Alfortska öden / D1-grenen: Alfort i Eskilstuna / Frågor & mysterier / In English / Rekommenderat

The pharmacist who emigrated to America

Philip Alfort

icon-male  Nils Philip Alfort  (28/3 1820 – 23/8 1866)
icon-leaf  D1-grenen []
icon-home  Son of Adolf Fredrik Alfort & Christina Wilhelmina Almroth
icon-location-arrow  Eskilstuna
icon-wrench  Apothecary, pharmacist
icon-globe  Emigrated to San Francisco

icon-certificate  Primärkällor (Viss osäkerhet)
icon-check  27-05-2018

Philip went to a school in Strängnäs in 1828, graduated 1832 and moved to Stockholm on the 22nd of December 1835 in order to study pharmacy, settling in the old city centre (Storkyrkan parish) at 15 years old. One gets the impression that his father, who was a highly successful doctor, had high expectations for his eldest son from an early age.

In September 1836 he apparently moved briefly to Sigtuna, but returned to Stockholm, and the following year he got an apprenticeship with the apothecary Carl Lehman in northern Söderhamn, where he remained until October 1838. This is mentioned in a letter which the famous Swedish letter-writer Adolph Törneros wrote to his father that year. The letter, which talks a great deal about Philip, can be read (in Swedish) here.

After his stay in Söderhamn, he returned home to Eskilstuna, but in December the following year he once more headed for the capital in order to complete his studies. He first settled at the pharmacy in the Ulrica neighbourhood (by the church) on the island of Kungsholmen, where he received the epithets orderly, staid and capable (ordentlig, stadgad, duktig), as one of two students of apothecary M. P. Hamberg. On the 21st of February 1840 he moved to Sperlingens Backe 39 in Hedvig Eleonora parish (probably in the street Biblioteksgatan, between Stureplan and Humlegårdsgatan), where the local priest noted that he was a good and moral christian (god kristendom, hedrande fräjd), but already on the 18th of April he moved on to Packartorgsgatan 4 (the precursor of the main part of Biblioteksgatan) in Jakob & Johannes parish.

Handbok för brunnsgästerDuring the years 1840-1841 he published the pharmaceutical journal Pharmaceutisk Tidning in Stockholm, and furthermore founded an archive for the manuscript collection Westinska Samlingen which is to be found at the University Library at Uppsala. The Royal Library in Stockholm has kept two letters by Philip sent to the publisher and bookseller Per Gustaf Berg, written 1841-1842, presumably in connection with the publication of his book (thesis?) Handbok för brunnsgäster (i.e. Manual for spa visitors), Vol. 1: Beskrifning öfver Sveriges förnämsta helsobrunnar, ‘Description of Sweden’s most famous spa wells’ icon-external-link, Vol. 2: Handbok för brunnsgäster icon-external-link icon-external-link, inkl. Beskrifning öfver hufvudstadens helsovårds-anstalter, med afseende på vattenläkekonsten).

At this time he lived in the presumably cheap Lower Klara neighbourhood and bore the title Med. Candidat and later Pharm. Candidat. The following year he had moved to the city centre, but in 1850 he acquired a passport for travelling to North America, where he settled in San Francisco.

When his aunt Helena Maria dies in 1856, he is spoken of as the son of age Philip Ahlfort, whose place of residence is unknown, but is assumed to be in America (myndige Sonen Philip Ahlfort, hvars vistelseort är okänd, men förmodas vara i America), and when his youngest sister Anna Lovisa Charlotta dies in 1865, he is said to be abroad (vistas utrikes). One year later, he is buried in plot 37 in the Scandinavian cemetery in San Francisco, presumably unmarried.

Philip’s death 1866 in San Francisco. Source:


I have not been able to trace Philip beyond Sweden. If you have any further information on Philip Alfort who emigrated to San Francisco in 1850, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

Research data

  •  f. Eskilstuna Kloster 1820: v54894.b99.s185
  •  husf. 1820-1835;1837-1840: v90589.b110.s213[1835]; v90642.b46.s39[1836]; v136888.b26[1837]; v136843.b216.s208(1837-1838); v136888.b30[1838]; v54759.b76.s66(1838-1839); v87538.b189.s185[1839]; v85468.b900.s84[1840]; v86262.b120.s4[1840]; v87505.b52.s93(1840)
  •  arv. v147608.b5050.s134(1853); v205255.b1160.s120(1855); v223279.b3830.s67(1856); 1865


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