Sunday, June 19, 2011

Finding items that were originally from our old Victorian

Items originally from our old Victorian seem to be finding their way back to the house!

Item: Ragnhild Bertine Quien's Teacher's Briefcase
I received an email from Laurie at Reflections, a beautiful antiques shop in Nelsonville, Wisconsin.

Here's Laurie's June 2 email to me:

I think I may have a couple of pieces in the shop that may have come from your house!  I have a Black Suitcase with the initials R.B.Q. and a Black Iron Plant Stand.

I had been thinking about you . . . and had an opportunity to show Elbert your website, he thinks he recognized it as a house auction we went to. Give me a jingle, or stop in and I'll show you the items!
Take Care,

I was so happy Laurie contacted me.  What a pleasure it is to bring home items like this stunning black leather briefcase that belonged to  Ragnhild Bertine Quien--a person who lived in my house. 

We closed on our old Victorian April 16, 2007--and agreed to let the Quien grandchildren have an auction at their family homestead  a week later to sell the furniture and household items.  That is how Laurie and Elbert acquired Ragnhild's black leather teacher's briefcase.
The condition is excellent, as you will see in the photos I took today.

The metal tag indicates the black leather briefcase was purchased at George R. Thiss, Leather Goods, Minneapolis.  I wrote to a relative of George R. Thiss, asking if they could determine the age of the case. 
Ragnhild acquired her teaching degree in 1906 from St. Olaf's in Minnesota.
Do you think it is possible the case is as old as 1906?  I hope to find out.
The leather is clean and supple.  Very nice "inside and out"
There are two pocket compartments for documents.  The snaps are clean and function well.
The leather straps on the inside work well, and the outside latches are in good working condition.  I will not be disappointed to find out the case is newer than 1906.  I'm just making a guess.

The upstairs hallway is where I display Ragnhild's 1902 Academics Diploma she received from The Scandinavia Academy.  The Academy opened in 1893 and closed in 1937.
Here are some detail photos of her 1902 diploma

And, her 1902 Scandinavia Academy graduation class photo.  Ragnhild is the only girl in the second row down from the top row.  From left to right she is the fifth person.

After Ragnhild graduated from St. Olaf's in Minnesota, she returned to the Scandinavia Academy--this time as a teacher. 


  1. I think it's great that you have items from an earlier period of your home.

    When I moved into my current house, everything of the last (deceased) owner had been removed except for some knicknacks. And since I had met the former owner, and had had a pleasant exchange, I picked a small porcelain dog to keep in the kitchen.

    I always felt as though that little dog was a token of continuity and a source of good energy.

  2. How nice of those people to contact you about the items from your home's former owners! I probably would value the photo the most, but that's me. That suitcase looks amazing! It looks very modern, even for today! What a cool way to keep the history of the house alive!