Young Woman With Bow, Circa 1900 – 1910


Small photograph, circa 1900 – 1910

Price:  $7.00          Size:  About 1 and 5/8 x 1 and 5/8″

It was so distracting to look at this original because the cropping of the actual photo was so off-kilter, so I cropped it and then ended up cleaning it up, somewhat, in Photoshop. This would be a really nice one, if professionally re-done. There is no name on the back, just evidence that it came from someone’s old photo album. And who was the lovely young woman? We’ll probably never know but we get a sense that she was bright, maybe working-class, a teacher perhaps, or maybe this was a school (or school-era) picture and she was in college. The camera seems to have caught a little sadness or perhaps it’s wistfulness in the look. She wears her hair up, in a style common in the Edwardian Era, and wears a large, dark bow, a brooch at its center, and a round pendant or locket suspended from a chain.

To Mrs. Johanna Johnson of Stillman Valley

To Mrs Johanna Johnson Of Stillman Valley pc1To Mrs Johanna Johnson Of Stillman Valley pc2

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked from Stillman Valley, Illinois, circa 1910 – 1919.

Price:  $15.00

“Skulle jerna skrifva ett brev men då blir min sida ond så vill ej fõrsõka. Hullo Mor Hur ãr det med er vi ãr alla friska hãr hoppas vi ãr det samma.”

Well, shouldn’t the ã and õ be spelled ä and ö?

This postcard is from about 1910 (You can’t quite read the postmarked year but it looks like it’s the 1910s for sure.) Maybe it’s a historical difference in the letters with accent marks? I will find out shortly and update this post.

“Skulle jerna skrifva ett brev men då blir min sida ond så vill ej försöka. Hullo Mor Hur är det med er vi är alla friska här hoppas vi är det samma.”

The note in Swedish appears to translate roughly as:

“I would write a letter, but then my side starts to hurt so I didn’t try. Hello Mother How are you, we are all healthy here, we hope it is the same with you”
The sender goes on to write in English…

“We have canned 75 quarts of sauce, 9 of sweet pickle, 10 of fruit Butter, 60 glasses of Jell, 29 glasses of Jam. Elin went to lottas yesterday. with love Anna.”

Most likely Anna is either of the lovely young women in the postcard photo. They both wear rings on the left hand; perhaps they are sisters. We searched for possible married names with maiden name Johnson but this is one of those that would require more time; nothing jumps out at us as an “ah-ha!”  type of thing. They are hardworking, that we know, according to all those pickles and jellies, etc. that got “put by.” 

The addressee, Johanna…

“Mrs. Johanna Johnson, Stillman Valley, Ill.   % Chas. H. Johnson”

According to a couple of census records, Anna’s mother, Mrs. Johanna Johnson was born in Sweden in July, about 1840. The 1900 Federal Census for Rockvale, Ogle County, Illinois shows she is with her husband, Gust (Gustav?) L. Johnson, who is born in Sweden, September, about 1832. Their son, Charley H., was born July, about 1877. Johanna and Charley emigrated to the U.S. about 1884, and Gustav the year before. The family is farming, and Johanna is listed as the mother of eight children, five of whom are living in 1900. By the 1910 census, Charles is married (Sophia) and they go under the spelling of Johnston. Johanna is widowed but living with her son and daughter-in-law. Also in the household by this time, is Swedish born, John Levin, hired farm labor.

Another clue about the family appears as the little note written sideways on the back of the note, and in pencil:   “Anna sent this to me thinking you would be here.”

Sources: Year: 1900; Census Place: Rockvale, Ogle, Illinois; Roll: 333; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0090; FHL microfilm: 1240333. (

Year: 1910; Census Place: Marion, Ogle, Illinois; Roll: T624_314; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0077; FHL microfilm: 1374327. (