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Traveling with Grace: Norwegian Adventures

Posted on June 23rd, 2020 by

This week, Grace continues her travels in Norway. Special thanks go to JMM volunteer Harold Toppall for his transcriptions of Grace’s travel diary.

To read more of Grace’s travels, click here. 

July 3, 1950                        

Location: En route to Stalheim

Left Balestrand by ferry about 11, one hour to Sonjedal; then a lovely mt. ride to Kaupauger where we boarded another ferry (they served lunch on board) & just after the ferry pulled out a man told us something very excitedly in Norwegian & when we couldn’t understand him he ran over to Mr. A. who asked us if Miss Coleman had gone off the boat. By that time, we saw her standing at the landing & the boat went back to get her. We had a good laugh about it. This trip lasts 3 hrs. & it is just as lovely as the others.

Stalheim hotel, 1902. Via.

We got off the ferry at Gudvanger & had an exciting ride up the mt. to Stalheim, a beautiful hotel with breathtaking view down the mt. into the alley far below with waterfalls on either side. In front is a lovely little rock garden with marigolds, pinks, violets, painted daisies, tulips, etc. The dining room is unique, hung with homespun runners in lovely colors & native patterns. The waitresses are dressed in traditional costumes lavishly trimmed with Hardanger embroideries. The dinner too was delicious.

July 4, 1950                        

Location: Bergen

Rural village in Norway, 1950s. Via.

Leave Stalheim at 9:15. Weather perfect & quite warm toward noon. Up & down mts. thru tunnels, out into the warm sun shine, along the fjords watching the little & big boats, in the early part of the morning we see many country people on the road carrying their produce to market. Saw one woman milking her cow near the road. Many travelling by horse & buggy, many by bicycle, the women carrying their milk cans with their little children sitting behind. We pass thru many old & picturesque villages. They are cultivating the steep slopes and hanging the hay on long racks which from a distance have the appearance of terraces. In one place we saw some little boys playing ball & batting it with their heads. Wherever we stop our car becomes the center of attraction.

Panorama of the city of Bergen, 1948. Via.

We arrive in Bergen about 1:30, going to the handsome Norge Hotel where we have a very large bright room with balcony overlooking the main thoroughfare. In the square in front of the hotel is a fine bronze statue to Ole Bull by Sincline playing his violin with the muse in front of him. In the park at the next corner a band in playing in the little bandstand & they wind up their concert with the Star-Spangled Banner. I heard a lot of clapping after that. We have lunch at the hotel, then ride to the American Consulate which was closed + so for a tour of Bergen a very impressive city.

Statue to violinist Ole Bull, 1904. Via.

Panorama of Bergen’s harbor. Via.

The old part with its Hanseatic bldgs. is very quaint & the business section very modern. The harbor is a busy one with every kind of craft including the big new line of the Norwegian American Line & the Stella Polaris just in from the North Cape. We rode out to Flop, a suburb of Bergen to see Troldhaugen the home of Edvard & Nina Grieg. A bus was in front of the house & as we drove up we heard some of Grieg’s music coming from a music box.

Troldhaugen, 1940s. Via.

We saw many beautiful and & interesting things in the house including some original manuscripts (Bergliot, Serenade, part of the A minor piano concerto), some homespun scarves, lovely chandeliers & curtains, a wonderful silver lazy Susan, some curious porcelain table pieces, a runner of white linen with design of cupids & garlands done in a black running stitch that gave the effect of a pen & ink sketch, an old desk inlaid with mother of pearl, some trophies & decorations, many pictures of distinguished friends. The house commands a lovely view of the fjord & fiellen. There is a pretty garden & a little house adjacent in which he did most of his composing. He and Nina are buried on the property.

“German pier,” Tyske Bryggen, old post of Bergen, 1932. Via.

From here we visited the Stavkirke & the old port of Bergen (the Hanseatic town) which reminds me strongly of the old Germantowns of the period. The beautiful theatre with statue to Bjornsen, several fine museums & parks, King Haakon’s banqueting hall, a fine example of 13th century Gothic, now mostly in ruins but still beautiful, a large monument to Norway’s heroes past & present 12 in all, including some Vikings, & on each side a plaque in high relief (bronze) depicting scenes from history. Altogether a fair city as we appreciate even more when viewed from the height of Fløien where we had dinner at the Floirestaurant [Fløien Folkerestaurant].

Vintage postcard, interior of the Floien Folkerestaurant. Via.

We had to get special permission from the police dept. to drive up & when half way up a very winding & precipitous way, the sun blinded Mr. A. & the car went off the rd. with 2 side wheels in the ditch. We were a little scared but no one hurt & not the car either. We all got out & several men came to help lift the car back on the rd: (they would take nothing for it) & soon we were in the restaurant enjoying our dinner & the view was so magnificent as to fully compensate us for the slight inconvenience. We stayed until nearly midnight-the sky still pink & blue like at sunset for it never gets dark in summer, & the town far below looked like a small scale model lit up in colored electric lights lying in the deep cup of the surrounding hills throwing it in shadow.

July 5, 1950                         

Location: En Route to Lofthus

Vintage travel poster, Norway, 1950. Via.

After another ride thru the city we left Bergen about 11 A.M. traversing some of the routes covered yesterday, but it is so beautiful that we are glad to see it again & from a different angle too. We stopped for a very good lunch at the Tourist Hotel in Norheimesund some of the prettiest villages hereabouts. A little further on we crossed the Hardanger fjord to Kinsarvik, thence to Lofthus where we spent the night at the cutest little hotel Ullensvang with a stone quay in front of it with benches to sit on & people swimming & boating in the fjord. Also a little garden but the flowers are not so pretty here (they have clovers on the dining room tables whereas heretofore we have had much more pretentious blooms).

Ullensvang Hotel, c. 1945-1960. Courtesy of the National Library of Norway, via.

The dining room is quaint with a large display of pewter, copper, fine Hardanger embroidery & lovely chinaware. A large party of French people are staying here & they are making plenty of noise. We had tea on the porch (we have a balcony outside our room too) & enjoyed sitting here till dinner time. I had to go up 12 steps to our room but then everything is on one floor so I didn’t mind. We got a box of the biggest most luscious strawberries in the neighborhood for about 50c. Lots of cherry trees here.

July 6, 1950                        

Location: En route to Dalen

Vintage postcard, Latefossen Waterfall. Via.

Left Lofthus at 10. Went thru the town of Odda, another exquisite ride over hill & dale; here a madly rushing torrent cascading over rocks, there a gorgeous waterfall, one of the handsomest Låtefossen, has an enormous flow & throws clouds of spray across the rd. We saw many herds of goats scampering over rocks little & big ones camouflaged against the stones. Lots of snow at some places altho the sun in very hot. We stopped at Haukeliseter for lunch. From here on the road descends, the hills pine clad & greener.

Vintage postcard, Dalen Hotel. Via.

We arrived at Dalen about 5 in time for tea at hotel of same name, a plain country hotel, but the parlor where they serve us tea & cookies is a big high-ceiling room with handsome wooden wains coting, a stained-glass dome & a bright fire cracking in the big fire place. Mr. A. turned on the radio & we have some nice music. Played bridge tonight.

July 7, 1950                        

Location: En route to Oslo

Vintage travel poster, Oslo Norway, 1950. Via.

Left Dalen at 9:45. Character of the scenery changes radically as we approach the capitol. Mts. recede, no more waterfalls tho we still have lakes & fjords. The country is more fertile, farms larger, more modern. Fine strawberries & cherries purchased en route. Weather warmer & glorious. Skien first large city since Bergen. Industrial & prosperous looking. Porsgrunn next town where we lunched well at Hotel Victoria. Then on to Larvik & the pretty, old town of Drammen which straddles a fjord.

The approach to Oslo is quite lovely & on first acquaintance reminds me of Paris. Sts. wide, business houses very modern, inviting parks, large university, imposing Royal Palace, Opera House, beautiful monuments & fountains, illuminated at night, the main st. lined with flags (they are celebrating jubilee here this year) museums, public libraries, the Parliament or Stortling.

July 8, 1950

Location: Oslo

Walked in vicinity of Hotel Bristol (very deluxe, service excellent, food ditto) shops interesting. Sat in park most of afternoon, weather perfect. Crowds walking fascinating to watch variety of types & costumes, many cars but more bicycles, gorgeous children everywhere. One man sat next to me, spoke little English, invited me to have drink at open air café, amplifying with gesture of drinking from bottle.

July 9, 1950                     

Visited Frogner Park with wonderful [Vigelandsanlegget], a prodigious sculptural project-far from complete-which depicts life in all it phases & ages, more than life size figures, single & in groups, some in granite, some bronze, a fountain supported by 6 powerful male figures surrounded by bronze trees each a shelter for 1 or more figures, the whole bordered in bronze plaques with high reliefs depicting the entire life cycle. A monolith 55 ft. high rises above a stone elevated platform the entire surface of which is covered with human shapes struggling to reach the top. Motherhood & childhood seem particularly glorified. There is a handsome bronze fountain around the corner from the Bristol in the center of which is a lovely figure of a young mother holding her babe.

Vintage poster, “Oslo: The Viking Capital.” Via.

We visited the museum containing Viking ships excavated in 1866-1904, another containing the polar ship Fram with memorabilia of Nausen & Ammundsen & their several expeditions. Lunch at Hollmenkollen’s restaurant on the heights above Oslo, fine view. The folk museum, quantities of exhibits of Norway’s costumes & interiors, etc. from the past 6 or 7 centuries, too numerous to encompass in a day.

Oslo City Hall, early 1950s. Via.

Visited cemetery to see graves of Bjornsen & Ibsen (guardian granting us special permission to drive in the gates). Saw the magnificent new rådhus, something quite novel in architecture, a soft pink brick lavishly ornate with wood carvings brightly painted which resemble majolica, depicting mythological & legendary figures, other carvings of stone, a carillon the roof (about 12 stories high) housed in a glass belfry & a terraced approach with fountains cascading down both sides floodlighted at night. In one square near the depot is a large ferris-wheel, blue & white, each car filled with big red geraniums. The flowers here are lovely, double orange blossoms smelling divinely, [d………….],            begonias, fuchsias, huge roses, nasturtiums, etc.

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

A Dive Into Our Collections for Father’s Day

Posted on June 17th, 2020 by

What a perfect object to start our dive into the collections for Father’s Day! Museum purchase, JMM 1996.64.2.

Once again, Director of Collections and Exhibits Joanna Church went searching through the collections for the perfect Father’s Day photos (with additionally commentary by me, Rachel) to help us celebrate all the dads in our lives (this Sunday, June 21st!). To read more posts from Joanna, click here.

Dr. Harry Friedenwald with his children Jonas and Julia on the beach at Atlantic City, c. 1910. Gift of Julia Friedenwald Strauss Potts, JMM 1984.23.783.

The above is one of Joanna’s two favorites from the collection and I can see why. How many of us have fond vacation memories of our fathers, particularly at the beach? Plus, this year, Father’s Day falls on the first official weekend of summer!

Though they may be a little more bundled up, the father-and-son duo in the photo below seem equally joyful in each other’s presence.

Rabbi Abraham Shusterman with his son David, ca. 1945. Gift of Har Sinai Congregation, JMM 2012.108.331.

And how can you not love this father-daughter duo, taken 26 years apart?

Morris Rosenfeld with his daughter Edith, 1919 and 1945! Gift of Edith R. Shapiro, JMM 2003.17.20, .38. (You can also see Edith and her mother Minnie in 1945 in the center image here.)

Below you’ll find a fine selection of dads from our collections!

Har Sinai Brotherhood’s Father & Son Dinner, 1942. Gift of Har Sinai Congregation, JMM 2012.108.56.

Whether formally posed or casually mugging for the camera, these turn-of-the-century fathers show off their children with pride!

(left) Sam Blacher with his children Robert, Louis, and Rose, ca. 1903. Gift of Steven Blacher, JMM 2008.118.25.

(center) Henry Weinberg with his children Ruth and Martin, 1905. Gift of Isaac Kinek, JMM 1990.50.27.

(right) Samuel de la Viez, a widower, with his children Esther, Rose, Hirsh, Lee, and Oscar, 1906. Gift of Margit Weisgal, JMM 2019.12.1.

Who doesn’t love dads and babies?

(left) Ferdinand Lobe with his daughter Klare, 1907. Gift of Marjorie Scott, JMM 2002.45.14.

(center) Jacob Simon with his daughter Rita, Braddock Heights, 1929. Gift of Rita Simon Gordon, JMM 2007.53.14.

(right) Leonard Weinberg with his son James Henry, 1915. Gift of Jan L. Weinberg, JMM 1996.127.23.69.

3 different generations of fathers, from the 1910s to the 1970s! I bet their dad jokes weren’t that different though.

(left) Rabbi David Goldstein with his son Ari, 1974. Gift of Mannes F. Greenberg, JMM 1994.112.6.4.

(center) David N. Bacharach with his daughter Ruth, circa 1910. Gift of Calla Bacharach, JMM 2019.10.3.

(right) Avrum Rifman with his son Mel, 1946. Gift of Ruth Rifman, JMM 1996.108.16. (You can also see Avrum with his mother Bessie in 1926 in the right-hand image here.)

I was just also tickled by this photo of Nathan London with his son Isaac, c. 1905 – there’s just something about their parallel poses in those long overcoats that I find delightful! Gift of George London, JMM 2001.109.2.


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Once Upon a Time…08.09.2019

Posted on June 17th, 2020 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church by email at

JMM 1995.189.557

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: August 9, 2019

PastPerfect Accession #: 1995.189.557

Status: Identified! Levindale resident Joseph “Joe” Miller, c. 1985.

Thanks To: Norine Hall, Matilda Falck

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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