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Type of Item
Fragment of the Old Västergötland Law
Äldre Västgötalagen (Old Västergötland law) is the oldest legal text written in Old Swedish in Latin script and the oldest of Sweden’s medieval provincial laws. The law was formulated around 1220 and was used in Västergötland in western Sweden. This manuscript fragment dates to about 1240. It contains the oldest record of the law and, along with another manuscript in the holdings of the National Library of Sweden dating from the early 1290s, is the only source for the law. The two leaves come from the same manuscript and ...
Revelations of Saint Bridget of Sweden
Saint Birgitta (or Bridget) of Sweden (circa 1303–73) was known for her revelations, which she reportedly wrote down in Swedish and then had translated into Latin by one of her two confessors. When she took ill, she changed her usual practice, and dictated her revelations to one of the confessors, who then translated them into Latin. In the manuscript collection at the National Library of Sweden is preserved a document that offers a unique insight into the origins of Birgitta’s revelations. It consists of three leaves of paper ...
A Dream Play
August Strindberg (1849–1912) was one of Sweden’s most important writers. From the 1870s until his death, he was a dominant figure in Swedish literary circles. Internationally, he is known for his plays. Strindberg grew up in Stockholm and studied at Uppsala University. From 1874 to 1882 he worked at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. It was there that he acquired much of his considerable knowledge of cultural history and literature. His breakthrough came in 1879 with publication of the novel The Red Room. Strindberg traveled extensively ...
Peter the Tramp
Luffar-Petter (Peter the tramp), a silent film made in Sweden in 1922, was the first film in which the Swedish-born actress Greta Garbo (1905–90) appeared. Still known by her original name of Greta Lovisa Gustafsson, Garbo was at the time a simple, unknown actress still learning her craft. This short comedy was the starting point from which Garbo was launched on a path to major roles in Swedish and Hollywood films and to stardom. Presented here is the film poster for Luffar-Petter, which was created some seven years after ...
General Map of the Swedish Kingdom
In 1683 Swedish cartographer Carl Gripenhielm (1655–94) was appointed the first director of the Swedish Land Survey. Much of Sweden was at that time sparsely populated and not well surveyed. Gripenhielm undertook an ambitious program of mapping and surveying, extending over several decades. The completion of detailed maps of Sweden’s agricultural land, forests, and surrounding seas coincided with the country’s economic development and its rise to great power status under the rule of strong monarchs and a centralized state bureaucracy. By the 18th century, Sweden’s cartographical ...
The Old People Mill
This 1852 single-sheet satirical print depicting “the old people mill” is part of a collection of 850 such broadsides printed in various Swedish cities and now preserved in the National Library of Sweden. These prints were often pasted inside the lids of chests in which people stored their belongings. The print on the left and the accompanying verses below are devoted to “the mill for old men," those on the right to “the mill for old women,” magical mills from which they return young and beautiful. In the era before ...
Olympic Games, Stockholm, 1912
The Stockholm Olympiad of 1912 marked the transition of the modern Olympic Games from what had been a modest-sized athletic competition into a global media event. The preparation and build-up for the games, the venues built especially for them, and media exposure all began to overshadow the fabric of the athletic competitions themselves. This media event emphasized both global and national dimensions and was meticulously conceived by the organizers. Recognizing that technology was evolving quickly and that visual images crossed borders unhindered, the committee mounted an innovative international media campaign ...
View and Map of the Affair at Ratan, of August 20, 1809
This watercolor by the Swedish artist and draftsman Carl Gustaf Gillberg (1774–1855) depicts the fighting at Ratan on August 20, 1809 between the armies of Sweden and Russia. Contemporaneously with the Napoleonic wars, at the beginning of the 19th century Sweden and Russia fought what became known as the Finnish War, which had the effect of radically altering the political topography of the Baltic. Sweden’s defeat put an end to its domination in the region. Finland, previously a province of Sweden, became a grand duchy under the rule ...
The Old Västergötland Law
Äldre Västgötalagen (Old Västergötland law) is the oldest legal text written in Old Swedish in Latin script and the oldest of Sweden’s medieval provincial laws. The law was formulated around 1220 and was used in Västergötland in western Sweden. Manuscript B 59 in the National Library of Sweden is the only complete copy of the law and is Sweden’s oldest book. The manuscript is a composite of 77 leaves, consisting of three parts bound together. It was written mainly by four scribes and dates to the beginning of ...
This photograph by Henry B. Goodwin depicts the Swedish author Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf (1858–1940), the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Goodwin was born the son of a Bavarian landscape painter and originally named Heinrich Buergel. He was a scholar of Old Icelandic and one of the pioneers of portrait photography in Scandinavia. He adopted a new homeland and a new name and contributed to the visual image of contemporary Swedes by becoming the most-renowned society photographer in Sweden in his era. An advocate of ...
Map of Sweden
This map shows the Kingdom of Sweden as it appeared at the end of the 18th century. At the time, the kingdom included present-day Sweden as well as Finland, which, however, was lost to the Russian Empire in 1809. The map is the work of Samuel Gustaf Hermelin (1744-1820), a Swedish industrialist and diplomat who also practiced cartography. Hermelin studied mining at the University of Uppsala before traveling to the United States to study industrialization. While in North America, he was instrumental in establishing diplomatic relations between Sweden and the ...
The Garden of the Virgin Mary
The 1510 manuscript Jungfru Marie örtagård (The Garden of the Virgin Mary) is the work of an anonymous nun at the Brigittine monastery at Vadstena in eastern Götaland, Sweden, and is the sole surviving source for the Swedish psalms, collects and lessons, hymns, and commentaries used in daily office by the nuns at the monastery. From the late 14th century to about 1530, the Vadstena monastery contributed significantly to the development of a nascent Swedish cultural identity, largely through the language that developed and was taught there. Most of the ...
View in the Kungsparken, Malmo, Sweden
This photochrome print of the popular Kungsparken (King’s Park) in Malmö is part of “Landscape and Marine Views of Norway and Sweden” from the catalog of the Detroit Photographic Company. The park was designed by the Danish architect O. Høegh Hansen, and opened in 1872. Hansen’s design reflected French and Austrian influences of the 1850s and evoked both the romantic and baroque styles. Malmö is located in southern Sweden, just across Oresund Strait from Denmark. The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the ...
View in the Kungsparken, Malmo, Sweden
This photochrome print of Malmo, Sweden is from the “Landscape and Marine Views of Norway” section in the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company, which also included six views of Sweden. The 1892 edition of Baedeker’s Norway, Sweden, and Denmark: Handbook for Travellers described Malmo as a “thriving seaport, the capital of the fertile province of Skåne, with 47,500 inhabitants” and informed its readers about “the pleasant promenades of Kung Oskars Park (café, with concerts frequently).” Malmo is located on the body of water known as the Sound ...
Skansen, Stockholm, Sweden
This late 19th-century photochrome print offers a bucolic view of the open-air museum of Skansen on Djurgården Island, a royal park situated within Stockholm. Founded in 1891, Skansen is the oldest such heritage museum in Europe, with traditional Swedish culture and wildlife exhibits, as well as log structures such as the house and barn pictured on the other side of the pond. These buildings, most of which date from the 18th and 19th centuries, were intended to display Sweden's regional diversity and rural traditions at a time of rapid ...
Kungstradgarden, Stockholm, Sweden
This photochrome print of the Kungstradgarden (King’s Garden) in Stockholm, Sweden, is part of “Landscape and Marine Views of Norway and Sweden” from the catalog of the Detroit Photographic Company. The park is located west of the national cathedral and covers more than 3.5 hectares. It originally served, in the 15th century, as the king’s kitchen garden. Later it was transformed by the French designer Jean Allard into a park intended to achieve a balance between nature and urbanization. The park was opened to the public in ...
1897, Arts Exhibition, Stockholm
This photochrome print from the Detroit Publishing Company is a view of the General Art and Industrial Exposition of Stockholm in 1897. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, industrialized countries organized large-scale international exhibitions to showcase their industrial and scientific achievements and to appeal to national pride at home. Such exhibitions were mounted in Paris in 1855, 1867, 1878, and 1889, Vienna in 1873, Philadelphia in 1876, and Chicago in 1893. The Stockholm exhibition was timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of King Oscar II’s accession ...
Early Writings of Carl von Linné
Significant works of young scholars at times can have great impact on the scholarly community, but remain relatively unknown for a broader public. The early works of Carl Linné (1707-78), annotated journals of his travels in Sweden and abroad, in which he laid the foundation for his efforts to devise a nomenclature for natural genera and species, were never published during his lifetime. The account of his travels in Lapland was published in English in 1811. The notes of his early travels in Bergslagen, Dalarna, and abroad were edited and ...
Immigration Handbook for Scandinavian Settlers in Canada, with Comprehensive Descriptions of Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and British Columbia
This immigration handbook was published by the Canadian Department of Interior in 1889 for the express purpose of recruiting settlers from Sweden. It includes an introduction to Canada and Canadian society, an immigration procedures handbook, and a topographical description of Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, and British Columbia. Special attention is paid to already-existing Scandinavian settlements.
Itinerary Book Kept During the Journey to East India, from October 18, 1746 to June 20, 1749
From 1746 to 1749, the Swedish rigged brig Götha Lejon sailed on a mercantile mission to Canton. Several accounts of what transpired have survived. This handwritten journal, compiled by Carl Johan Gethe, recounts the long journey to and from Canton and relates Gethe’s impressions of Cadiz, Canton, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and Java. The journal includes astute observations of daily life, descriptions of local customs and the great variety of forms of the Chinese language, and reflections on the journey itself, as well as an enthralling account of the ...
Description of a Trip to Canton 1746-1749
From 1746 to 1749, the Swedish rigged brig Götha Lejon sailed on a mercantile mission to Canton. Several accounts of what transpired have survived. This handwritten journal has been attributed to Carl Fredrik von Schantz (1727-92). Another account of the mission of Götha Lejon was compiled by Carl Johan Gethe (1728-65).