This winter, we’ve spent some time working on exhibits in the Anderson Store Museum, including adding a new story to the Ladies’ Wing.
Lydia Elvira Anderson, known to family and friends as Elvira, was born February 25, 1879, the tenth of Aslag and Greta Anderson’s thirteen children. She was very close with her sister Agnes, who was only eighteen months older than Elvira, and the two often wore the same clothes and hairstyles.
On April 18, 1906, Elvira married Dr. Gustof Egeland, known as Gussie or Gus, in the Ephraim Moravian Church. Gus was a Norwegian immigrant who had come to Ephraim to practice medicine.
The couple’s marriage was a series of ups and downs. Gus was treated for alcoholism in 1910 and struggled with the disease for much of his life. Gus and Elvira first lived in Ephraim, just south of the Anderson family home, before moving to Sturgeon Bay in the early 1910s, where he established Egeland Hospital.
In 1914, the couple began the process of adopting a three-year-old girl named Rita. Her mother had died earlier that year, and her father was unable to care for Rita and her seven siblings. We have letters about Rita in the EHF Archives, written by several of Elvira’s siblings, and it is clear that she was very much loved by the Andersons. In 1916, during a visit to finalize her adoption, Rita became ill and was taken to her father’s hospital for treatment, but on July 23, 1916, Rita passed away from tubercular meningitis.
Elvira and Gus divorced in 1919 after nearly thirteen years of marriage. Elvira, who had been treated for tuberculosis in 1915, suffered a relapse in 1924 and died on July 11, 1924, at the age of 45. She is buried near her daughter Rita in the Ephraim Moravian Cemetery.
Elvira’s story, photographs, and several artifacts related to her life are now part of the Anderson Store Museum exhibit. Visit the museum when it opens for the season on Friday, June 14, to learn more about Elvira Anderson.
-Guest Blogger Emily Irwin