The young man in this carte-de-visite portrait is wearing a military-style tunic with an “F” on the collar. The photograph was taken at the studio of Fredrique Holmstedt in Vadstena, Sweden. I had difficulty finding information online about Fredrique. Unable to read the handwritten dedication in Swedish in the upper left corner, I turned to fellow blogger Thérèse Amnéus and asked if she could help. She wasn’t sure about the first line, but she said the second line is Frälst af nåd, or Saved by Grace:
Thérèse said she thought the young man might have been a member of the Salvation Army, because she had found a portrait online of two Salvation Army men posing with guitars in Åvik, Sweden. (That photo was taken by Mia Ohlsson and you can see it here.) Thérèse was right. Salvation Army uniforms in Sweden have an “F” on the collar, because Salvation Army in Swedish is Frälsningsarmén.
Thérèse also found some information about Fredrique Holmstedt that I had missed. She was born Fredrika Bernhardina Holmstedt in 1865 in Helsingborg, Sweden. Her studio was located in Vadstena from 1892 until 1898, at which point she moved it to the town of Ödeshög. In 1904 she married a man named Herman Sjöström and changed the name of the studio to Sjöströms Ateljéer. In 1910 she and Herman moved to the town of Örkelljunga, where they lived until her death in 1922. Remarkably, her camera and other photographic equipment have been preserved there.
The carte-de-visite came to me from Washington State, where many immigrants from Scandinavia settled. Did the earnest young man with the guitar immigrate to the United States? Or was the photo brought over by the person he gave it to? Interestingly, members of the Frälsningsarmén sometimes came to America specifically to work with Swedish immigrants here. (See for example this portrait from Boston, Massachusetts, and the comments underneath it from readers.)
The Frälsningsarmén ended its mission in Vadstena in December 2008 and sold the historic building it had occupied there for 99 years.