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Charles and Sofia Haag papers, 1907- 1969

Size: 7.5 linear feet, 13 boxes

Acquisition: Donated to SSIRC in 1985.

Access: The Collection is open for research. A limited amount of photocopies may be requested via mail.

Processed by: Christina Johansson, Ross Paulson and Jeffrey Dunn, 2003

Control Num.: SSIRC MSS:175


The collection was donated to the Art Department at Augustana College via the Sofia Olsson Haag trust in 1965 and transferred to the Swenson Center on March 19, 1985.

Biographical Sketch

Charles (Carl Oscar) Haag, Swedish-American sculptor and woodcarver, was born in Norrköping, Sweden on December 10, 1867, and died in Winnetka, Illinois, on September 18, 1933. His parents were Carl J. Wilhelm and Anna Charlotta (Persson) Haag. Haag started to work at the age of 12 as an apprentice watch-clock maker, later he attended Slöjdföreningens skola (Arts and Crafts School) and pursued studies in Germany, Vienna, Italy, Switzerland and Paris.

Haag's early artistic expressions were characterized by serious social themes and motifs such as the “Forgotten,” the monumental groups “Emigrants”, characterized his earlier artistic productions in clay and bronze and “In the Union there is strength.” Later on he devoted most of his energies to woodcarving, works characterized by imaginative and romantic symbols from nature, and quiet humor or slightly grotesque caricature. From the latter period stems wood sculptors such as “The Spirits of the Forest,” which received attention in various exhibitions in the U.S. and was exhibited in Norrköping in 1949.One of Haag's most famous pieces from “Accord” was purchased in 1906 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Haag immigrated to the United States 1903. He spent his first 6 years in New York City and other east coast cities before moving to Winnetka. He married Sofia Olofsdotter in New York 1903.

Sofia Olsson Haag was born in 1878 in Stafsinge, Hallands län, Sweden. Sofia emigrated to the United States in 1896.Sofia met and married Charles Haag on December 3, 1903 in New York. Sofia was a skilled in traditional handicrafts such a s weaving and embroidery. She invented and copy-righted her own loom "The Haag Loom" in 1920. In 1917, two of Sofia's woven tapestries and twelve embroideries was included in Charles traveling exhibit which was circulated from the Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York, and the Milwaukee Art Institute. After Charles left Sofia in the early 1920s, Sofia went back to school and received a degree in Naprapathy in 1924, a drugless healing through manipulation of the ligaments, and in 1926 she graduated from the National College of Obstetrics and Midwifery. Sofia set up a practice, but also continued her work with textiles. Charles and Sofia got back together in 1927.

After Charles sudden death in 1933, Sofia arranged exhibits at the Swedish American Historical Foundation in Philadelphia in 1946 and in Norrköping, Sweden in 1949 and at the artists annex in Phoenix 1955 to try and sell Charles pieces. She exhibited her work there as well. In 1947, Sofia took an apprenticeship at Taliesin headed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Sofia retired to Sweden in 1964 to be closer to relatives. She died in Sweden 1969. When all efforts to sell Haag's sculptures had failed Sofia divided up the estate between Augustana College and Northwestern University.

For more information about Charles and Sofia Haag's accomplishments as artists see Härute - Out Here: Swedish Immigrant Artists in Midwest America by Mary Em Kirn and Sherry Case Maurer.

Scope and Content Note

The main focus of the collection is on Charles Haag's career as a wood carver and sculptor. The collection contains many photos of his wood carvings, including the well well-known series entitled "Stone World Figures" and "Spirit of the Forest," article clippings from various magazines and newspapers on Haag's exhibits and career, and correspondence with other Swedish-American artists and art institutions/museums regarding exhibits and possible sales of pieces. The collection also contains biographical material, portraits of the Haag's, obituaries and other misc. information.


Haag, Charles, 1867-1933
Haag, Sofia, 1878-1969
Wood-carved figurines
Carving (Decorative arts)
Textile crafts
Swedish American art

Folder inventory

Box 1, folders 1-10

Biographical material

1. Biographical material
1a Obituaries – Charles Haag
2. Correspondence and Biographical material/newspapers
3.Folk Saga trs. by Charles and Sofia, Art
4.Articles by and about Charles Haag
5.Correspondence with Milwaukee Art Institute 1916-1926 re. selling of art pieces and an art exhibit of wood sculptors in 1923 the Milwaukee Art Institute
6.Proposal for publicizing and selling the works of the late Charles Haag – contract with Carriere and Jobson inc.
7.Correspondence / legal documents misc.– Sofia Haag
8.Correspondence Birger Sandzen to Charles Haag 1921- 1925, Skarstedt to Sandzen 1914
9.Correspondence Carl Milles to Haag 1907-1930
10. Misc. telegrams and corresp. to Sofia Haag re. the selling of the late Haag’s artwork

Box 2, folders 1-6

Biographical information

1. Last Will and Testament – Sofia Haag, certificates of copyright for Charles Haag’s art work, Charles Haag’s naturalization papers, telegrams
2. Letters written to Sofia after Charles death
3. Letters written to Sofia after Charles death
4. Letters – Charles to Sofia 1909
5. Misc. business and personal letters
6. Misc. scrap notes

Box 3, folders 1-6

Professional correspondence

1. Correspondence on works of art and exhibits, 1913-1917
2. Correspondence on works of art and exhibits, 1918-1920
3. Correspondence on works of art and exhibits, 1921-1923
4. Correspondence on works of art and exhibits, 1924
5. Correspondence on works of art and exhibits, 1925
6. Correspondence on works of art and exhibits, 1926-1933

Box 4, folders 1-4

Professional misc.

1. Listings of Haag’s artwork.
2. Programs, brochures, invitations for exhibitions, business cards
3. Misc. invitations etc.
4. Address list.

Box 5, folders 1-9

Newspaper articles on Charles Haag’s artwork and exhibits

1. The Winter Times Oct. 1930 - “Charles Haag, artist sculptor of the North Shore;” Glencoe Times April 10. 1931 – “Winnetka Sculptor Exhibits Stoneworld”
2. The Winnetka Talk April 10, 1931 – “Interesting World of Created by Charles Haag;” The Winnetka Talk April 17, 1931 – “Giant of Stone; ”
3. The American Scandinavian Review Jan. – Feb. 1918, “ Charles Haag” by Amelia von Ende; The American Scandinavian Review Autumn 1946, “Charles Haag” by Holger Lundbergh.
4. Merchants Records and Snow Window June, 1937 – art piece on the front cover; Merchants Record and Snow Window August, 1937 “ The life Story of Charles Haag – Artist, Sculptor, and Woodcarver.”
5. The Art Quarterly issued by the Milwaukee Art Society 1916-1918.
6. International Molders Journal June 1911; The International Bookbinder Sept. 1926, cover; The Labor Bulletin, Chicago, Sept. 1928, cover; The American Magazine of Art, American Federation of Arts May 1918, p. 298 [Art Institute of Chicago, exhibition]; Art Studio Life, March; The American Swedish Monthly April, 1946; Parade, Winnetka, IL., 1930-31, p. 25 Photo “Effort” by Charles Haag.
7. “Swedish Wood Carvings on Exhibit, ” Art and Archeology, August 1917, p. 91 “The Tribute of American Sculpture to Labor;” The Craftsman, July 1906, p. 433 by John Sharyo/ Dissent by Sophia Haag “ John Spurge, Charles Haag – sculptor of Toil – Kindred Spirit to Millet and Meaner,” handwritten additions on p. 434.; American Swedish Historical Foundation, Yearbook 1964, gift of “The Immigrants.”
8. Pioneer, 1917, p. 86 pictures of Charles Haag (in German); Fine Arts Journal, April 17, 1918 “Stories of Wood by the Immigrant Sculptor” by Charles Haag, pg. 560-561; Fine Arts Journal , April 1916, Edna Ida Colley, “ An Exhibition of Wood Carvings and Bronzes pg. 183-187.
9. The Survey, May 4, 1912 p. 186-187; The Chautaugan, Oct., 1907

Box 6, folders 1-4

Newspaper articles on Charles Haag’s artwork and exhibits

1. Clippings from various newspapers 1906-1919, relating to Charles Haag’s exhibits and career as an artist.
2. Clippings from various newspapers 1920-1969, relating to Charles Haag’s exhibits and career as an artist.
3. Clippings from various newspapers no date, relating to Charles Haag’s exhibits and career as an artist.
4. Clippings from various newspapers no date and unknown sources, relating to Charles Haag’s exhibits and career as an artist.

Box 7, folders 1-5

Pictures of Charles Haag’s artwork

folders 1-5

1. “Stone World Figures” exhibit shown in his home in Winnetka in 1931.
2.“Pictures of various bronze sculptures”
3a. “Pictures of various wood sculptures
3b. Various wood sculptures
3c. Various wood sculptures
4a. Plaster sculptures & misc.
4b. Plaster sculptures & misc.
5. “Spirit of the Forest” pictures and negatives

Box 8, folder 1

items in folder 1: Charles and Sophia Haag portraits

1. Charles and Sofia Haag – portraits
2. Family and friends
3. Women: Sophia Haag
4. Charles Haag – Winnetka Studio, Photographs
5. Portrait - Photograph
6. Formal Portraits
7. Home
8. Family photos
9. Misc. photos

Box 8, folder 2

items in folder 2: photographs of Charles Haag's wood carvings and sculptures.

1. Virgin
2. Lincoln
3. The Seal
4. Effort (sold to Richard Carter)
5. The Indian
6. In Union there is strength
7. The Cloud
8. Struggle (man and woman) with Plow
9. Awakening of Love
10. Man Reading Book
11. Model
12. The Birth of Love
13. Evil
14. Man’s Visage
15. The Strike
16. Giant
17. Howling Wind
18. Hunter on Skies
19. Shell and Kernel
20. Haybearer
21. Deprived on Nude Family
22. Skelton for Altgeld Memorial
23. Giant
24. Indian with Peace Pipe
25. Horseshoes
26. Spoil your arms
27. Labor union
28a. Accord - view from front of the sculpture
28b. Accord – view from back of the sculpture
29 misc. untitled

Box 8, folder 3

items in folder 3: photographs of wood carvings and sculptures

1. Girl Carrying Bread
2. Woman with Squirrels
3. Woman folding Cloth
4. Nude Woman
5. Hoisting the Sail
6. Woman with Geese
7. Protection of Animals
8. Women in Clothes
9. (Back of ) Women in Clothes
10. Farm Woman
11. Shadow of Money
12. Bad Seed
13. Child with Mittens
14. William Tell
15. Deafman
16. Farm Boy
17. Horse, fixing shoe
18. Sporty Man
19. Man with Ax
20. Man (victory)
21. Indian Scorning Beggar
22. Rabbit Hunter
23. Man Pulling Tree
24. The Skater
25. Farm Woman Chasing Geese
26. Fisherman with Family
27. Cat Holding Mouse
28. Cat Carrying for Kitten
29. Seated Girl
30. Nude Holding Baby

Box 8, folder 4

Post cards of various art work

Box 8, folder 5

Sketches of Charles Haag

Box 8, folder 6

items in folder 6: photographs of Sofia Haags weavings:

1. Thomby tots studying Mushrooms
2. Tree with Moon
3. Two Girls Riding on Skates / Two boys on Skies "Wintersport"
4. Tree with Snow "Spruce in Winter"
5. Design, Trees
6. "Land, Sea and Air"
7. Trees with darkness
8. Silhouette of Charles Haag
9. The Man who won the War

Box 9

Original Marriage certificate, Diplomas from the National College of Obstetrics and Midwifery, and the American Naprapathic Association

Box 10

Photoengraved printmaking plates.

1. Late Charles Haag
2. Wood interior
3. Wood interior
4. Sitting Nude
5. Hay Bearer
6. no title  - standing nude woman
7. Sun Passing
8. Dying Chestnut
9. Fountain of Youth
10. Trimming Brave
11. Crépuscule
12. Sapling
13. Bound Strength

Box 11

Photoengraved printmaking plates.

1. Spruce in Winter
2. Sofia Haag weaving of Charles Haag
3. The Peace Women
3. The Moss
4. The Sumac
5. Family Group
6. Gnome in the Forest
7. Grape Vine
8. Evolution
9. The Wedding Ring
10. Dense Woods
11. Hallow Tree
12. Log Carrier Pioneer
13. Nature Struggle

Box 12

Photoengraved printmaking plates

1. Spring Rain
2. Nature Secret
3. No title
4. On the Timberline
5. Nature Rever
6. Nature Struggle (or Struggle of Nature)
7. Forest Father
8. The Knot (Wood Knot)
9. The Ages (or Three Generations)
10. Effort
11. The Emmigrants
12. The Emmigrants

Box 13

Glass plate negatives of portraits, weavings & sculptures.

Box 14

Glass plate negatives of portraits, weavings & sculptures.

Box 15

Glass plate negatives of sculptures.
5 envelopes of other negatives.