Gustaf Fröding’s Archive and Library
After having spent many decades hidden away in the dark warehouse of carolina Rediviva, the papers and books of poet Gustaf Fröding can now see the light of day thanks to the catalogue that was made available in 2011, the year that marked the centenary of Fröding’s death, and today the digital lists of the collection are available online.
The collection includes a large number of poetry manuscripts and prose drafts, as well as Fröding’s correspondence. In addition, there is also a wealth of biographical material which was diligently collected and itemised over the years by his sisters Hedda, Cecilia and Mathilda. Hedda in particular took great pains to ensure that no detail of her brother’s life, work and even illness should be lost, and she worked tirelessly to save and document everything. The collection also includes family papers and newspaper cuttings of articles about and by Fröding, together with copies of letters and manuscripts held by other institutions.
List of Gustaf Fröding's archive
The majority of Fröding’s papers were bequeathed to the library following the death of his sister Hedda in 1951. Other papers were acquired in stages between the 1970s and the 1990s through literary historian Germund Michanek. Additional acquisitions from various sources have also been added to the collection.
Gustaf Fröding, at the age of 28, is admitted in the spring of 1888 to Ersta Hospital in Stockholm, having been diagnosed with chronic alcoholism. He is discharged after a time but soon requires re-admission and ends up in Katarina Hospital. Here is lokked after by a nurse called Alma Lindblad. His stay at katarina is a short one, and back at Ersta he has warm memories of Sister Alma. he does what he does best - writes a poem and sends it to her as a letter.
In a humorous tone, Fröding likens Ersta to a monastery where he is a monk. He imagines Alma standing by his grave and reading the inscription on the headstone: “Här en stackars munk sin vila funnit…” (“Here a poor monk found his resting place…”), which presages the well-known poem “A Poor Monk of Skara”, published in Fröding’s debut poetry collection three years later: Gitarr och dragharmonika (Guitar and Accordion) (1891).
Alma Lindblad’s three letters dated 1888 and addressed to Gustaf Fröding at Ersta Hospital are part of Uppsala University Library’s Fröding Collection. In 2014, the Library had the opportunity to acquire, as a valuable supplement to the existing papers, manuscripts and correspondence, the poem and the two letters that Gustaf wrote to Alma at Katarina Hospital, which had hitherto been passed down through generations of her family.
The poem of Gustaf Fröding to Alma Lindblad begins (Swedish) ”Fromma syster! / Ni som helt Er ägnat / åt Ert helgon, Sancta Katarina! / Ni, som har så rikeliga regnat / hjälpens balsam på de armes pina! /Även jag såg livet åter knoppas / när åt mig Ni unga rosor räckte! / Även jag begynte åter hoppas, / när Er röst min duvna ande väckte!” Han avslutar med: ”Och när orden då Ni hunnit fatta / efter någon undrande förbidan, / skall Ni kanske gå Er väg och skratta, / så Ni måste hålla Er i sidan!”
Gustaf Fröding’s Library consists mainly of books that he probably had with him during the time he spent as a patient at Uppsala Hospital. Most of them include margin notes in his own hand. There are also individual books that belonged to his sisters Cecilia and Hedda.
Hedda probably received the books from Fröding’s doctor in Uppsala, Frey Svenson (1866-1927), on Fröding’s death in 1911, and they were bequeathed to Uppsala University Library together with the archive.
List of Gustaf Fröding's library
OTHER MATERIALS RELATING TO FRÖDING
Uppsala University Library also holds portraits and other images relating to Gustaf Fröding and his family.
Pictures with a connection to Gustaf Fröding in our collections
Ejewall, Peter: “Frödingporträtt på väg - Från patientfoto till kändisbild”, Biblis no. 55, 2011.
Infruset kommer hem (UNT, 06/02/2013): Find out how an online exhibition at Uppsala University Library about Gustaf Fröding inspired Mando Diao’s Fröding album.
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