Augusta Parsons Hylander
Augusta Parsons Hylander was nearing the end of her life when she wrote an account of her Swedish childhood and her emigration to America as a teenager. She was born in 1873 in the village of Sturup in Skåne county, Sweden, and died in 1965 in New York.
In 1988 Augusta’s daughter, my great-aunt Gay, discovered the hand-written manuscript among her mother’s papers and sent a typed version to my grandparents, writing enthusiastically that she was thinking about “turning it into a little book”; but Gay herself died later that year, and the little book she’d envisioned never appeared.
The story of Augusta’s early life is evocative and full of detail that would interest any social historian, and although her voice is fairly understated, it’s direct and you do get a strong sense of the kind of person she was as you read through it. So I thought I’d share it here in the hope that others might appreciate it. I’m typing it out myself as I post, rather than scanning photocopies of Gay’s typed pages; this way it will be easier to read, as well as more useful to anyone who happens by in search of a first-person account of village life in southern Sweden during the late 19th century (or indeed emigration to America, or Swedish-American life in Waterbury in the early 20th century).
Here’s a list with links to each post.
Here, too, are the only photographs I have of Augusta, taken in 1938 when she was 65 years old. I’m sorry to say they’re not particularly good ones. She’s second from the left in this group shot: