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


Two Together - Sepia Saturday 718


Tage & Mattis


In one of my grandfather Gustaf's albums, in among family photos, there are also several photos of people unknown to me. It's also not always clear whether those photos are "private", or were taken in connection with his job as journalist. (Gustaf usually also took his own photos to go with articles he wrote for the newspaper.) Underneath this photo only the first names of the couple are written, though, so I assume they were personal friends of his: "Tage and Mattis" ("Mattis" probably a nickname, short for Matilda?). My guess is that it is from around 1930 - comparing it to the wedding photos of my own grandparents Gustaf and Sally, and Sally's sister Hildur and her husband (below), as well as the prompt photo for this week's Sepia Saturday.

Gustaf and Sally, 23 September 1930

Olle and Hildur, 30 December 1930

Linking to Sepia Saturday 718 - Two Together


Easter Cards from 1914 - Sepia Saturday 716

As Easter is coming up next weekend, I thought I'd share some Easter Cards sent to my great-uncle Gustav Ekman in 1914, when he was living at Backa, Brålanda (Dalsland, Sweden) in 1914. Easter that year was 10-13 April. 

I have shared these cards before, but not for Sepia Saturday. 


Happy Easter 1914! 
from Carl Emanuelson

(Gustaf's older brother)


Happy Easter 1914! from Sally
(Gustaf's younger half-sister -
my grandmother, 14 years old in 1914.)

  G.068.01                           Hildur Söderberg (*)

Happy Easter & best wishes from all of us / Oscar
Norrköping, 11.4.1914
(another older brother)


Happy Easter! 1914
from Hildur
(his step-sister, 22 years old -
half-sister to Sally on their mother's side)


Happy Easter from Ida & Gustav
(Could be his stepmother's sister
and her husband, but these were
common names, so hard to be sure.)


Fridenslund, 31/3 1914.
Happy Easter from the Blomgren family.
(Unknown to me, but I just checked the name
Fridenslund, and there is/was a farm by that
name in the same village as the farm Storegården,
where his brother Carl and his step-mother and
younger half-siblings lived.)

    Hildur Söderberg (*)                                                      G.070.01    

Happy Easter from Alfhild, Ivan and Ruth
(I don't know who they were)


Dear Gustaf, 
We were going to send you the money Gustav, but we don't know where to send them. If you would be kind enough to send me a card and tell me where you are, we will send them soon.
Best wishes from Erik Johnsson.

The postmark starts with VÄRM... as in Värmlands Nysäter, so most likely this card is from the family he worked for there during 1913. From previous cards I've deduced that Gustaf moved from there to Brålanda around New Year 1913/14. Obviously they had his address there, but perhaps they were not sure if he was still in the same place. Or maybe they needed a post office address to send money - I'm not sure how such transactions were made back in those days.

Bästa Gustav,
Vi skulle sända pengarna till dig Gustav, men vi vet ej vart vi skall sända dem, så om du ville vara snäll och sända mig ett kort vart du är så vore du snäll, då skall vi sända dem strax. 
Många hälsningar från Erik Johnsson

Poststämpeln börjar på VÄRM... som i Värmlands Nysäter, så förmodligen är det från Gustafs arbetsgivare där under 1913. Av tidigare vykort har framgått att Gustaf flyttade till Brålanda runt nyår 1913/14. Tydligen hade de adressen dit han flyttade, men de var kanske osäkra på om han fortfarande var kvar där. (Eller kanske behövdes det en postkontors-adress för att sända pengar?)

(*)  Hildur Söderberg (1885-1976) was a Swedish painter and illustrator. She studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm between 1906-1911, and around the time of WWI she was also living in Stockholm. She also made illustrations for short stories in a Christmas magazine.

Below are two more cards by her, also sent to Gustav at Brålanda by his brothers Carl and Oscar, but not dated. As it's unlikely they both sent him two Easter cards each in 1914, I guess these two are probably from 1915:



Hildur Söderberg var en svensk målare, tecknare och illustratör, född 1885, död 1976. Hon studerade vid Kungliga Konsthögskolan i Stockholm 1906-1911, och var vid tiden för första världskriget bosatt i Stockholm. Som illustratör utförde hon bl.a. novell-illustrationer i tidskriften Julhälsning.

Linking to Sepia Saturday 716 


My Mum as Teacher - Sepia Saturday 715


My mother, born 1930, graduated from teacher training college in the spring of 1952. Here she is on her graduation day together with her parents. Her father was a school teacher as well. Her mother, before she got married, had had a secretarial job.

In the autumn of 1952, my mum moved to a small countryside village for her first teaching job. It was a very small school. From the few photos in her photo album, it seems her pupils were all ages, from beginners (7 year olds) to their early teens. (Rather reminding of Anne of Green Gables or Little House of the Prairie kind of schools.)

The school house

"My children"

"First year"


(Drawing by my mum in her album)

The school house from another angle. Photo taken when my dad (then her boyfriend) and his parents came to visit. My parents with my grandmother Sally +  my grandparents' dog Zepp (a collie). Photo taken by my grandfather Gustaf.  (My parents got engaged at Christmas that year, 1952.)

As teacher, my mum lived in this small cottage next to a farm house.

"View from my window"

"Winter break"

At the end of the spring term 1953, she took the older of her pupils on a school trip to Gothenburg.

Photo from tourist boat 'Paddan'  in Gothenburg

While I don't know how many of the young people aboard "belong" to my mum, I think I can spot evidence that her fiancé joined them for this boat trip: Dark-haired young man with sunglasses, next to dark-haired young woman - on the right, 7th row or so from the front...

Linking to Sepia Saturday 715


Smoking a Pipe - Sepia Saturday 714

My grandfather Gustaf used to smoke a pipe. I remember it from my own childhood, although I don't think he usually smoked a lot in the house. But the photos above, from his photo albums, do confirm his habit. I also had a look in his old cash-books to see if I could find out when he started. In his notes from 1923-25, there are no posts mentioning tobacco of any kind. From January 1926 onward, it seems he started buying cigars now and then. (That was the year when he started working full time as a journalist...) In January and February 1928, both cigars and 'tobacco' are mentioned - but from March that year and onward, it seems he kept to pipe tobacco. However, I see no purchase of a pipe mentioned...  Maybe someone gave him one for Christmas in 1927...? (Might even have been his girlfriend - my grandmother - if she preferred the smell of pipe smoke to cigars...)

The upper left photo in the collage is one of my favourites. I've shown it here before, for example for Sepia Saturday 669. It's my grandparents Sally and Gustaf in the spring of 1930 (not yet married, but engaged since the previous autumn) at the newly finished well on the plot where they built their house that spring/summer of 1930. The well was built by their future brother-in-law, Olle (engaged to Sally's sister Hildur), carpenter by trade. (To build the house itself, they hired someone else. - It's not the house in the background, that belonged to someone else.) 

Linking to Sepia Saturday 714


Going to Work - Sepia Saturday 713

I have written about my grandfather Gustaf's career before, for example last summer in a post for Sepia Saturday 675. He started out as a shoemaker's apprentice in his early teens, but what he really wanted to do was write. He gradually managed to shift to a career as journalist, by taking a few correspondence courses, and starting out by freelancing until eventually he got a full time employment as journalist at a local newspaper in the nearest town (1926). He also usually took his own photos when he was out and about on various jobs. 

He was more often behind the camera rather than in front of it, and I haven't got a lot of photos of himself related to his job. But there are these:

After he left the shoemaker's business, he had a room at the farm where his childhood friend Nils and his family (mother, two sisters and two uncles) lived - at first probably in exchange for also helping out a bit at the farm. This photo shows him at his desk in that room (which was probably in a small separate cottage rather than in the main farm house). 

(He was later to marry Nils' sister Sally, my grandmother; but I think when he first moved in at the farm they were still just friends.) 

This is a photo of him at work from later years
(not sure when or where)

This is not my grandfather, but one of his colleagues at the newspaper where he worked between 1926-1938. (In 1938 he was recruited to another, bigger newspaper in the same town.)