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


Pandora's Box Re-Opened - Sepia Saturday 641

Last week, for Sepia Saturday 640, I introduced my paternal grandparents: Gustaf (born 1904), who grew up in a small 'croft' cottage with his grandparents (as his mother had to move to a mental hospital some time in his childhood/youth); and Sally (born 1900), who grew up on a farm in the same village. From photos, I've concluded that Gustaf was friends with Sally's younger brother Nils (born 1902) since childhood; but that with the age difference between Gustaf and Sally, serious romance between the two of them is unlikely to have developed until he had reached a more mature age. 

During the past week, I've been searching for further clues to how and when their relationship developed, in some old letters. But while I keep pondering about that, I decided that for this week's Sepia Saturday, I'll re-post an old post that I wrote 10 years ago, on my other blog.  

[Originally posted on Friday, 27 April 2012
Opening Pandora’s Box



Pandora was given a beautiful container which she was not to open under any circumstance. Impelled by her curiosity given to her by the gods, Pandora opened it, and all evil contained therein escaped and spread over the earth. She hastened to close the container, but the whole contents had escaped, except for one thing that lay at the bottom, which was the angel of Hope named Astrea.

No, this is not really Pandora’s box – it’s a small treasure chest that belonged to my grandmother Sally. This was one of the first objects I took home with me from the House after my father died last summer, knowing it to hold some old notebooks and other memorabilia. Until now, however, I haven’t really looked at the contents more than to establish that yes, there were notebooks, and some various old letters and cards and press cuttings and such. 

But as this week I’ve been getting on with the old postcards, I decided to take a closer look at the letters in that chest to see if there were any that related to the same period as the postcards. I found some more postcards of later date than those in the albums, but only two letters written by my grandmother’s sisters.

Most of the letters kept seem to be correspondence between my grandparents in the late 1920’s, before their marriage. (Which may still hold secrets to be revealed – I have not yet read them.)*
*(2022: Now I have!)

However, I also found some other documents I did not know were there, and those are what inspired this post.

I’ve known since early on in life that my grandfather’s mother and uncle both ended their days in a mental hospital. It was not a secret, but also not much talked about. In later years, I understood from my father that back in his childhood and youth too, these things had only been talked of “in a hushed voice”. My grandfather Gustaf was born “out of wedlock” and was raised primarily by his grandparents, while his mother was in mental hospital.

After my dad died last year, I found two files with notes on family history collected by him and his father before him. I was struck by the fact that while my grandfather had dug deeper into the history of earlier generations than I had been aware of, I found no mention of his own mother among those notes. I assumed he might have found that to come a bit too “close”. (I only need to look at myself now to understand that… I’m finding it a lot easier to dig into the history of my grandparents’ generation just now, rather than my own parents who only recently died.)

While trying to lay the puzzle of what I know and don’t know, I have wondered sometimes what kind of mental illness(es) it was that my grandfather’s mother and her brother suffered from; and if it might perhaps be possible to track down some old hospital records to find out a bit more - some time. (It’s not exactly been at the top of my priority list.)

However – I just found out I’m already in possession of more information than I was aware of. In that old chest, there was a scroll of rolled-up old letters, which I’d not properly examined before. When I sat down to sort these out, I realised that besides two or three written by Gerda to her parents – not really saying very much – the rest were official reports from the mental hospital sent to her parents.

Moreover, among the notebooks, I found one which contained my grandfather’s very detailed account of his impressions and thoughts from when he, in 1923, a week before his 19th birthday, for the first time went to visit his mother at the mental hospital Restad in Vänersborg; accompanied by his grandfather (the grandmother having died the year before). He also went there again on his own the following year, and made notes then as well.


“There is no risk that a visit could in any way make their condition worse.” 3/3 1923 – stamped by the chief physician at Vänersborg’s Hospital and Asylum.
My grandfather’s notebook on top. It’s written in such tiny handwriting that I had to use a big magnifying glass to be able to read it.

While there is no specific diagnosis mentioned in any of these documents, the official reports state that Gerda was suffering from visual and audio hallucinations, was often aggressive but also passive and uninterested and mostly staying in bed. She seems to have grown worse over the years and at no time do the staff express any hope of her getting better.

The few letters which she wrote herself to her parents and her son are from the earlier years. The first report and letter are from January 1919. This could mean she was first admitted to the hospital in 1918, when she was 40 and my grandfather Gustaf 14.


From Gustaf’s notebook it seems there was a time in his childhood when his mother was living at home and working at factory in the village (he was trying to find out when visiting her at the hospital, if she still remembered those days too). 

Her brother was committed to the same mental hospital already back in 1909 or earlier.

The hospital had separate wards for men and women, and the brother and sister seem not to have been in contact with each other. All the official reports include notes on both of them, though. On each report there is a typed line that says: “Enquiries about patients should be made by letter, not telephone, and must include return postage.” The actual reports, however, are all written by hand.

The brother was obviously physically strong and usually spent his days doing outdoors work; but is said to be performing his tasks “like an automaton”. (I was a bit surprised to find that word used in psychiatric context back in the early 1920s.) He suffered from strange delusions and kept talking nonsense about wars and of going hunting for exotic animals like elephants and tigers. His condition seems to have remained more or less unchanged through the years.


I went searching on the internet for some facts about the place. The Hospital/Asylum at Restad was built between 1900-1905. It was a huge institution which housed over 1000 patients, long-term and short-term. Back then it was a very modern facility for its time, situated near the river and surrounded by a big park.


It was a self-supporting community. They grew their own crops, kept their own livestock, cooked their own food, baked their own bread; there were workshops for carpentry, paintwork, tailoring, shoemaking and whatever. They had their own water tower and electricity and even their own tram system for transportation of food and washing. (You can see the tracks in the photo above, I think.)

What I have not been able to find out on the internet is what kind of treatments they gave the patients back in those early days, except trying to keep them occupied!

Gerda seems to mostly have talked of the nurses as being kind, and had no complaints about how she was treated, except perhaps for one remark that her son makes note of on his second visit in 1924: “The other day they had put Gerda on a table and held her there. ‘I suppose they were angry with me,’ she said.”

For young Gustaf it was obviously a heartwrenching experience to visit his mother in this environment, among a lot of other mentally ill people.

Between 1906 and 1957, nearly 2000 people were buried in the hospital’s own cemetery, most of them anonymously, their crosses only marked as male or female. In 2009, a memorial was raised to honour them all posthumously:


My grandfather seems to have arranged for a proper gravestone for his mother though (she died in 1933); and later when her brother died (in 1956), his name too was included on that headstone. (*)

While Gerda spent perhaps about 15 years in this institution, her brother lived there for 47 years or more.

From Wikipedia I learn that the first antipsychotic drugs weren’t discovered until in the 1950’s. When they were introduced, they revolutionized psychiatric treatment.

In 1989, most of the psychiatric care (I assume a lesser number of hospitalised patients by then) was moved from Restad to a new general hospital.

Currently, the old Asylum area is being turned into a modern housing estate with the old buildings now used for hotels and businesses and cultural activites etc.


In 2011, a brand new unit for psychiatric care was built  quite close to the old one. This will take 82 patients, with 54 of those places set aside for forensic psychiatry. (Compare that to 1080 back in the early 1900s.)

image image

The first three photos in this post are my own; the rest I found at nyheter.vgregion.se, www.restadgard.se and www.nusjukvarden.se (2022: These links no longer work)

In the summer of 2015, my brother and I visited the Restad estate of "today", now housing a variety of offices and businesses:

Lots of old red brick buildings dating back to when it was an Asylum. Also still vast park areas with old trees and lawns, and some modern sculptures/memorials added.

Surrounded by vast open areas and various small roads and footpaths.

We also went looking for the old cemetery

(*)  Although we knew that there once was a proper grave stone rather than just an anonymous cross to mark the grave of our great-grandmother, we couldn't find it now. All the standing stones with names on them seemed to belong to staff who had lived and worked there. Changes were probably made in connection with putting up the new memorial in 2009. (By then, it had been a long time since anyone in our family last visited 'our' grave. I know I visited it with my parents back in my childhood/youth, but when coming back there in 2015, I had no idea of the exact location.)

Linking to Sepia Saturday 641


Old Friends - Sepia Saturday 640

Looking for photos of "three men" for Sepia Saturday 640, this one came to mind for me.

Med Nils och Gustaf, omkring 1922
With Nils and Gustaf, around 1922

It's in an album put together for my paternal grandfather Gustaf, for his 50th birthday in 1954. The album itself seems to have been a gift from 'the Swedish League of Journalists' (he was a journalist), but the photos were probably put in by my grandmother Sally (or else by Gustaf himself). The three young men in the photo are my grandfather (born 1904), my grandmother's brother Nils (born 1902), and another Gustaf (surname and age unknown to me). 

In the same album, I also found two out of the three childhood photos of my grandfather which I think are all that exist, and from which I have drawn the conclusion that he must have been friends with my grandmother's younger brother ever since their childhood. With his future wife Sally being four years older than him, it won't have been until he was grown up that romantic feelings developed between them. He also came from poorer circumstances than she did. Anyway, they did not get engaged until  she was 29, and he had turned 25. And got married a year later, in 1930.

I've probably shared these photos before, maybe even for Sepia Saturday, but I think it may be time to bring them together in one post and introduce my grandfather a bit more.

Den grå stugan - barndomshemmet
The grey cottage - the childhood home

This is  the small 'croft' cottage where my grandfather Gustaf lived with his grandparents, and to begin with also his mother and uncle. The grandfather, Alfred Thulin, was a (part-time) soldier and a stone mason. His wife's name was Rebecca. Gustaf's mother (Gerda)* and uncle both suffered from mental illness. Both moved to a mental hospital some time in Gustaf's childhood or youth, and ended up living the rest of their lives there. Gustaf, born 'out of wedlock', was chiefly raised by his grandparents. I have never seen any photo of neither his mother nor his grandparents.

 *(Sorry about any confusion that may arise from several different people in my family history being named Gustaf and Gerda... Very common names back then!)

Gustaf's father was a farmer, or son of a farmer. I think his mother Gerda was working for him/them when she got pregnant. I have very few facts, but he did not marry Gerda but another woman, probably considered more suited to be a farmer's wife. But it seems he did acknowledge that he was the father of Gerda's child, as the boy was named after him. I have my grandfather's old school book (printed in 1910), and the name written on the inside of the cover is "Gustav Johansson". Later in life, he chose to take his mother's surname (Thulin) instead (and also changed the spelling of his first name, it seems). 

Storegården 1907 - The 'Big Farm' 1907

Meanwhile, this is the farm (Storegården = Big Farm) in the same village/neighbourhood where my grandmother Sally grew up. When I first found this photo (not in an album but mounted on cardboard to be hung on a wall), I had no idea who the people were (or where it was from); but later understood that it must be from shortly after the death of my grandmother's father Samuel in 1907. Sitting at the table, the widow: my grandmother's mother Selma. The young woman is her daughter from her first marriage, Hildur; and the children are the children from her marriage to Samuel: Sally (7) and Nils (5). The man with the horse is Samuel's oldest son from his first marriage, Carl, who took over the farm. And together they're the family that remained living together at the farm until 1930, when Sally, Nils and Hildur all got married within a couple of months. (Carl died in 1928, but by then his younger brother Gustaf  - known by readers of this blog as avid postcard collector - was back to take over the farm.) 

Två kamrater - Two comrades

In one of Sally's albums, there is this photo of her brother Nils (right) together with a smaller boy. The text underneath just says Two comrades (friends). I don't know what the occasion might be - start or end of a school year, perhaps? Maybe someone took them shopping for new clothes, and decided it was worth celebrating with a visit to the photographer's as well?

Nils is easy enough to recognise just from family resemblance. However, it took me a long time, and comparison with some other photos, to realise that the smaller boy by his side must be my grandfather Gustaf. It had never really occurred to me (until I started thinking about it) that they had known each other since such a young age. While there was a 4+ years age difference between Sally and Gustaf, there was only 2 years between Nils and Gustaf. Living in the same rural village, not only would they have gone to the same small school - but also attended Sunday school together, and played football together... Shown by two more photos in the album that Gustaf got for his 50th birthday:

I söndagsskolan 1912 - In Sunday School 1912

I recognise Nils as No 2 from the right - and  feel pretty sure now that my grandfather is No 1 on the left, in the sailor's outfit. (Also note that they're wearing the same the caps as in the photo of just the two of them above. If not required, at least obviously the fashion at that time!)

I Längjums fotbollslag - In [the village] football team

Again, I have no problem recognising Nils as the tall young man at the back (probably captain of the team!) And what conviced me that the boy in front of him must be my grandfather is his "stance" - compared to that grown-up photo at the top from 1922! ;-)

I'll write a bit more about my grandfather's life some other time.

For 'contemporary' photos of the Farm vs the small cottage where my grandparents grew up, see an old post from 2012, Storegården och Johannelund. That post is in Swedish but with a summary in English at the bottom.

 Linking to Sepia Saturday 640

Veckans inspirationsbild för Sepia Saturday visar tre män. Det ledde mina tankar till ett foto från ca 1922 av min farfar Gustaf (18) tillsammans med två andra unga män - min farmors yngre bror Nils (20), och ännu en (för mig okänd) Gustaf - i ett fotoalbum som min farfar Gustaf fick på sin 50-årsdag 1954. Själva albumet är en gåva från 'Boråssektionen av S.J.F./Styrelsen'. (Gustaf var journalist, och jag tror S.J.F står för Svenska Journalistförbundet). Fotona lär dock ha satts in antingen av min farmor Sally, eller av Gustaf själv.

I samma album finns också två av de tre barndomsfoton av min farfar, som jag tror är alla som existerar. (Det tredje sitter i ett av min farmors album.) På alla tre är både farfar och Nils med. Av det har jag dragit slutsaten att de måste ha varit vänner ända sen barndomen. Medan Sally var fyra år äldre än Gustaf så skilde det bara två år mellan honom och Nils. Romantik mellan Gustaf och Sally lär knappast ha uppstått innan han så att säga ”vuxit ikapp” henne. Han kom dessutom från fattigare omständigheter än vad hon gjorde. De förlovade sig först när han var 25, och hon 29. (Och gifte sig ett år senare, 1930.) Men att han varit vän till Nils ända sedan barndomen förklarar hur han kom att umgås med familjen långt tidigare.

Jag har delat de här fotona förut i olika sammanhang, även för Sepia Saturday, men tänker att det är på tiden att jag för samman dem i ett och samma inlägg här och introducerar min farfar lite närmare.

Den grå stugan – barndomshemmet

Detta är torpet där Gustaf bodde tillsammans med sina morföräldrar, och till en början (antar jag) även sin mor och morbor. Morfadern, Alfred Thulin, var soldat och stenhuggare. Mormodern hette Rebecka. Gustafs mor Gerda (*) och hennes bror Hjalmar led båda av psykisk ohälsa, och båda flyttade under Gustafs uppväxt till Restads mentalsjukhus i Vänersborg, där de blev kvar resten av sina liv. Gustaf var född 'utom äktenskapet', och uppfostrades av sina morföräldrar. (Mormor Rebecka dog när han var 18.) Jag har aldrig sett något foto av vare sig morföräldrarna eller modern. (Det fanns troligen aldrig några.)

*Beklagar eventuell förvirring som kan uppstå pga  att namnen Gerda och Gustaf är så vanligt förekommande i min släkthistoria! (Två av farmors halvsyskon, som jag skrivit mest om på den här bloggen, hette ju också Gerda och Gustaf...)

Gustafs far var en jordbrukare i trakten – eller son till en. Jag tror att Gerda arbetade som piga på gården när hon blev gravid. Jag vet inte mycket om det, men från vad min pappa berättade vid något tillfälle på äldre dar, så gifte mannen sig med en annan kvinna, som antagligen ansågs mer lämpad för honom som hustru och bondmora. Det verkar dock som att han erkänt sig som far till Gustaf, eftersom pojken fick hans efternamn. Jag har kvar min farfars gamla skolbok (tryckt 1910), och på insidan av pärmen står namnet ”Gustav Johansson” präntat för hand. Senare i livet valde Gustaf att ta sin mors efternamn (Thulin) istället – och ändrade tydligen också stavningen av förnamet. Jag tror att han under en period använde dubbelnamnet Johansson-Thulin, men kallade sig enbart Thulin från och med giftermålet med Sally, som också antog det namnet.

Storegården 1907

Medan Gustaf växte upp på torpet Johannelund, som lydde under en annan gård (Ledsgården), så bodde Sally och Nils på Storegården, i samma by. Det var väl inte en jättestor gård, men det var säkert ändå en betydande klasskillnad mellan gård och torp. 

Det tidigaste fotot på Storegården som jag har sitter inte i något album, utan är monterat på en pappram, för upphängning på väggen. När jag först hittade det hade jag ingen aning om vare sig vilka personerna var, eller huset. (På senare bilder av Storegården i albumen var huset vitmålat.) När jag börjat sätta mig in  i historien lite mer förstod jag dock att fotot måste vara taget inte långt efter farmors far Samuels död, 1907. 

Till höger om bordet sitter änkan: min farmors mor Selma. Den unga kvinnan på andra sidan bordet är hennes dotter från första äktenskapet, Hildur; och de två yngre barnen hennes barn från äktenskapet med Samuel: Nils (5) och Sally (7). Mannen med hästen är Samuels äldste son från hans första äktenskap, Carl, som tog över driften av gården redan några år före faderns död. Tillsammans utgör de den familj som fortsatte att leva tillsammans på Storegården fram till 1930, då Sally, Nils och Hildur alla tre gifte sig inom loppet av några månader. (Carl dog 1928, men vid det laget hade hans yngre bror Gustaf – känd av trogna läsare av den här bloggen som vykortssamlare – återvänt, och han var den som tog över gården efter brodern.)

Två kamrater

I ett av Sallys album sitter det här fotot av Nils (till höger) tillsammans med en mindre pojke. Noteringen under bilden namnger ingen av dem utan säger bara ”Två kamrater”. Nils är dock lätt att känna igen pga typiska familjedrag. Vem den andre pojken kunde vara hade jag länge ingen uppfattning om. Anledningen till besöket hos fotografen kan man också fundera över: Skolstart eller skolavslutning verkar troligt. Kanske hade någon tagit med båda pojkarna för att köpa nya kläder, och det blev anledning till att fira med ett besök hos fotografen också?

Nils är som sagt lätt att känna igen, men det tog tid innan det gick upp för mig att den andre pojken antagligen är min farfar Gustaf. Jag hade aldrig tänkt på dem som barndomskamrater. Men efter att ha insett att de bodde i samma by, och bara två år skilde dem åt i ålder, så insåg jag att de också måste ha gått i samma skola (som säkert inte var stor nog att skilja alla årsklasser åt). Dessutom hittade jag i farfars album bevis på att de gått i söndagsskola tillsammans, och spelat i samma fotbollslag i byn.

I söndagsskolan 1912

Här (på den förstorade bilden) känner jag igen Nils som nr 2 från höger – och är vid det här laget rätt säker på att Gustaf är nr 1 från vänster, i sjömanskostym. Jag noterar också att de bär samma skärmmössor som på studiofotot av bara de två. (Om mössorna inte tillhörde obligatorisk skolklädsel tycks de åtminstone ha varit högsta mode just då!)

I Längjums fotbollslag

Återigen är Nils lätt igenkännbar – nu ännu mer på grund av sin längd! (Jag har också minnen av honom från min egen barndom.) Och vad som slutligt övertygade mig om att pojken framför honom måste vara Gustaf, var en jämförelse med fotot från 1922, och hans ”kroppshållning” på båda de bilderna!

Jag lär återvända till att skriva lite mer om min farfar vid något senare tillfälle.

'Nutida' foton från Storegården och torpet Johannelund kan ses i ett gammalt inlägg från 2012: Storegården och Johannelund


The Wilander Family - Sepia Saturday 639

In last week's Sepia post I gave some examples of photos from my great-aunt Gerda's album that I've had difficulties identifying. There are a lot more of those; both in her album and in albums that belonged to my grandmother Sally. Recently, I came upon another important 'identification clue' in one of Sally's albums, though: 

'The Wilander family in Floby'

It struck me that I had seen the same photo (but anonymous) in Gerda's album:

And also a very similar one, obviously from the same occasion:

The elderly couple at the far end of the table must be Gerda's and Sally's oldest sister Emma (born 1866) and her husband Brynolf Wilander (born 1865). The younger man should then be their son Erik, born 1901 (one year younger than my grandmother Sally); and the woman at his side his wife, Vera. (I only have her name pencilled in on a family tree drawn by my father.) And in that case, I the little boy must be their son Bengt, born 1933. Leading up to the assumption that this photo is probably from the summer of 1935. The two women on the right are probably Erik's older sisters, Ella and Edit. Below, I've enlarged the faces from the first photo, as I'm hoping that might help me to identify them in other photos as well. (All the original photos are really tiny, so it's not until I get them enlarged on the computer that I usually have a fair chance to even guess...)

Emma & Brynolf

Vera & Erik

Ella & Edit 

The young woman taking Erik's place in the second photo looks like she's wearing an apron. My theory for now is that she's a maid employed by Emma & Brynolf. (In the census of 1910 they had a maid living with them who was born 1883. As this is 25 years later, probably not the same one here.)

Brynolf was a merchant, and owned a country store in a village named Floby. In my grandmother's albums there are two photos of their house there. Comparing them, I take it that the family lived in the same house as the shop. 

The Wilanders' house in Floby

"The coffee corner" at the Wilanders' house in Floby

The photos of the house/store are probably from the late1940s, as my grandparents did not have a car until after the war (and I'm pretty sure it was my grandfather who took both these photos.)  The woman is probably my grandmother Sally. The man I suppose must be Brynolf. (I don't have the year of death for neither Emma nor Brynolf, though.) 

In Gerda's album, I also found the photos below of the younger generation(s) Wilander. Whether I managed to get them in the right order, I'm not sure - Gerda obviously never bothered about that, as all of her photos seem to have been put in quite haphazardly (neither in chronological nor any other kind of 'logical' order...). (There may be even more that I have not yet identified.)

(PS. Strikes me now that it's not the same pram in the two photos. I suppose the first one may be of the mother with the first or second child rather than the third.)


I förra veckans Sepia Saturday-inlägg hade jag några exempel på foton från Gerdas album med för mig okända personer. Det finns många fler sådana, både i hennes album och i min farmor Sallys. Nyligen hittade jag ännu ett 'nyckelfoto' i ett av Sallys album – försett med anteckningen ”Wilanders i Floby”. Det slog mig att jag sett samma foto (men anonymt) i Gerdas album. Vid närmare kontroll fann jag att det där t.o.m fanns två nästan identiska foton från samma tillfälle – men inklistarade långt ifrån varandra i albumet. 

Jag utgår från att det äldre paret vid bordets bortre ände är Gerdas och Sallys äldsta syster Emma (född 1866) och hennes make Brynolf Wilander (född 1865). Den yngre mannen bör då vara deras son Erik (född 1901 – ett år yngre än Sally); och kvinnan vid hans sida, hans hustru Vera. (Jag har hennes namn bara från ett släktträd skissat av min pappa.) Den lille pojken måste väl då vara deras son Bengt (född 1933). Vilket leder till slutsatsen att fotot bör vara från sommaren 1935. Kvinnorna till höger gissar jag måste vara Eriks äldre systrar, Ella och Edit. 

Jag förstorade ansiktena från det första fotot parvis, då de möjligen kan vara till hjälp att identifiera fler foton. (Nästan alla originalbilder i albumet är väldigt små i formatet, vilket inte underlättar.)
Den unga kvinnan som bytt plats med Erik på det andra fotot ser ut att vara iklädd förkläde. Jag gissar därför att hon är anställd som hembiträde eller dylikt hos Emma och Brynolf. I folkräkningen 1910 har de en piga i hushållet som var född 1883 (Anni Teresia Fritz). Då detta foto är taget 25 år senare är det troligen inte samma person (hon på fotot ser ganska ung ut); men hade de en piga 1910 så hade de troligen också någon anställd på 30-talet.

Brynolf var 'handlande' och ägde en lanthandel i Floby. I ett av Sallys album finns två foton av Wilanders hus, ett av framsidan och ett av baksidan. Från dessa drar jag slutsatsen att de bodde i samma hus som affären. Det som visar framsidan ser ut att ha skyltfönster och en skylt över dörren, men enligt Sallys anteckning är det ”Wilanders hus i Floby”. Fotot av baksidan har anteckningen ”'Kaffehörnan' vid Wilanders i Floby”.

Jag gissar att båda dessa foton är från sent 1940-tal, eftersom mina farföräldrar inte skaffade bil förrän efter kriget (och jag är rätt säker på att det är min farfar Gustaf som tagit bilderna). Kvinnan på bilden från 'kaffehörnan' tror jag är min farmor Sally. Mannen antar jag är Brynolf. (Jag saknar dock uppgift om dödsår för både Emma och Brynolf.) 

I Gerdas album finns också ett antal foton av den yngre generationen Wilander (Erik med familj). Jag har tagit med några av de lättast igenkännbara här. Om jag lyckats få dem i rätt tidsordning är jag dock inte helt säkert på. När Gerda satte in fotona i sitt album (om det nu var hon själv som gjorde det) så tycks hon inte ha brytt sig om att försöka hålla sig till vare sig kronologisk eller annan ”ordning”. Jag har namn och födelseår för två av barnen (Bengt, 1933 och Ulla, 1939), men inte för det tredje. 


Buses, Cars and Queues - Sepia Saturday 638

The Sepia Saturday prompt this week (see the bottom of the post) made me go back and look up some photos in my great-aunt Gerda's photo album.

The text on the side of this bus at least gives a clue as to location: Mullsjö is a village situated about 25 km NW of Jönköping; and Liared is another village in that neighbourhood. 

Gerda's sister Ester (born 1876; died 1959) lived in Mullsjö. She was five years older than Gerda; and like Gerda, she never married. I can't say that I recognize any of the women in the photo as either Gerda or Ester - but as the photo is very blurry, it's difficult to say for sure. 

Ester had a florist's shop in Mullsjö, and later a confectionery shop. (For a while it may even have been a combination of both.) Back in 2013, a relative identified the woman behind the counter in the photo below (also from Gerda's album) as Ester, and the shop as her confectionary shop. 

He said nothing about the customers; but I have since come to recognize that man and woman from other photos in Gerda's album as well - and have come to believe that they must be Gerda's and Ester's brother Oscar (born 1872) and his wife Elin, who lived in Norrköping. 

Oscar was a merchant himself. I've been told that early on in the 1900s, he was manager of a country store that was a local branch to one run by his brother-in-law in another village. I'm not sure when exactly Oscar and Elin moved to Norrköping (I may be able to figure out from going back to the old postcards); but  I recently found them there in the Swedish censuses of 1910 and 1930. And in the 1910 census, Oscar was registred as merchant.    

However, it seems that Oscar passed away in 1930, because in that census, his name is missing, and Elin is registred as widow, with the year 1930 given as the year when that happened. That also fits with a postcard from New Year 1929/30, on which Gerda writes to her brother Gustaf: "I called Elin yesterday, it seems to be the same with Oscar. I intend to go visit them [soon]. Elin wanted me to come before anyone else and see what I think." 

This helps me date the photo from Ester's shop to the late 1920s (while Oscar was still alive). My guess is that it's probably from before Gerda started working for the Bernadottes (the autumn of 1928), as she most likely saw more of Oscar and Elin while she was still at Sturefors castle near Linköping (which is not very far from Norrköping).  

Whether the bus photo is from the same occasion as the visit to Ester's confectionery shop I don't know, but I would say the late 1920s or early 1930s seems likely for that, too. 

Here's another group of people waiting by a big car. I'm afraid have no clue to the context. If Gerda is in the picture herself, she must be third from the left. But I'm not sure if it really is her. 

Another photo with a car - this one driving out through a portal with a royal symbol on top. It has to be the symbol of Gustaf V, who became king in 1907. In 1907, Gerda was still living in Chicago, though. She didn't return to Sweden until 1911 - and it wasn't until 1928 that she started working for Folke and Estelle Bernadotte (related to the royal family). But the car looks more like it belongs in the first decade of the century. Considering that Gerda was again living abroad (in France) between 1913-1919, I'd date the photo to between 1911-1913.  In 1912-13 she was working as lady's maid to a member of the Swedish aristocracy (Adele de la Gardie), and I suppose that might have involved a visit to one of the royal palaces as well.

Another photo I've been pondering about without being able to identify neither place nor people is this one:

It looks like a 'tourist' tour of a park belonging to a palace or similar; but I find nothing conclusive to even tell me for sure if it's in Sweden or abroad. Judging by the clothes I'd say 1920s or early 30s. If Gerda is in the picture, I'd say she's either the one in dark coat at the back of the line, or else the one turning her back to the camera (admiring the view).

I'm not likely to ever know for sure; but if anything rings a bell with anyone, please share :)

Linking to Sepia Saturday 638


Inspirationsbilden från Sepia Saturday den här veckan fick mig att gå tillbaka och leta upp några foton i Gerdas fotoalbum.

1. Texten på sidan av bussen ger åtminstone en ledtråd till platsen: Mullsjö är ett samhälle ca 2,5 mil nordväst om Jönköping, och Liared är en annan ort i samma trakt.

Gerdas syster Ester (född 1876, död 1959) bodde i Mullsjö. Hon var fem år äldre än Gerda, och liksom Gerda gifte hon sig aldrig. Jag kan inte påstå att jag känner igen någondera av kvinnorna på buss-fotot som Gerda eller Ester, men eftersom fotot är suddigt är det svårt att säga säkert.

2. Ester hade en blomsteraffär i Mullsjö, och senare en konfektyrbutik. (Under en övergångsperiod kan den ha varit både-och.)  2013 identifierade en släkting kvinnan bakom disken på fotot som Ester, och butiken som hennes konfektyraffär. Han sa ingenting om kunderna på bilden, men jag har senare kommit att känna igen både mannen och kvinnan från andra fotografier i Gerdas album, och har kommit slutsatsen att de måste vara Gerdas och Esters bror Oscar och hans fru Elin, som bodde i Norrköping.

Oscar var själv handelsman. Jag har fått berättat för mig att han i början av 1900-talet förestod en lanthandel i Odensberg, filial sin svågers i Floby. Jag vet inte exakt när Oscar och Elin flyttade till Norrköping (kanske kan jag lista ut det från vykorten sända till Gustaf  i Amerika), men nyligen hittade jag dem folkbokförda i Norrköping i de svenska folkräkningarna från 1910 och 1930. I folkräkningen 1910 står Oscar som 'handlande'. 

Det verkar dock som att Oscar avled 1930, för i den folkräkningen saknas hans namn och Elin står upptagen som änka, med ”upplösningsår” (av äktenskapet) angivet till 1930. Detta stämmer med ett vykort från Gerda till Gustaf från nyåret 1929/30, där hon skriver: ”Jag ringde till Elin igår, det är visst detsamma med Oscar. Jag tänker resa dit en dag. Elin ville att jag skulle komma innan någon annan och se vad jag tycker.”

Detta hjälper mig att datera fotot från Esters butik till slutet av 1920-talet (medan Oscar fortfarande levde). Jag skulle gissa att det är från innan hon började arbeta för Bernadottes (hösten 1928), eftersom det är troligt att hon träffade Oscar och Elin oftare medan hon fortfarande arbetade på Sturefors slott nära Linköping (som ju inte ligger så långt från Norrköping). 

Om fotot med Mullsjö-bussen är från samma tillfälle som besöket i Esters butik vet jag inte, men jag skulle gissa på sent 20-tal eller tidigt 30-tal för det fotot också.

3. Vad gäller fotot med en grupp personer poserande vid en stor bil har jag ingen ledtråd till sammanhanget. Om Gerda själv är med på fotot bör hon vara nr 3 från vänster. Men jag är inte helt säker på om det är hon.

4. Nästa foto visar en bil som kör ut genom en portal som kröns av en kunglig symbol. Symbolen måse avse Gustaf V, som blev kung 1907. Då bodde Gerda fortfarande i Chicago. Hon återvänd till Sverige först 1911, och det var inte förrän 1928 som hon började arbeta för Folke och Estelle Bernadotte (besläktade med kungahuset). Bilen ser dock ut att vara av tidigare modell. Med tanke på att Gerda under åren 1913-19 återigen bodde utomlands (Frankrike), så skulle jag datera det här fotot till 1911-13. 1912-13 arbetade hon som kammarjungfru till Adele de la Gardie, medlem av en svensk adelsfamilj. Jag antar att detta kan ha medfört besök på något av de kungliga slotten.

5. Det sista fotot ser ut att vara från typ en guidad tur i en slottspark. Min första association var att det var från någonstans i Sverige, men det kan kanske lika gärna vara utomlands. Att döma av kläderna skulle jag återigen säga 20- eller tidigt 30-tal. Om Gerda själv är med på kortet så borde hon vara antingen damen i mörk kappa långt bak i ledet, eller också den som vänder ryggen till (och beundrar utsikten).

Jag lär aldrig få veta säkert; men om någon tycker sig känna igen någonting, så hör gärna av er!