A 'Swenglish' journey through family photos, notes and postcards from the early 20th century.

2012-11-24

Sepia Saturday: Sisters

I found the blog Sepia Saturday, “Using old images as prompt for new reflections” and thought I might perhaps join in their weekly meme from time to time.

The prompt this week was a portrait of two little girls. My contribution will be the portrait below, of  my grandmother Sally’s elder half-sisters Ester (born 1876, left) and Gerda (born 1881, right).

The portrait is not dated but as Gerda emigrated to the United States in 1902, it must be from before that.

Ester o Gerda porträtt A

The photographer was Hilda Kuylenstjerna. A bit of research on the internet informs me that she was born 1855 in Ulricehamn. Kuylenstjerna was her maiden surname and in 1890 she was still single. The portrait studio in Borås was established in 1886.

Ester o Gerda porträtt B

 

Some New Old News:

A few weeks ago I got a nice surprise as I received an email from a distant relative I did not know about before, who had happened to find this blog, and recognized the people in it! He’s the grandson of the eldest of my grandmother’s half-sisters; and he was able to provide a few more facts for me:

Ester was matron at an agricultural school.

Gerda, between her stay in the United States, and before she became housekeeper for Folke and Estelle Bernadotte in Stockholm, worked as travel-companion for various rich British ladies travelling on the continent and within the British Commonwealth.

Emma, as I already knew, was married to the owner of a country store. What I did not know was that he also opened a branch store in another village, and his wife’s brother Oscar became the shopkeeper there.

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In Swedish / På svenska:

Porträttet av min farmors halvsystrar Ester (född 1876) och Gerda (född 1881) är odaterat, men måste vara taget innan Gerda for till Amerika, dvs senaste 1902, eller tidigare. Anteckningen på baksidan är min pappas. Min egen slutsats efter jämförelse med andra porträtt (bl.a. det signerade av Ester nedan) är att det är Ester t.v., Gerda t.h.

Fotograf var Hilda Kuylenstjerna, Borås. Det finns åtskilliga porträtt av denna kvinnliga fotograf på nätet men de flesta odaterade. En sida från Västergötlands museum säger att ateljén etablerades 1886. Från andra källor framgår att hennes fullständiga namn var Hilda Georgina Christina Kuylenstjerna, född 1855 in Ulricehamn. Hon var dotter till handlanden i Ulricehamn Anders Carl Adolf Kuylenstierna, född i Stockholm 1824. År 1890 var hon ensamstående.

Ester porträtt A

A later portrait of Ester, by another photographer.

Detta är ett senare porträtt av Ester, taget av fotograf Oscar Rylander i Jönköping – Kungl Hoffotograf.

Ester porträtt B

Ny information

För några veckor sedan fick jag ett intressant mail från en släkting som jag tidigare inte haft några uppgifter om, men som råkat hitta den här bloggen på nätet – en sonson till den äldsta systern, Emma. Han kunde fylla i några av mina luckor beträffande Gerda och Ester, och även brodern Oscar.

Ester arbetade som husmor på en lantbruksskola.

Vad gäller Gerda, så har jag ju varit osäker på vad hon sysslande med mellan sin första period i USA (ca 1902-1913) och fram tills hon började arbeta för Folke och Estelle Bernadotte. Jag visste från vykorten att hon reste en hel del även under första världskriget och 1920-talet, men inte vem hon då arbetade för. Jag har fortfarande inga namn på arbetsgivare; men tydligen arbetade hon som “sällskapsdam åt rika engelska ladies som reste runt i Samväldet o USA. Hon skötte kläder o packande, biljetter mm.” Mycket intressant att få veta, det förklarar vykorten från kontinenten även under krigsåren. Jag vet nu också att Gerdas ställning i det Bernadotteska hushållet tydligen var som husföreståndarinna i deras hem på Dragongården i Stockholm.

Deras äldre syster Emma var gift med Brynolf som var lanthandlare i Floby – det visste jag sedan tidigare. Det jag nu också fått veta är att Oscar kom att bli föreståndare för en filial till denna lanthandel i Odensberg (ca 1904).

Säkerligen kommer jag att återkomma till dessa uppgifter framöver i samband med fortsatt publicering av vykort och foton.

 

21 comments:

  1. The photo of Ester and Gerda is a perfect choice for this week's photo. Their expressions are very serene and beautifully caught by the camera. How wonderful to make a new connection with a relative through your blog. I'm sure that surprise makes the blogging even more enjoyable.

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    1. Thank you Helen for visiting and commenting here; and yes, that email certainly proved that it can be "worth while" putting the old postcards and some of the other stories out on the internet.

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  2. Great pictures, and I love the bilingual blogging :)

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    1. Thanks. Going bilingual with this blog seemed the best alternative even if it takes twice the work. Most of the family history is Swedish, but the postcards that inspired me to start the blog were collected by, and written to/from travelling family members.

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  3. Welcome to Sepia Saturday! These are both lovey photographs. The girls have such sweet faces and their mouths (gently pursed lips) are very similar.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, the sisters look very much alike in many photos, which is a bit of a problem since very few of the old photos have any notes at all attached - like names, dates or places.

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  4. What struck me about the sisters' photo was that you could almost mistake them for boys. Valkommen to Sepia Saturday.

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    1. That never occurred to me - and I still don't see it. (Perhaps because I think I see a little of myself in them!)

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  5. what amazes me is how good the photos are when taken way back then. these are great

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    1. Yes, the professional photos from back then are often of quite astonishing quality. We should be glad they only had black-and-white back then because the earliest colour photos are quite a different story. Some of my photos from the 1970s have colour distortions that no modern digital magic quite succeeds in putting right ;)

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  6. Such pretty girls with especially pretty lips.

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  7. Lovely looking lasses, and an interesting discovery story of more relations. :)

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  8. I think it is interesting to see work by a woman photographer.

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    1. As I was looking for information on her, I got thinking of an excellent Swedish film about a woman photographer in the early 1900s... Everlasting Moments (Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick) by Jan Troell, 2008. Follow the link to IMDd.

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  9. Welcome to Sepia Saturday! I'm so glad you joined. And I'm so glad I discovered your blog. My paternal great-grandparents were born in Sweden.

    Your photos are beautiful. Ester and Gerda were very pretty.

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    1. Thanks Jana. Do you know where in Sweden your relatives came from?

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  10. Isn't it wonderful when you get a surprise e-mail like that! How great to learn some new things about your relatives, and what a stunning photograph that top image is.
    My husband's father is a Dane, and I've done much research online in the Danish Archives. His aunt was also called, Gerda.

    I see you're familiar with Ann Wengerd - (the Beachy photographs). They are wonderful too, aren't they?

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    1. Kat, I only just recently found Sepia Saturday and this is the first time I'm linking to it, but I hope to get better acquainted with some of the other participants later on.

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  11. A beautiful photo to use as an introduction to Sepia Saturday, Monica. The photographer had a fine artistic eye. There were very few women in photography in that era.

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  12. Ester and Gerda are very pretty and congratulations on having contact with a "new cousin". Welcome to Sepia Saturday, Monica :-) Jo

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  13. Hello Monica and welcome to Sepia Saturday. You have my middle name even! Your sister photo is precious they are just perfectly on theme!

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