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Ella Jepson Nylander Photograph Collection

Identifier: P002

Scope and Content:

The Ella Jepson Nylander Photograph Collection consists of loose photographs, cabinet photographs, and card photographs. The images date to the early twentieth century and many were taken by Boston and Cambridge photographers. A large number of the individuals represented are believed to have been family and acquaintances of the Nylanders, including the Anderson, Nelson, Nylander, and Nyman families who were a part of the Swedish-American community in Cambridge.


  • ca. 1890-1930

Language of Materials

Material is in English.


Collection is available for research under the CHC rules of use.

Copyright Notice

Copyright for materials resides with the creators of the items in question, unless otherwise designated.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to understand and observe copyright law and to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyright. Questions concerning copyright and permission to publish should be directed to the Cambridge Historical Commission Archives.

Historical Note on the Swedish Baptist Church and the Swedish-American Community in Cambridge:

Cambridge began seeing a rise in Swedish immigrants during the late-nineteenth century, and by 1905 the population had reached 1,645. Many Swedes were employed in trades and as craftsmen, but quite a few of the younger generation began working in a professional capacity. The Swedish and SwedishAmerican community in Cambridge was a close-knit and religious group during this time, and many of their activities centered on their religion. From 1918 to 1919, the Swedish Congregational Church hosted midsummer festivals in which Swedish music and refreshments were provided to the community. During the early 1920s, the community began holding a get-together called “Annual Swedish Night.” This event, held at the YMCA, included speakers from political offices and immigrant communities as well as musical and gymnastic performances. In addition to religious services, there were many clubs and organizations that catered to the Swedish community during this era. There were the Swedish Singing Society and the Swedish Glee Club, which both sang at events regularly, and the Swedish Club of the Union which held exhibitions, entertainment and programmes, to name a few.

The Swedish Baptist Church in Cambridge was founded on 10 May 1895. In the early years, the eighteenmember congregation worshipped at the Broadway Baptist Church. They soon needed more space and in June of 1896 there was a call for funds to be raised to purchase a house to worship in at the corners of Columbia and Washington Streets. Services began at the new location in 1897. Reverend C. E. Johnson became the pastor in 1899 and began publishing a church paper called the “Evangelical Messenger” in 1901. By 1902 the congregation had expanded to over 100 members and began taking bids to create a new church. Many members of the congregation were said to be poor or working class immigrants, and the surrounding community of Cambridge was encouraged to aid in fund contributions to the new church. Construction began in late 1902, and during this time the congregation worshipped in the YMCA building. The cornerstone for the building was laid on 8 March 1903 and dedicated that following May. As it stands today, the building at 77 Columbia Street is a substantial improvement to its predecessor. The first story is composed of brick while the upper portion is made of wood. The lower auditorium is said to seat 400 while the vestry holds 175 seats.


2 flat boxes


This collection consists of 75 photographs of mainly portraits, including some duplicates. Portrait and other photograph subjects include the Swedish Baptist Church and Reverend Carl E. Johnson; members of the Nyman, Nelson, and Anderson families; friends of Mrs. Nylander’s husband, O. Conrad Nylander; and various individuals, both identified and unidentified.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is divided into seven series.
  1. Series I: Swedish Baptist Church and Reverend Carl E. Johnson
  2. Series II: Members of the Nyman and Nelson Families
  3. Series III: Otto Anderson and Family
  4. Series IV: Group of Unidentified Individuals Marked "Dad's (O. Conrad Nylander) Friends"
  5. Series V: Identified Individuals
  6. Series VI: Unidentified Individuals Photographed by Boston and Cambridge Photographers
  7. Series VII: Unidentified Individuals Photographed Outside Boston and Cambridge

Physical Location

Collection is stored on-site


Gift of Richard Nylander, April 2014.

Provenance and Biography Note:

This collection consists of photographs found in a trunk that belonged to Ella Jepson Nylander. Mrs. Nylander was born Rozella Josephine Jepson in New Sweden, Maine in 1883 to Swedish immigrants Mons and Elna Jepson. Ella Jepson married Olof Conrad Nylander in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 30, 1908. The ceremony was performed by Reverend C. (Carl) E. Johnson, the couple’s first pastor in Cambridge. O. Conrad was born in Sweden in 1880 and after arriving in the United States in 1902, he was self-employed as a tailor. During his career, he worked as a tailor for both F. L. Dunne & Company and Scott & Co. in Boston. The Nylanders had two sons, Wilbur Conrad (1910-1991) and Donald Oliver (1913-2005). The family lived at various addresses in Cambridge, settling at 61 Austin Street (now Bishop Allen Drive) in 1917. In the mid-1930s, Mr. and Mrs. Nylander moved to Arlington, Massachusetts where O. Conrad died in 1943. Mrs. Nylander died in Belmont, Massachusetts in 1970.

The photographs were donated by Mrs. Nylander’s grandson, Richard Nylander of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The donor’s brother, Robert Nylander, was a historical researcher and key contributor to the Cambridge Historical Commission during its formative years until his death in 1987. Richard and Robert’s father was Donald O. Nylander.

Related Sources:

Digitized images from this collection can be found on the Cambridge Historical Commission’s Flickr account link


“Ancestry,” accessed October 2016. link

The following newspaper articles accessible through the Cambridge Public Library Newspaper Database link

“Death of Iowa Rev. Olof Lindh.” Cambridge Chronicle, October 12, 1912. Accessed October 7, 2016. link

“Harvard Square.” Cambridge Tribune, June 15, 1907. Accessed October 11,

“Midsummer Festival.” Cambridge Chronicle, June 29, 1918, Accessed October 11, 2016. link

“Midsummer Festival by Swedish Church.” Cambridge Chronicle, June 28, 1919. Accessed October 11,

“New Swedish Baptist Church.” Cambridge Chronicle, July 19, 1902. Accessed October 7, 2016. link

“Over 600 Present at Annual Swedish Night.” Cambridge Chronicle, March 10, 1923. Accessed October 11, 2016. link

“Proposed Swedish Baptist Church.” Cambridge Tribune, March 7, 1903. Accessed October 7, 2016. link

“Prospect Union.” Cambridge Sentinel, January 7, 1911. Accessed October 11, 2016. link

“Swedish Baptist Church.” Cambridge Tribune, June 13, 1896. Accessed October 7, 2016. link

Woods, Robert A. and Albert J. Kennedy, The Zone of Emergence: Observations of the Lower Middle and Upper Working Class Communities of Boston, 1905-1914. Abridged and Edited with a Preface by Sam Bass Warner, Jr., 70-74, Cambridge: The M.I.T. Press, 1962.

Processing Information

Processing and finding aid by Meta Partenheimer, September-October 2016. Encoded by: Brittany Fox, December 2020.

Prior to donation, Robert Nylander sorted the photographs of this collection by name and relationship. The order follows Mr. Nylander’s handwritten notes that are present on the reverse of the card photographs. Although some individuals are named and grouped, many remain unidentified. Series I-V are stored in Box 1 and Series VI-VII are in Box 2.
Inventory of the Ella Jepson Nylander Photograph Collection, ca. 1890-1930
Processing and finding aid by Meta Partenheimer, September-October 2016. Machine-readable finding aid by Brittany Fox, December 2020.
Description rules
Finding Aid Was Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge Historical Commission Archives Repository

831 Massachusetts Avenue
2nd Floor
Cambridge Massachusetts 02139 US