Sweden in stereo on Flickr Commons

Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, at Rosendal Castle in Stockholm in 1904
Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, at Rosendal Castle in Stockholm in 1904

In 2015, a small collection of stereographs was given to the archives of the Swedish National Heritage Board by a donor from the USA, through the intermediary of the National Maritime Museums in Sweden.

Stereographs (also called stereograms, stereo views or stereo cards) are two almost identical photographs mounted on cardboard, which appear three-dimensional viewed through a stereoscope. The method of stereoscopy was initially invented in 1838 by the English scientist and inventor Charles Wheatstone, and became popular in the 1860s, until about 1910.

Most of the cards we received show views from towns and other places in southern Sweden in 1901. One card from 1904 shows the Swedish King Oscar II (1829-1907) at Rosendal Castle in Stockholm. A main part has been digitized for the Board’s photo database, and will be uploaded in June to the new album “Stereographs” on the Swedish National Heritage Board’s site on Flickr Commons.

The stereographs are from two different publishers in the USA. The card with King Oscar II is produced by the Underwood & Underwood stereographic company, founded in 1881 in Ottawa, Kansas, USA. The company was one of the world’s major publisher of stereographs, once publishing millions of cards a year.

Market at a square in Landskrona, Sweden. Photo: Gustav Adolph Johnson, 1901
Market at a square in Landskrona, Sweden. Photo: Gustav Adolph Johnson, 1901

All the other cards are produced by Gust. A. Johnson, Winburne, PA. Gustav Adolph Johnson (1864-1950) was born in Grubbetorp, Brålanda parish in the province of Dalsland, north of Vänersborg town in western Sweden. He immigrated to the USA in 1886, and settled in Winburne, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, where he worked as a miner until 1888, when he started a printing office. In 1901 he travelled in Sweden, collecting about 3,500 photographs which he used as stereographs.

We are very grateful to the donor, since the stereographs form an interesting complement to the historic photo collections of the Swedish National Heritage Board. Welcome to view Sweden in stereo and enjoy, use and share the stereographs of the Swedish National Heritage Board on Flickr Commons!

The Harbour Pavilion in Halmstad, Sweden. Photo: Gustav Adolph Johnson, 1901
The Harbour Pavilion in Halmstad, Sweden. Photo: Gustav Adolph Johnson, 1901

4 comments

  1. Ed Johnson, 13621 Glendower Road, Midlothian, Virginia 23113

    My name is Ed Johnson, I am the grandson of Gustav Adolph Johnson, the individual identified in the above article. I was aware that he was in Sweden in 1901 and took 3,500 photographs which he used as stereographs. In fact, as a child, I saw some of the stereographs. My question is it possible to know the donor from the USA who provided the Gustav Adolph Johnson stereographs?

    Thank You,

  2. Anna Boman

    Dear Mr. Johnson,
    I am very pleased that you found my blogpost, as the grandson of the photographer Gustav Adolph Johnson. His stereographs are an appreciated contribution to our archives collections, and to our photostream on Flickr Commons.
    I will send you the name of the donor by e-mail.

    Sincerely yours,
    Anna Boman

  3. Terri claussen

    I am writing regarding one of these stereographs that I located amongst my mom’s estate. I am trying to find out who may have more interest in it and its possible worth. any information would be appreciated.

  4. Anna Boman

    Hi Terri, I suggest you contact a museum with photographic collections nearby where you live, to have some advise regarding your stereo card.
    Good luck! /Anna

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