Julia von Bahr was a teacher and an author of textbooks. She also founded one of Sweden’s first private sanatoria for the care of people suffering from tuberculosis.
Julia von Bahr was born in 1866 in the south-eastern province of Södermanland, as the daughter of Captain Otto von Bahr, the director of an insurance company, and Charlotta Boström. She was their third child of ten. Among her siblings were Louise von Bahr, a certified physical training instructor, and Anna von Bahr who was married to Henrik Hedlund, an editor and politician. The siblings were also cousins of the physicist Eva von Bahr-Bergius, who became Sweden’s first woman senior lecturer in physics.
Julia von Bahr matriculated at the Lyceum for girls in Stockholm in 1887, and then studied languages in England between 1891–1892. During the years 1887–1891, she was active as a private tutor. After that followed a longer period when she was employed as a teacher at various schools and grammar schools. Her teaching career also included the private girls’ school Åhlinska skolan in 1892–1894, a girls’ grammar school (Östermalms högre läroanstalt för flickor) in 1893–1896 and the coeducational Sofi Almquists samskola in 1892–1907, all three in Stockholm.
From 1905, Julia von Bahr was a board member of the company founded by herself, AB Sanatorievård, that owned the Romanäs sanatorium outside Tranås. The architect of the sanatorium was Carl Westman. Julia von Bahr’s maternal uncle, county governor Filip Boström was the chairman of the board from the start of the enterprise. Other members were C. Cervin, a banker, Professor O. Medin, and Dr H. Allard, besides Julia von Bahr herself.
Julia von Bahr moved to Gothenburg in 1910. The same year, she had founded the company AB Hemtrefnad (Cosiness) of which she was the managing director and chairwoman. She had been inspired by the communal house Hemgården in Stockholm, built in 1906 with the aim of providing single, self-supporting women with a home. Office girls in Gothenburg heard about this concept and Julia von Bahr was one of the leading figures in the realisation of a similar building in Gothenburg. She called a meeting in March 1910, which all those who were interested in the matter could attend. An appeal to subscribe for shares in the company was sent out the same year, and apart from the target group of self-supporting women, several eminent persons from other groups also subscribed for shares.
A plot on the corner of two central streets in Gothenburg (Föreningsgatan and Erik Dahlbergsgatan) was purchased thereafter by the newly constituted company AB Hemtrefnad. The building was constructed in 1911–1913 as a residence for younger, single, self-supporting women. It was designed by the architects Hans och Björner Hedlund, and originally accommodated 54 one- and two-roomed flats. There was also a restaurant in the building and a larger lounge situated on the top floor. There were baths and laundry facilities in the basement. The warden and service personnel had their own accommodation in the building. Private parties could be organised in the building’s guest dining-room. The enterprise was inaugurated on 1 October 1913. Several of the rooms were planned to allow private lessons to be held there. As the managing director of the company and warden of Hemtrefnad for 25 years, Julia von Bahr also lived in the building.
Julia von Bahr was additionally the secretary in the association running a home for schoolmistresses in Gothenburg (Göteborgs Lärarinnehem) from 1912, and the leader of a group within Ellen Key’s association Tolfternas samkväm between 1896–1907. She was a child welfare officer in the small town of Lerum outside Gothenburg in 1920 and the treasurer on the board of the Gothenburg women’s home.
Julia von Bahr was awarded the Illis quorum medal in 1911 for her contributions to helping people suffering from lung diseases in Sweden. She died on 5 September 1942 in Gothenburg.