The note

Mikael AlmProfessor of History, Project Manager

The note is one of the smallest but also one of the more symbolically condensed items in the Gustavian collection. As King Gustav III prepared to leave for the Russian front in June 1788, he made all necessary arrangements.

This included the arrangements for his private archive, as dictated in his drawn-up will, in case of his death at the battlefront.

The note was attached to the chest containing the archive, and the instructions echoed those of the royal will.

In English translation, it reads:

This package shall not be opened by Uppsala Academy until fifty years after my death when the Books and Manuscripts that I have gifted the Academy and which are in the chest that Deputy Director Rosenstein has in his custody may be opened. Stockholm Palace 23 June 1788.


The war ended in 1790, and Gustav III returned very much alive. But his private archive remained in its coffer along with the attached note, and the will remained unchanged. So when the king died in March 1792, shot in the back by an oppositional nobleman at an opera masquerade in Stockholm, the testamentary dispositions made in 1788 kicked into action.

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