Centenary Album of
Herman Gyllenhaal (1821-1912)

Album cover Maria Gyllenhaal , Herman Gyllenhaal , and cousin Erik Palmgren

The Herman Gyllenhaal Anniversary Album (click to enlarge)

Thumbnails images of the objects described in the catalog are here.

The text below was written by Olle Gyllenhaal.

Herman Gyllenhaal (1821-1912) was born in Stockholm at No. 2 (then 20) Fredsgatan on March 24th, 1821, to Lars Herman Gyllenhaal (1790-1858) and his second wife Elisabeth Sofia (Sophie) Palm (1795-1865). He was baptized Lars Herman on April 3rd by the Reverend C. P. Hagbergh, in Klara Parish. In all he had eight sets of godparents, most of whom were relatives:


Male Female
Jakob Palm Svensson Hedvig Margareta Leuhusen
Lars Herman Gyllenhaal Lona Helin
Wilhelm Reinhold Leuhusen Henrika Bergholtz née Gyllenhaal
Melker von Breitholtz AU Strokirch née Gyllenhaal
Gustaf Leuhusen Margareta Christina Zethraeus née Palm
Jakob Palm junior Jeanna von Strokirch
Sven Ulrik Palm Mme A. E. Valley
J. S. Leijonstolpe Fröken (Miss) M M von Knorring

Beginning around 1830 Herman was educated privately by the Reverend J.C. Brandelius. He entered Stockholm's Gymnasium on September 1, 1833, and graduated on June 1, 1837. On June 12 he took the entrance examination to the University of Uppsala, after which he joined the Västgöta Nation (a student social group). He left the university in 1844 after having completed the examinations for a bachelor of law degree.

Herman held a variety of temporary posts as local judge in the province of Västergötland. When his younger brother Henning Axel, the designated heir to the estate at Härlingstorp, died of appendicitis in 1848, it became clear that Herman would not pursue a career as a civil servant. From 1850 to 1851 he attended the local Agricultural College at Degeberga, and when his father died in 1858 he took over sole responsibility of the estate.

In the 1850s Herman became engaged to Mrs. Maria af Sandeberg, née Aspegren, the widow of captain David af Sandeberg. She had been born in Copenhagen where her father was a merchant, although he himself had been born in Sweden. The couple married privately in Jönköping in the presence of close relatives, and then moved from Östtomten, which Herman had rebuilt as his own home, to Härlingstorp, with Maria and her two sons John and Adolf.

During the latter part of the 1860s, financial problems forced Herman to convert Härlingstorp, the family estate, to a limited company in which he retained an approximate 50% share. The remainder was held by Hartvig and Jacquette Odencrants, and Wetterberg, a neighbor. This had become necessary for several reasons. Herman had incurred heavy debt when he took over the estate, which needed large investments in new buildings. There had also been some bad harvests, along with lower prices of grain due to imports. In addition, he had found it necessary to fulfill two loans that he had previously guaranteed.

The family, which had grown steadily, moved to Östtomten in 1868. In 1869 Herman was appointed temporary treasurer to the University of Uppsala. He assumed the position full time the next year, and held the job for twenty five years until he retired in 1894. Their first apartment in Uppsala was in the Bohm house, at Järnbrogatan 14. In 1873 his wife Maria died, and in 1879 the family moved to a more modest six-room apartment at Skolgatan 1. After just a year they moved on to a larger six-room apartment at St Larsgatan 7. Although it was located on the sunny side of the street, the flat was cold, being on the ground floor, so in 1889 the family made their final move to the house next door at number 9.

During his career Herman also held several elected civic positions. He was a member of Uppsala town council from 1873 to 1884, and chairman of the committee for poor relief from 1875 to 1877. He was a member of the Uppland county council from 1877 to 1882, and a member of the board of Ulltuna University of Agriculture. While living in Västergötland he had been active in the local society for the promotion of agriculture, and was chairman of the board from 1862 to 1867. The last year he was elected honorary member. When this society celebrated their centenary Herman's portrait was commissioned by the painter Kronstrand. From 1875 to 1902 he was treasurer of the corresponding agricultural society for Uppsala county.

Herman attended the parliamentary sessions as a representative of the Gyllenhaal family to the estate of Nobles in 1851, 1855, 1857, and finally 1865, when the parliamentary reform was passed. He was then elected to the lower house of the new parliament and attended the sessions in 1867 and 1868, and partially in 1869. These sessions in Stockholm were facilitated by the opportunity of staying in the Palm house at Regeringsgatan.

In 1877 he received the Royal Order of the Polar Star (Kungliga Nordstjärne Orden or KNO), an order awarded to Swedish citizens by the king for "civic merits, for devotion to duty, for science, literary, learned and useful works and for new and beneficial institutions."

Before moving to Uppsala Herman made several trips abroad. The first, in the 1840s, was to Copenhagen where students from Sweden, Norway and Denmark held a meeting. Politically such a meeting was a sensitive event in those days. After this his trip was extended to Gemany. In 1851 and 1852 he made a grand tour of Europe, being away from Sweden for about a full year. He visited France, Italy and the U.K. In Paris, where he lived close to his friend the painter Johan Höckert, he had his portrait done. (Much later, in 1890, Höckert's daughter Alma married Lars Odencrants, Herman's nephew.) In Rome Herman stayed with Molin, the famous Swedish sculptor. He wrote long letters home in order to keep his family informed about what he did and saw.

Herman had many friends and relatives in Uppsala. Though he rarely entertained on a grander scale as his parents had done, he regularly showed hospitality to friends and younger relatives who were students in Uppsala. He enjoyed music, had a good voice himself, appreciated the belles letters, and was a good poet for minor verse in connection with private events. His home was a highly cultivated one, but one can imagine that some shadow was cast over it due to his limited means. The family lore says that when Herman ceded the running of Härlingstorp he had two options; either to become treasurer at the university or the county governor. The size of salary was the same, but the latter position expected public entertaining from private means.

After a short period of ill health, Herman died in 1912. The funeral was arranged with considerable pomp and circumstances according to the habit of the time. The obituaries in the dailies were long and detailed. In one paper most of the funeral wreaths were reported together with the names of the donors. Among these were former employees from Härlingstorp-more than 40 years since they had been in close contact with their employer.

In 1921, 100 years after Herman Gyllenhaal's birth, his daughters Sofia and Hedvig held a dinner in their home at Österplan 7. Sofia gave a short speech and their half brother Adolf af Sandeberg briefly summarized his life. Their brother Lars Herman was also present. The present album with photographs from Herman's life was put together at this occasion.

Sources: Elgenstierna, Svenska Adelns Ättartavlor. Volumes I, II, III and IV about Herman Gyllenhaal written and compiled by Lars Herman Gyllenhaal. The briefcase "Herman Gyllenhaal 1821 - 1912" (The latter two sources reside in the family's archive in Stockholm.)

Corrections, additions, or other information should be sent to The Gyllenhaal Family Tree Project, Box 757, Bryn Athyn, PA 19009 or ed@gyllenhaal.org

--Ed Gyllenhaal, May 2004, The Gyllenhaal Family Tree Project

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