave birth at Loddby to a baby who died the following day, and such a more heartfelt loss as they have been married for 3 years without being able to have any children, something they really wanted.

Poor Ulla, who lost a brother and was close to have her fiancé perish. She was with her sisters, Ida and Lotten, and my aunt Sofia upstairs and saw from the windows the little rowing boat capsize. They hurried down and sent a boat to the rescue, but the distressed men were several hundred meters from the shore. Berndt was about to take his last breath when the boat reached them. Young Hülphers, who was swimming towards the shore carrying Markus on his back, was completely exhausted and when the help reached him, Markus was already dead in his arms. Because of all the water he had swallowed and the horror he had experienced, he had passed out and died.”

The Owners of Loddby

Augusta’s brother-in-law, Gustaf Lejdenfrost, bought Loddby from Caroline Wester in 1832 and Augusta moved to Loddby in 1835. Augusta lived at Loddby with her mother, brother, and Lejdenfrost until she married. But who were Caroline Wester and all the persons named in Lotten Ulrich’s diary? And who was Lotten Ulrich?

Lotten Ulrich’s Diary

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. The two sisters’ diaries were published in  Systrarnas Ulrichs dagböcker by Margareta Östman. When the king died in 1844, the family had to move to Norrköping (close to Loddby) and Augusta’s best friend in Stockholm, Lotten Westman, encouraged Augusta to get acquainted with the two sisters.

Geneology and Relationships – For those who are interested…

Sofia Vilhelmina Ulrich (1798-1866)

Who was Lotten Ulrich’s aunt Sofia Ulrich? She was indeed one of Lotten Ulrich’s father’s sisters (there were 9 children in the family). Sofia was born in Norrköping and in 1831, at the age of 33, she was living with the Ulrich family at Loddby. How was she acquainted with the Wester family? We don’t know.

Carolina Wester (1786-1875)

The matriarch, widow, and owner of Loddby, Carolina Wester, was born Heitmüller. In 1807, she married the 34-year-old widow, Markus Wester (1773-1820), who owned the ironworks at Molnebo. Together, they had 8 children.

  1. Daniel Kristian (1808-1813)
  2. Kristina Hedda Karolina ”Caroline” (1811-1891)
  3. Karl Erik (1813-1864)
  4. Lovisa Ulrika Maria ”Ulla” (1814-1886)
  5. Aronina Arvida Gabriella ”Ida” (1815-1886)
  6. Markusina Charlotta ”Lotten” (1816- 1839)
  7. Markus (1817-1831)
  8. Hjalmar (1819-1824)

Just a side note about names. I have never seen the names of Aronina and Markusina before. But just as the female versions of Christian, Carl, and Joseph are Christina, Carolina, and Josephina, I guess one can add “ina” to any male name – Aron and Markus become Aronina and Markusina.


Carolina Wester (1786-1875)
Markus Wester (1773-1820)

Caroline Wester (1811-1891)

Kristina Hedda Karolina ”Caroline” was the oldest daughter in the family. In 1829, she married Berndt Gustaf Forsgrén (1799-1888) who was a silk and clothing merchant in Stockholm. His store was located at the excellent address of Stortorget 1 in the Old Town, right across from the bourse. In the summer of 1831, Caroline must have stayed with her mother at Loddby for the birth of her first child. And now she had lost both her baby and her brother. It could have been even worse. She could have lost her husband too in the boating accident.

So how did life turn out for Caroline and Berndt? According to the census records in Stockholm, the couple had 9 children and, in 1845, the family lived at Stora Nygatan 22. Berndt Forsgrén was very successful and became extremely wealthy. One of their daughters, Carolina Elisabet, married Erik Swartz (b. 1817), and their son, Carl Swartz, became Sweden’s prime minister in 1917.

Berndt Forsgrén also had a successful brother, merchant Carl Robert Forsgrén (1797-1853). He married Sofia Ulrich’s younger sister, Anna Eleonora Lowisa (1805-1853) in 1826. Their granddaughter was Anna Whitlock, a famous woman’s right advocate and suffragette who founded a modern school for girls in 1878.

Ulla Wester (1814-1886)

Lovisa Ulrika Maria ”Ulla” was 17 years old in the summer of 1831. She was engaged to textile dyer Carl Abraham Hülphers (1806-1860), the young man who tried to rescue Markus Wester. Ulla and Carl married in 1833 and had one daughter, Sofia Karolina Lovisa (1835-1885). Sofia married Johan Gustaf Swartz (1819-1885) in 1854.

Interestingly, the daughters of the two sisters, Caroline and Ulla Wester, married the two brothers Swartz (Erik and Johan).

Ida Wester (1815-1886)

Aronina Arvida Gabriella ”Ida” married Frans Adam Björling (1801-1869) in 1842. It was his second marriage. Ida did not have any children but she was a stepmother to her husband’s son, Carl August Theodor. The family owned and lived at Slagsta, an estate south of Stockholm.

Lotten Wester (1816- 1839)

Markusina Charlotta ”Lotten”, the youngest daughter in the family, had a short life. She did not marry and died in Norrköping at the age of 22 from dysentery (Swedish: rödsot).

The image of the 3 men in a rowboat is from a larger painting by Josefina Holmlund (b. 1827):


The Silkworms at Bellevue

Bellevue in 1856. Oil painting by Erik Westerling (1819-1857).

May God Preserve our Silk Worms

Father told us last Monday when he was here, that the kind pastor, Mr. Lindström, who my sister and I have recently been acquainted with, had visited father at the palace that same day in order to ask if he could give us some silkworms that he couldn’t keep as he will spend the summer in Uppsala. Father had been kind to answer and thank him on our behalf, whereupon Mr. Lindstrom had promised to send them to us in a few days. Imagine our joy in owning these insects and being able to study their interesting transformations. May God preserve them for us because cultivating them requires special care of which none of us have any knowledge. (Lotten Ulrich’s diary, Stockholm, 31 May 1833, my translation)

Imagine my surprise when I approached the carton with the silkworms and only saw the two small, and instead of the two large worms, two cocoons of yellow silk. I immediately understood that they had started to spin. (Lotten Ulrich’s diary, Stockholm, 9 July 1833, my translation)

Lotten Ulrich (1806-1887) and her sister 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. The family later moved to Norrköping. You can read more about them and their connection with Augusta in a previous blog entry.

So, was the silkworm an upper-class, exotic pet in the 1830s? And were there any mulberry trees in Stockholm so Lotten and Edla had something to feed them?

The Swedish Association for Domestic Sericulture

The Swedish Association for Domestic Sericulture, that is, silk farming, was founded in 1830. The driving force behind the association was a young woman by the name of Charlotte Östberg. She had previously, and anonymously, published a book about silk farming and she also practiced it in Stockholm. The founding members of the association were the husband of Charlotte Östberg and among others, professors Jacob Berzelius and Nils Wilhelm Almroth (the father of Augusta’s friends Ebba and Emma Almroth). By 1841, Professor Carl Henrik Boheman, the father of Augusta’s best friends Hildur and Hildegard Boheman) had also joined the board.

The Silk production at Bellevue

The association was to encourage silk production in Sweden by the planting of mulberry trees, to publish information on silkworm care and, depending on its means, provided those interested in silk production with plants and/or mulberry seeds. By 1841, the association had distributed over 50,000 seedlings.

The patron of the association was the Swedish Crown Princess Josephine. She was very much interested in silk production and her husband, Crown Prince Oscar, provided the association with land for planting mulberry trees at Bellevue, a royal park outside Stockholm. Bellevue thus became the center for teaching and promoting silk production in Stockholm.

Crown Princess Josephine’s award medal for the cultivation of silk. 1833.


By 1841, the association realized that only the wealthy had taken up silk production and then, only as an interesting hobby. Still, they concluded, that for the working class to take up silk production, the gentlemen must first cultivate mulberry trees and produce silk before the working class could profit from this new industry.

A thesis on the Swedish sericulture makes for very interesting reading. In summary, Sweden gave up on producing its own silk.

If it hadn’t been for a 190-year-old diary by a girl who described the delight in getting some silkworms, I would never have known about the forest of white mulberry trees at Bellevue in Stockholm. And if I was in Stockholm, I would make an outing to the park and look for any little mulberry tree. Maybe some stump or roots survived and sprouted new trees. From my experience, mulberry trees are almost impossible to get rid of – they really grow like weeds.


Drömmen om svenskt silke. Anders Johansson Åbonde.

Systrarna Ulrichs dagböcker. Margareta Östman.


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.)

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).