New book about Mathilda,
the founder of Indiska

Mathilda Hamilton was the missionary in India who became an entrepreneur in Stockholm and in 1901 opened the “Indian Exhibition”, a store which became the origin of today’s retailer Indiska. Mathilda herself, though, was eventually committed to Beckomberga mental hospital. Ethnologist Sara Sjöström tells her fascinating story in the book “Mathilda – the history of Indiska’s founder” (Business History Publishing, 2023).

The latest book from our Business History Publishing is a biography of a colorful person who lived an incomparable life. A human destiny that would be forgotten if it weren’t for a photo album left behind. At the Ethnographic Museum in Stockholm there is a large photo album created by the missionary and entrepreneur Mathilda Strömberg Hamilton. The image material extends from the latter part of the 19th century until the 1930s and is almost the only thing preserved from the woman who started the Indian Exhibition, the foundation of what we know today as retailer Indiska.

Ethnologist Sara Sjöström has unearthed Mathilda’s story based on the photo album. The result is a story of travel, adventure and great success. But also about setbacks, betrayals and sorrows. Everything richly illustrated with the main character’s own pictures.

Financial support for printing the book was given by Stiftelsen Längmanska kulturfonden and Kungl. Patriotiska Sällskapet.

About the author

Sara Sjöström is a trained ethnologist and journalist and works as a writing tutor at the University of Skövde. This is her first book.


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