Pic of the Week (#132) - The Mona Lisa Smile of Laura Victoria Kallman (1875-1961)

Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.

This late 1890s cabinet card from Sycamore, Illinois shows a beautiful young woman with a Mona Lisa smile and a stunning, soulful gaze. It is unique in that, though a portrait of a single subject, it is framed horizontally. I have not seen this before in my antique photograph searches.

“Victoria Kallman”, 1898

The photographer is listed as M.F. Carslon. There is what looks like an original inscription on the back. There are no other markings.


The inscription appears to read:

Sycamore 25 - 7 -1898

Victoria Kallman

There is a Kallman Family in Sycamore, De Kalb County, Illinois around this time. It is VERY speculative at this point, but this family would be a good place to start to make a positive identification.

Here is what we know about that family:

  • There was a Laura Victoria Kallman (1875-1961) who was born in Sweden and immigrated to Illinois.

  • On June 20, 1900 she married Sven Magne “Mungy” Carlson (1873-1946)

  • On the 1900 U.S. Census ennumerated the day before her marriage she was listed as a “House Servant” for the Ellwood family in Sycamore.

  • In 1910 she was living in Virgil, IL with her husband and her two sons: Claude (9) and Arthur (6)

  • In 1920 she was living in the same place with the same people.

  • By 1930 Claude had moved out and it was just Victoria, her husband, and youngest son.

  • In 1940 it was just Victoria and Sven.

  • Laura Victoria Kallman Carlson died in 1961 at the age of 85. Her Find a Grave Memorial includes a very detailed obituary.

So, is the woman researched and described here the same as the one shown in the photo from 1898? There are two photos included in the Find a Grave memorials for Victoria and her husband, though they are from when she would be much older.

Laura Victoria Kallman Carlson (1875-1961)

Photo credit: Find a Grave Contributor, Danya

Laura Victoria Kallman Carlson (1875-1961) and Husband, Sven Magne “Mungy” Carlson (1973-1946).

Photo credit: Find a Grave Contributor, Danya

And here are some side by side closeup comparisons. What do you think?

Are these all the same Victoria Kallman Carlson?

Are these all the same Victoria Kallman Carlson?

Here are a few questions to think about:

  • Who is this woman and what is her story?

  • Is the family she married into (Carlson) related to the M.F. Carlson listed on the photograph as the photographer?

  • Who were the Ellwoods and what are their stories?

  • Does she have living relatives who might be interested in this photo?

  • Can you help me find them?

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