76 Jenny Erasmine la Cour

She was born on 20 May 1849 at Jægergården, a house near Aarhus. A daughter of Lauritz Ulrik la Cour (no. 52) and Ellen Kirstine la Cour, Jenny was named after her uncle Jens Poulsen and his wife. She attended the boarding school her uncle Peter (no. 50) had at Margrethelund farm from 1857 to 1860 and then, together with her sister Lavritzstine, spent some years in Lyngby staying with her brother-in-law, a man named Siegumfeldt who taught them both, along with Professor Langhoff’s two daughters. Jenny studied at the Askov folk high school* for girls in 1872 and travelled to Norway in 1974 with her sister Lavritzstine. When her parents died, she moved in with her brother Poul in Copenhagen and accompanied him on his trip to Italy in 1875-76. Jenny returned to her alma mater at Askov in 1876, both to learn and to teach. When her sister-in-law Christine Sjarlotte died in 1877, Jenny ran Havmøllen farm for her youngest brother, Peter (no. 77), and became foster mother to his young son, Åge. After her sister-in-law Hulda’s death in December 1878, Jenny moved to Askov to take over both the housekeeping for her brother Poul and the care of his two children, Dan and Charlotte, who were respectively two years and one year old. She brought with her Peter’s son, Åge, who by that time was two years old, and Åge remained there until after his father married Henrikgine Skafte (on 8 July 1879) and brought Åge back to Havmøllen. In the winter of 1882- 83, Jenny worked in the household of a pastor named Hoff in Ubberup.

In the summer of 1883, she attended the Nordic folk high school teachers’ meeting at Sagatun in Norway, afterwards also joining others on a trip to Trondheim and Stiklestad. In the winter of 1883-84, Jenny managed the household of Robert Groth, a merchant in Copenhagen, and she taught needlework at the Askov folk high school in the summers of 1882, 1883 and 1884. The school asked her to take over a property in Askov called Veumhus in order to set up a home for young girls: the school wanted to try running a girls’ school in the winter of 1885-86 and expand the school for men in 1878. Jenny began her first winter at Veumhus with 20 young girls who were given room and board there, and some of the school’s classes were taught there during the school’s first year. Jenny purchased Veumhus in 1885 and built an additional wing in 1886 to accommodate the growing number of pupils. From then on, she was house mother for about 24 pupils each winter while also working as a regular teacher in handicrafts at the expanded Askov folk high school.

In December 1896, she took in Edith Frank, the four-year-old daughter of a missionary, as a foster child. After her husband died, Jenny’s sister Lavritzstine Aubert moved in with Jenny in 1901 and lived at Veumhus for a few years until she once again had her own place. In the summer of 1888, Jenny studied at the Hvilan folk high school in the Scania region of Sweden together with her niece Johanne Siegumfeldt (no. 67-5), took a course in weaving and then held private courses on the subject for the next two years. She also taught the first weaving course for the Danish Society for Domestic Industry (Dansk Husflidsselskab) at Veumhus in the summer of 1891. She ended up conducting these courses for several years: there were two each summer, and those taking the course received room and board at Veumhus. Jenny and Johanne travelled to
Norway and Sweden in 1893 to study weaving. In 1895, Jenny built Vævehuset (“The Weaving House”), and in 1897
published Vævebog for hjemmene (“Home Weaving Book”).

Also in 1893, Jenny took in her niece Anna la Cour (no. 36-5), who then remained at Veumhus. They travelled together to a school meeting in Stockholm in 1897 and another in Switzerland in 1899. In 1905 they went on a long trip to Italy (Florence, Rome and Naples) and in 1906 attended a folk high school teachers’ meeting in Finland. In the summer of 1910, Jenny, Anna and Edith travelled to Telemark, Hardanger and Christiania (now Oslo) in Norway.

In 1913, Jenny was awarded the Danish Society for Domestic Industry’s large silver medal in recognition of her 25 years of work teaching the Society’s weaving course, which by then had been attended by a total of 700–800 students. She was elected to various boards, e.g. the Board of the Scandinavian Missions to Seamen in Calcutta, to which she was elected in 1902 and which she chaired in later years. Jenny was also elected to the first board of the la Cour family association in 1914 and to the board of the Danish Society for Domestic Industry in 1916. She never married and died on 8 February 1928. (No children.)