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ABRAHAMSON, AUGUST:

Swedish philanthropist, and founder of the Sloid Seminary of Nääs, near Göteborg; born Dec. 29, 1817, at Karlskrona, Sweden, where his parents, originally from Germany, had settled; died May 6, 1898, at Nääs. August in his fourteenth year was apprenticed to a hardware merchant in Göteborg, and eventually he became founder and owner of one of the most extensive businesses in Sweden.

The large fortune which he thus accumulated was used by him for the improvement of the educational system of his native country. In 1868 he retired from business, and bought the magnificent estate of Nääs, with its picturesque old castle. Here he at once devoted himself to philanthropic and educational work, founding free schools, and otherwise furthering the material and spiritual interests of the community in which he lived. Later his efforts were directed to wider enterprises. In 1872 he established at Nääs an industrial school for boys, and two years later a similar institution for girls, in both of which instruction in manual training formed an important feature. At the head of these schools he placed his nephew, Otto Salomon, to whose efforts the remarkable success of the undertaking was largely due.

To meet the growing demand for instructors in handicrafts, Abrahamson and his nephew added in 1874 a sloid-training department for teachers. Sloid work may be described as a series of carefully graduated exercises in the making of articles of common household use, varying from simple objects, such as a pen-rest, to a table or cabinet. This sloid-training department developed into the great Sloid Seminary of Nääs, which, by Abrahamson's will, became possessed of his entire estate (380,000 crowns, or about $102,600) on condition that the institution should be continued under the name "August Abrahamson's Stiftelse." Every year large numbers of students from all parts of the world receive at the seminary gratuitous instruction in sloid work. The splendid results achieved, and the world-wide renown of the institution, are worthy memorials of the pioneer of manual training in the Scandinavian peninsula.

Bibliography:
  • Chambers' Ency. under Sloyd.
A. S. C.
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