To Search a Future
Hjalmar Höglund was born August 7, 1885 in Järvsö, Vilhelmina. At the age of nineteen he emigrated to Canada. Before him some relatives from his community had already departed, among them his sister Anna. Letters and calenders tell about a vagrant and adventorous life – and about making a living from odd jobs and further on becoming a foreman carpenter at construction sites. At Johnson‘s drugstore in Kenora, Ontario he buys in 1906 a Kodak camera and starts photographing friends, relatives and environments. In June 1916 Hjalmar Höglund returns to Järvsjö where he continues house construction as well as photographing. He died in Järvsjö 1971. Höglund‘s photographic collection which consists of around 200 images was acquired by the museum in 1964.
Between 1860 and 1930 approximately 14 500 people emigrated from Västerbotten to North America. Especially noteworthy is the emigration from the sparsley populated mountain areas, for example Tärna and Vilhelmina, which periodically had the largest number of emigrants. Several years of crop failure in the end of 1860s became the catalyst of the emigration from Västerbotten. But it’s not until the 1890s before it grew really large. Heavy tax burdens, bad harvests, the stagnation in the saw mill industry and the forestry company‘s purchases of poor farming land led the inhabitans of Västerbotten to search for a better future on the other side of the Atlantic.