A rare vintage children book ”Prinsessornas ABC-bok” by Gunhild Facks

A rare vintage children book ”Prinsessornas ABC-bok” by Gunhild Facks

For many years I have been collecting childrens books with nice illustrations. This is my rarest finding so far! ”Prinsessornas ABC-bok” from 1903! I can´t find it anywhere on the internet and the antiquarians I have been talking to so far doesn´t recognize it. So if you know anything about this old abc-book and the illustrator Gunhild Facks, please let me know! (Wahlström & Widstrand, Stockholm, Sweden, 1903)

Probably the title is a wink to the still much loved ”Prinsarnes Blomsteralfabet” from 1892, by the amazing illustrator Ottilia Adelborg (Bonniers). The illustrations in this ABC by Gunhild Facks are nice and clear with very typical ”swedish” motives and some botanical decorations. I like how every image has a frame, but the motives break out of it. The short lyrics is maybe by the illustrator, since no other name is mentioned on the (inner) cover.

Cover for Prinsessornas abc-book

ABC-book by illustrator Gunhild Facks

Illustration Gunhild Facks

The book is kind of a tribute to the young swedish princesses Märtha and Margaretha. They appear with photos under the letter M.

Illustration from the swedish book Prinsessornas Abc-bok

Christmas tree decorated 1903 with flags from Sweden and Norway

Under the letter J, as in julgran/christmas tree, you can see both swedish and norwegian flags, since the two countries then were a union for a short while.

ABC book printed in Sweden 1903

I also found that the images was printed on cardboard to be used as school material, to learn the ABC. Probably some years later? (Göteborgs skolmuseum kan ha mer information.)

Illustratör Gunhild Facks 1903

Antik rar barnbok från 1903 av Gunhild Facks

Illustrerad ABC bok 1903 av Gunhild Facks

The only referens to the book a found on the internet is this short message in the womens magazine Idun nr 51, from year 1903. That is were I found what year this book was printed. They recommend this book to all young beginner-readers and think the pictures are beautiful. Other illustrators they mention in the same article are Elsa Beskow, Jenny Nyström and Gisela Henckel-Trapp. (From the digitalized womens magazine project at Göteborgs Universitet.)


The earliest reference to Gunhild Facks i can find on the internet is from 1902 under the spelling Fachs. She was one of many illustrators for different childrens christmas magazines and books, for example in ”Tummeliten” 1902 (Fachs!) and 1903, and in ”Fågel Blå” 1903, in ”Trisse” 1907 and 1911, cover for ”Sagas julbok” 1907, and in ”Jultomten – Skolbarnens jultidning” 1902 (Fachs!), 1906 and 1913, and as the illustrator for some images for children to colorize.
Gunhild Facks also illustrated the childrens book ”Sagor om djur för de minsta små” 1905 (text?) and two books by Anna Maria Roos; ”Tock tock: sagan om den lilla gumman och djuren i skogen” 1907 and ”Fyra barn i Biskra” 1909. In 1904 she illustrated a cartoon (?) called ”Kisses velocipedfärd” in the christmas print ”Julklappen”, text by Sigrid Sköldberg-Pettersson. It is mentioned in Seriewikin as one of the really early cartoons in Sweden. The same year 1904, and in 1913, she made ink vignettes for the magazine ”Ord & bild”, under the spelling Fachs (archived at Nationalmuseum). She also appear at least twice as an illustrator in Idun, 1901 and 1906, where she made time typical frames for photos.

Illustration Gudrun Facks

Her largest commission must have been to do all the illustrations for the school book ”Första läseboken” 1905 and later, together with others, ”Andra läseboken”. (Hammer/Wallgren, Bonniers) Read by, I guess, thousands and thousands of swedish school children.

This is the information I could find about illustrator Gunhild Facks (Fachs). Nothing about her life. But if you do, please let me know.

5 svar till A rare vintage children book ”Prinsessornas ABC-bok” by Gunhild Facks

  1. Kul att hitta din blogg och läsa om denna. Kan inte direkt bidra med mer info, men hittade ett exceptionellt fint exemplar av denna ABC-bok i min ärvda boksamling, så jag beslöt att googla den, och hamnade på din blogg. Precis som du säger är den väldigt okänd på nätet.

    • Hej vad roligt att höra! Undra hur många ex det finns kvar hemma hos folk. Och så synd att du inte heller hittat mer info. Vi får leta vidare!

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