The Letter to Lotten Westman

Girl Reading by Albert Hendschel (1834-1883)

Augusta writes a letter to her friend Charlotta (“Lotten”). Lotten lives in Stockholm and Augusta has returned home to Loddby from Stockholm.

 

Loddby, 24 January 1847

…How many times I’m with you in mind, how many, many times I wish I had you here in my rooms, how many afternoons when the sun is setting and I sit alone in the corner of my couch do I imagine you sitting in the other corner and how we heartfully exchange our thoughts. I must be very fond of you to think of you so often. I have not seen a single soul since I came home because I have not been outside the door except for on New Year’s Day, when I attended the ball in the city {Norrköping} and had a royally boring time….

 

There are several letters between Augusta and Lotten in the family archives. Augusta writes about how she misses her friends in Stockholm: Emelie Breitholtz, Marina Ribbing, and Albertine Osbeck, born Schubert and related to Augusta. Maybe they all attended the same private school for girls?

A couple of weeks ago, Kerstin and I visited the Stockholm city archives – Stadsarkivet – to learn more about the education of girls in Stockholm in the 1840s. We know that Augusta studied in Stockholm from 1842 to around 1846 and boarded with a family. But what school did she attend? In the 1840s, there were few schools for girls. Maybe the city archives would have some information.

The archivist is very helpful and suggests that we start with the school archives and search for girl academies. So we do, and find only two schools. The first private school for girls in Stockholm was Wallinska Skolan which opened in 1831. It was located in the Old Town.  The other school was Bjurströmska Pensionen, competing for the title of the most exclusive girls’ school in Stockholm. In the middle of the 1840’s the school was taken over by a German educator, Ms Sophie Antoinette Kock, and the school was renamed Kockska Pensionen. In 1852 it again changed name with new leadership to Posseska Pensionen and in 1855 it became Hammarstedtska Skolan.

We find the addresses of the schools but not much else. We will need to continue the research. But what about her friend Lotten? Would her history give us any clues?

I google and I search in archives. I find that Lotten’s full name is Charlotta Sophia Ulrika Westman,  her birth date is the 15 November 1827, and her address in 1845. She and her sister are living with a miss Carin Hellberg, their care taker, in an appartment at the corner of Klara Norra Kyrkogata and Mäster Samuelsgatan. Today, the building is gone but it would have been located right behind Åhlens department store.

Where were their parents living? I continue my  church-archive search and find Lotten’s sister, Clara Carolina Dorothea Westman, born 16 February 1831.  She was baptized in Storkyrkan in Old Town. And by searching the baptismal records for this parish, I find that she was baptized by the famous bishop of Stockholm, J.O. Wallin, and that her parents were Isak Ulrik Abrahamson Westman, born in 1798, and his wife Eva Charlotta Plagemann, born in 1807. I also find that Lotten and Clara had a younger brother, Carl Abraham Ulrik Westman, born 2 February 1833 and also baptized in the same parish. But then the trail ends unless I am willing to read page up and page down of handwritten church records in order to find any of their names in records of death or departure to other parishes.  But in the genealogy site Geni, I find the parents listed with their birth and death dates. Lotten’s father died at age 36 and her mother at age 32. That explains why the two orphan girls were living with Miss Hellberg.

And then I find her on another geneology site. In 1857, she married and officer,Theodor Hugo Malcolm Abraham Wennerholm,  had 6 children, and lived to be 69 years old. But I also learn more about the Westman family. The Westman family was large and spanned many generations of brewers in Stockholm. The family became very wealthy. Maybe Lotten was sent to an exclusive school in order to get the best education and secure a good husband?

Augusta’s Journey continues. Sometimes the research is tedious, but it always leads to new discoveries and new knowledge.

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