Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sepia Saturday - Scientists & Swedes

How funny that books are the topic this Saturday, after my last few posts about Sune Bergman and the gazillion pictures of books I posted. :) Well, I love books, so lucky for you, (sarcasm),  I have a whole bunch more to post for this topic. Ha!

 This topic is a great exercise in self restraint, as I collect old books (For no other reason than I just simply like them.) I had to fight with myself not to go crazy and post my collection. Because really, who cares about some smelly old books? (I'm raising my hand right now.) I just kept it to a couple that have family ties, since this IS a genealogy blog, after all....

Now, I don't mean to be giving my Swedish roots more stage time here and neglecting the others, but My grandfather, being an only child, was the only one to pass his parents belongings to. So after he passed, his wife, my grandmother, kept everything. So it was basically all in one place and not spread out amongst different families. That pretty much explains my surplus of Jonsson goodies... No hard feelings to my Smith and Wille families! :)
    Okay, on to the pictures....

 Little Artur Jonsson
What a little toe headed cutie.
I love the photos that were taken inside the homes of family. You get a little snapshot into their lives. And looking at these, I've noticed now that there may possibly be Sune artwork hanging on the walls. A wooden drawing in this photo, and two of his Litho engravings on the sides of the fireplace in the other photo... interesting....
My favorite part of this picture? The Swedish flag sitting proudly on the dresser next to a stack of books. They were definitely a people that didn't leave their culture behind when they left their Motherland. On the contrary, they actually went back to visit when they could....
That may have something to do with the amount of times I heard my German grandmother say, whenever we'd discuss Swedish things, "Geeze, you guys, you know your GERMAN too!" 

Next is my grandfather again, reading in the big velvet chair in his knickers. :)

And now, more books!

These were printed sometime in the 1800's. There's no copyright date in them, and not knowing exactly which edition these are, (apparently at least one is considered "classic" literature, from what I've read, so there are quite a few editions out.)
They are in Swedish, and belonged to my great grandparents. 

Helge Sigurd Jonsson

 The next book, I like in particular because my great grandfather, Helge Jonsson, immigrated to the US as an engineer/inventor/scientist. He was a nose in the books kind of guy. When I asked my grandma to tell me what she remembered about him, she said that Grandpa Jonsson was very kind and friendly, but anti-scocial to an extent. He didn't prefer talking. He preferred reading. If there was a family gathering, or a party, he was often MIA at some point. This is because he would always bring his own book and you would find him sitting off in some corner reading.   .....I also think that the prerequisite to becoming a scientist was that you had to have an affinity towards bow ties. This Swede here in particular does a fine job rockin' his bow ties.             -------->

this books' been through the ringer and by the notes and dog-eared pages it looks like it was handled quite a bit.

 I found this letter inside...

      It's dated 1913. It struck me as something I should look into for a couple reasons. I have come across this Hanson name before, and for some reason I think I saw it while looking through ship manifests. It may have appeared as a name given for the immigrants' "destination" person. I will have to look into that. Also, I recall this N. Clark street address in Chicago. I can't remember if it was an early address for my great grandfather right after immigration or what, but I remember it from somewhere. And lastly, judging by this letter, Mr. Hanson was a scientist who worked for a Chicago company. Helge Jonsson was also a scientist who worked for a large science corporation in Chicago. He was working at Gaertner when he died, and I doubt he was there his entire career after immigration. So I don't know if there is a link here.
     Either way, he apparently received or borrowed this book from this Mr. Hanson with a familiar address.
  I think I feel another mystery to solve coming around..... :)  These Sepia Saturday topics have inadvertently caused me to notice things I never noticed before and give me new leads to look into. Very convenient!!

  Thanks for indulging me in my odd love for antique books....

ADDITION: I saw a beautiful picture on another blog, and it reminded me of one of my favorite memories so I just HAD to go find the picture...
My son and my Grandma, "Nanny" had a truly unique and special relationship. They were great friends. As soon as we'd come over, she would disappear somewhere in the house with her great grandson, leaving us all to fend for ourselves. :)  We could find them in some room reading, playing, jumping on the bed (my son, not Nanny) and "racing". My favorite was walking in on him, my 3 year old son, and her, my nearly 80 year old grandmother, dancing together in the toy room, both laughing with huge smiles on their faces.
      She read to him a lot. She'd never tell him no when he asked for more pages. sometimes an hour would go by, and we'd say "Nanny, you don't have to keep doing it, it's been an hour!" and she'd insist she keep going, and just bring her a glass of water because her mouth was getting dry. lol. I am so thankful for the relationship those two got to have.

My husband is the ginormous child on the floor. He liked listening to Nanny's stories too. :)


  1. Indulge on! This was a great post. I love the picture of your grandfather in his knickers AND TIE.

  2. I still get told to take my feet of the arm of the chair when I'm reading a book. Great post and some excellent books.

    1. Thats the 1st thing that came to my mind when I saw that photo:>

  3. Wonderful pictures of your grandfather. How lucky you were to be the recipient of the whole kit and caboodle of the family photos.

  4. I like the photos of your grandfather too. He looks so comfy with his legs over the chair.

  5. Pictures leading to books leading to letters. The whole post is fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable. And perfectly on theme.

  6. What great lighting in that first photo - and what an interesting family history.

    1. I found that photo 10 years ago. and everytime i look at it, That's always the first thing that grabs my attention.

  7. The photo of your grandfather reading in a chair is really cute. That looks like a comfortable chair.

  8. I like your post! I am the same, I collect old books, I think they are beautiful and almost has a personality. I have not thought about that I can scan and show the them, I will do that, just like you, Thanks for a great tip!
    I can see the Swedsih book you have, it is about the Swedish King, Karl XII,

  9. Grandpa looks like my kind of guy. I love old books too (and I buy too many) but to find a little treasure such as the letter, really is the icing on the cake. My copy of "Evidence Explained" contains a four leafed clover wrapped in tissue as a bookmark. I wonder what my descendants would make of that! :-D Jo (at, having trouble commenting on Blogger posts with my Wordpress ID)

  10. What a heartwarming post. I loved the photos of your grandfather as a child, the bow tie, the old books - and the memory of grandmother wtih the boy... how sweet - marathon reading at bedtime... every child's dream. ha. (and your husband enjoyed the stories just as much! :) Loved this!