Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Lars Gustaf Sellstedt Family Collection, 1808-1972

Finding aid created by
Phil Zaret and Meg Hixon, May 2013

Summary Information
Title: Lars Gustaf Sellstedt family collection
Creator: Sellstedt family and Potter family
Inclusive dates: 1808-1972
Bulk dates: 1846-1911, 1972
Extent: 0.75 linear feet
Abstract:
The Lars Gustaf Sellstedt family collection is made up of correspondence, poetry, ephemera, and other materials related to Sellstedt and his descendants, particularly his daughter Eva and her husband, Frank H. Potter. The papers pertain to Sellstedt's religious beliefs, his travels in the Caribbean, his interest in fine art, and his influence and legacy in Buffalo, New York. Other items pertain to Frank Potter's life in Berlin, Germany, in the mid-1880s and to the genealogy of the Younglove family.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1988. M-2410.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Lars Gustaf Sellstedt Family Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Writings
  • Series III: Watercolors and Sketches
  • Series IV: Photographs
  • Series V: Albright-Knox Art Gallery Exhibit Materials
  • Series VI: Newspaper Clippings
  • Series VII: Invitations, Cards, Documents, and Realia
  • Series VIII: Genealogy

Most series are arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end. Poetry is located at the end of the Writings series.


Biography

Lars Gustaf Sellstedt was born in Sundsvall, Sweden, on April 30, 1819, the son of Eric Sellstedt and Eva Thorén. He had two sisters, Christina Wilhelmina and Martha Lovisa, and one half-sister, Johanna Sofia. In 1831, he left for Stockholm, where he joined the crew of a merchant ship, and in 1834, he joined the crew of the New York-based Prudent . As a sailor on the Prudent and other ships, he traveled to the Caribbean, South America, the Pacific, and Africa. In May 1842, Sellstedt moved to Buffalo, New York, where he studied art; he continued to work on ships in the Great Lakes until around 1846, when he gave up sailing for a career as a painter. Sellstedt became a notable artist and helped establish the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, founded in 1862; he served as its president from 1876-1877. His published works include an autobiography, From Forecastle to Academy (1904), and Art in Buffalo (1910). On January 19, 1850, Sellstedt married Louise Lovejoy, who died soon thereafter. On June 11, 1856, he married Caroline Scott (1826-1909), the daughter of Dr. William K. Scott and Mary Gay. Their children included William Scott (September 13, 1858-September 30, 1869) and Eva (1862-1945), who married physician Frank Hamilton Potter (1860-1891) in 1887. Eva and Frank Potter had at least two sons, Lars Sellstedt and Frank. Lars Gustaf Sellstedt died on June 4, 1911.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Lars Gustaf Sellstedt family collection (0.75 linear feet) is made up of correspondence, poetry, ephemera, and other material related to Sellstedt and his descendants, particularly his daughter Eva and her husband, Frank H. Potter. The papers pertain to Sellstedt's religious beliefs, his travels in the Caribbean, his interest in fine art, and his influence and legacy in Buffalo, New York. Other items pertain to Frank Potter's life in Berlin, Germany, in the mid-1880s and to the genealogy of the Younglove family.

The Correspondence series (109 items) contains letters related to the Sellstedt, Potter, and Younglove families. In the mid-1840s, Sellstedt exchanged letters with his future wife, Louise Lovejoy; some of his other early correspondence concerns religion, art, and travel to the Caribbean in late 1848 and early 1849. In the early 20th century, he received letters from acquaintances and admirers about his books From Forecastle to Academy and Art in Buffalo.

Many items from the late 19th century pertain to Sellstedt's daughter Eva and her husband, Frank Hamilton Potter, including a series of letters that Potter wrote to his parents about his life in Berlin, Germany, in the mid-1880s. Frank and Eva Potter's son, Lars Sellstedt Potter, occasionally wrote to his mother as a child. The series also contains mid-19th century letters between William K. Scott and his cousin Moses C. Younglove, mid-20th century letters about an art exhibit commemorating Lars G. Sellstedt, and an undated letter from "Santa Claus" to a group of children. The series includes 2 print narratives by Samuel Younglove, entitled "Battle of Oriskany" and "The Battle of Bennington" (June 12, 1897).

The Writings series (113 items) contains 23 essays and 90 poems. Longer essays pertain to "Architecture and Sculpture" (58 pages) and to the history of art in Buffalo, New York (2 items, 99 pages and 47 pages); at least one of the essays about Buffalo was incorporated into Sellstedt's book Art in Buffalo. Other items pertain to the politician James Osborn Putnam, an acquaintance of Sellstedt's. The poetry (90 items), much of which was written by Sellstedt, concerns love, friendship, nature, and religious subjects; at least one poem is a friend's tribute to Sellstedt. The series includes 8 published items, housed together.

The Watercolors and Sketches (5 items), attributed to various persons, depict infant children, a Roman soldier, a woman, and a home. The Photographs (19 items), comprised of card photographs and photographic prints, mostly show members of the Sellstedt family, including Lars G. Sellstedt, Caroline Scott Sellstedt, and Eva Thorén Sellstedt. The pictures are studio portraits, outdoor portraits, and snapshots taken during a fishing trip. The series contains 3 copies of a memorial poem dedicated to William Scott Sellstedt ("Willie"), each illustrated with a photograph of him.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery Exhibit Materials (around 20 unique items) include documents, promotional materials, and captions, which are related to an exhibit and reception held in honor of Lars Sellstedt in September 1972.

Newspaper Clippings (66 items) pertain to the life of Lars G. Sellstedt, including retrospectives about his life and obituaries. Some clippings concern the Albright-Knox Gallery's 1972 Sellstedt exhibit.

The Invitations, Cards, Documents, and Realia series (11 items) includes printed and manuscript invitations, a calling card, an embroidered piece of fabric, and a stock certificate for the Buffalo Cremation Company.

The Genealogy series (9 items) contains histories of the Younglove family, written by and addressed to Moses Younglove, as well as items related to the Gay family and to the life of Lars G. Sellstedt.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
    • Americans--Germany.
    • Art--Exhibitions.
    • Berlin (Germany)
    • Buffalo (N.Y.)
    • Caribbean Area--Description and travel.
    • Christian poetry, American.
    • Courtship--United States.
    • Gay family.
    • Painters--United States.
    • Putnam, James O. (James Osborne), 1818-1903.
    • Sellstedt, Lars Gustaf, 1819-1911.
    • Younglove family.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Dwellings.
    • Infants.
    • Potter, Eva Sellstedt, 1862-1945.
    • Potter, Frank Hamilton, 1860-1891.
    • Potter, Lars Sellstedt, 1888-1983.
    • Putnam, James O. (James Osborne), 1818-1903.
    • Sellstedt, Caroline Scott, 1826-1909.
    • Sellstedt, Eva Thorén.
    • Sellstedt, Lars Gustaf, 1819-1911.
    • Sellstedt, William Scott, 1858-1869.
    • Soldiers.
    Contributors:
    • Collinder, Bjorn.
    • Fontana, Thomas M.
    • Loderberg, Ellen.
    • Potter, Eva Sellstedt, 1862-1945.
    • Potter, Frank Hamilton, 1860-1891.
    • Potter, Lars Sellstedt, 1888-1983.
    • Santa Claus.
    • Scott, William K. (William Kennedy), 1788-1879.
    • Sellstedt, Lars Gustaf, 1819-1911.
    • Sellstedt, Louise Lovejoy.
    • Younglove, Marcia, 1765-1824.
    • Younglove, Moses C., 1811-1892.
    • Younglove, Samuel, 1763-1846.
    Genre Terms:
    • Brochures.
    • Captions.
    • Card photographs.
    • Cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Contracts.
    • Embroidery (visual works)
    • Essays.
    • Invitations.
    • Invoices.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Photographs.
    • Poems.
    • Sketches.
    • Snapshots.
    • Stock certificates.
    • Visiting cards.
    • Watercolors (paintings)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   1  
     July 4, 1813-September 27, 1972, and  undated
     
    Writings [series]
    Box   1  
     October 7, 1849-April 30, 1910, and  undated
     
    Watercolors and Sketches [series]
    Box   1  
     Undated
     
    Photographs [series]
    Box   1  
     Undated
     
    Albright-Knox Gallery Exhibit Materials [series]
    Box   2  
     January 20, 1962;  August 16, 1972-September 17, 1972; and  undated
     
    Newspaper Clippings [series]
    Box   2  
     April 28, 1906-September 24, 1972
     
    Invitations, Cards, Documents, and Realia [series]
    Box   2  
     December 7, 1808-September 25, 1917, and  undated
     
    Genealogy [series]
    Box   2  
     1816-January 11, 1943, and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Winterthur Library has a Lars Gustaf Sellstedt collection.

    Bibliography

    "Descendants of Archibald Scott of Macasquin, County Derry, Ireland." RootsWeb. Web. June 2013.

    The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. Ed. Johnson, Rossiter, and John Howard Brown. Volume 9. Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904.

    Kelly, Howard A., and Walter L. Burrage. "Potter, Frank Hamilton." American Medical Biographies. Baltimore: The Norman, Remington Company, 1920.

    "Lars G. Sellstedt Dead." The New York Times 5 June 1911.

    Sellstedt, Lars Gustaf. From Forecastle to Academy: Sailor and Artist. Buffalo: The Matthews-Northrup Works, 1904.