Tag Archives: Mark Twain

A curiosity

As I probably have mentioned on one occasion or the other I was born and raised in Jonkoping. Part of the heritage that I bring with me from childhood is the things that awoken my interest in past times; this includes periodicals, year books etc concerning Jonkoping and it’s history. This weekend was spent in Stockholm and as I rummaged through some preaviously unread or hastly skimmed through I found an interesting little article in Gudmunds Gillets (Gudmund’s Guild) aka Jonkopings local history association annual from 1989: 67-70.

The article I found was on Mark Twain’s three months visit to Jönköping in 1899.

On the 10th of July Mark Twain, his wife and his daughter Jane arrived in Jonkoping to visit Jonas Henrik Kellgren’s health institute (Institutet för Manuel Sjukbehandling) to get treatment for his rheumatism. The institute main building, called “Gula Sanna”, is ca 150 yrs old and still stands. Kellgren methods towards health was massage and brusque physiotherapy.

Gula Sanna
Gula Sanna

In a letter to his daughter he pictures a gloomy vision of his summer; it seems to have been a boring, dull and somewhat monotonous existence with Kellgrens patients, whom he calls “the damned”.

Thou gloomy he seems to have appreciated the sunsets, in an other letter he wrote; I’ve seen about sixty sunsets here and at least forty of  these surpasses every other I’ve seen. America, the tropics – they have no idea of what a sunset should be like…  *

Most of the time spent in Jonkoping seems to have been bound to the institute, though he made a trip to Visingsö with the ship “Per Brahe” that a few years later went down in a storm, bringing the demise to the Swedish painter John Bauer (one of my personal favorites).

Painting by John Bauer called Tuvstarr, this image is originally from Malmo museum.

While in Jonkoping Mark Twain wrote one novel “my boyhood dream” and one poem “To above old people”. So now I’ll have to look these up, if for nothing else a small distraction.

Magnus Reuterdahl

*) This is not an exact quote; I’ve seen a couple of  different version, sometimes with a few more countries and sometimes with a more metaphoric addition.

Jönköpings hembygdsförening Gudmundsgillet (link in Swedish)

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