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Svea V. Lindquist and Helga Olson Papers
MS 331  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Svea V. Lindquist and Helga O. Olson papers
    Dates: 1875-1991
    Collection number: MS 331
    Creator: Lindquist, Svea V.
    Creator: Olson, Helga O.
    Collection Size: 2 boxes
    Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections and Archives
    Santa Cruz, California 95064
    Abstract: This collection contains biographical material, correspondence, photographs and information about "The Rock Garden Nursery" in San Mateo, CA.
    Physical location: Stored in Special Collections & Archives: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Svea V. Lindquist and Helga O. Olson papers. MS 331. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Roy and Francis Rydell


    Svea Victoria Lindquist was born in Gotenburg, Sweden in 1881. She was from an affluent family and attended private school where she met Helga Ottila Olson. Svea studied landscape gardening and apprenticed in gardens in Gotenburg, Helsinki, and England from 1894-1912. In 1916 she came to the United States for a visit and stayed to take a position as governess. By 1921 she was in Maine working as governess for the Robert Law family.
    Helga's family manufactured shoes in Gotenburg. She also studied landscape gardening in Europe. In the early 1900s, Helga came to the United States, to visit a brother who raised strawberries on Bainbridge Island near Seattle and decided to stay.
    By 1925 the ladies had reunited and were living in California, in the San Francisco peninsula. They had became gardening consultants for wealthy clients who owned estates in the San Mateo area. In the 1930's they established "The Rock Garden Nursery" in San Mateo. They exhibited at the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in 1939-1940 where they earned a Certificate of Merit.
    In 1943 Svea and Helga moved to Santa Cruz County, where their friends, the Laws, were living at Lawridge Farm and breeding polo ponies. They settled into the Landreth Errington house on the Lawridge Farm with life tenancy granted by Robert Law. In 1948, they met Roy and Francis Rydell who were in the area looking for a caretaker's job. The ladies asked the Laws if they could use another set of hands. The Laws agreed and the Rydells settled into the guest house "Cowslip" where they stayed for a year and a half until 1952-53. Svea and Helga introduced Roy to their gardening clientele on the peninsula where they were still engaged as gardening consultants. Roy, then a stuggling young artist, became a landscape architect through the efforts and training of these two ladies.
    Svea and Helga lived and gardened at the "Little Farm House" until 1973 when Svea died. Helga had died in 1971.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection contains biographical material, correspondence, photographs and information about "The Rock Garden Nursery" in San Mateo, CA.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Lindquist, Svea V. (Victoria)--Archives
    Olson, Helga O. (Ottilia)--Archives
    Landscape gardening
    California--Scotts Valley--Santa's Village