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Maja Schjolin Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 1982-10

Collection Scope

The collection is largely comprised of news clippings and photographs collected by Schjolin in connection with her wildflower garden and its significance as an educational resource. The papers are posthumous and largely relate to the bequest of the house and garden to Cranbrook Institute of Science. There are also some papers relating to the management of the Schjolin house and garden as a visitor site in association with Cranbrook Institute of Science.

Dates

  • 1982 - 1989

Creator

Access

Access to the collection is unrestricted.

Use

Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.

History

May Joan “Maja” Seefried was born April 24, 1913 in Pontiac, Michigan where she attended Pontiac Central High School. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1934 and taught at The Business Institute in Pontiac. In 1938, she married Hans O. Schjolin in St. Joseph, Indiana. Hans, born in Sweden on July 29, 1900, immigrated to the United States in 1923 and settled in Pontiac. He was a civil engineer and inventor with many patents and served as chief engineer for new development at General Motors Corporation’s Truck and Coach Division. Hans died in 1981.

Maja was an active member of the community and participant in many organizations, including the American Association of University Women, Birmingham Garden Club, Birmingham and Bloomfield Art Association, and University of Michigan Presidents Club. She was President of the Southeast District of the Michigan Federation of Women’s Clubs (MFWC), and was also a member of Christ Church Cranbrook and the Cranbrook Gardens Auxiliary.

In 1951, the Schjolins moved to a three acre property in Birmingham, Michigan three miles southeast of Cranbrook. Maja cultivated the wild plants growing on the property and added to them. Over the course of thirty years, Maja created the largest and most diverse wild plant garden in Michigan, with over 300 varieties of plants. Her wildflower garden was widely visited attended by garden enthusiasts and tour groups, and often attracted publicity in the local press. She developed a close friendship with botanist James R. Wells of Cranbrook Institute of Science who became responsible for managing the Schjolin property after her death.

Maja died of cancer at the Hospice of Southeastern Michigan in Southfield, Michigan on May 12, 1982. She bequeathed her property and an endowment fund to Cranbrook Educational Community. The objectives of the endowment were to provide funding in order to preserve the home and garden as a place of beauty; to defend endangered plant species; to provide scientific leadership for planning of an arboretum; and to expand botanical and environmental education.

Extent

2.1 Linear Feet (5 MS)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

In 1951, Maija and her husband Hans moved to a three acre property in Birmingham, Michigan three miles southeast of Cranbrook. Over the course of thirty years, Maja created the largest and most diverse wild plant garden in Michigan, with over 300 varieties of plants. Her wildflower garden was widely visited attended by garden enthusiasts and tour groups, and often attracted publicity in the local press. She developed a close friendship with botanist James R. Wells of Cranbrook Institute of Science who became responsible for managing the Schjolin property after her death, when she bequeathed her property and an endowment fund to Cranbrook Educational Community. The collection is largely comprised of news clippings and photographs collected by Schjolin in connection with her wildflower garden and its significance as an educational resource. The papers are posthumous and largely relate to the bequest of the house and garden to Cranbrook Institute of Science. There are also some papers relating to the management of the Schjolin house and garden as a visitor site in association with Cranbrook Institute of Science. Of note, is a signed photograph of Carl Milles.

Arrangement

Due to the small size of the collection, it has been arranged alphabetically without series.

Acquisition

Materials transferred to Archives from Cranbrook Institute of Science in 1982.

Related Materials

Cranbrook Institute of Science Directors' Records (1990-31)

Processing History

Processed by Laura MacNewman, July 2016.
Title
Guide to the Maja Schjolin Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Laura MacNewman
Date
2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Edition statement
Resource record created by Laura MacNewman.

Repository Details

Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository

Contact:
39221 Woodward Ave.
P.O. Box 801
Bloomfield Hills MI 48303 US