Agnes Geijer was a significant Swedish textile researcher of the 1900s.
Agnes Geijer was born in Uppsala in 1898. She was the only child of Karolina and Reinhold Geijer. Her father was professor of theoretical philosophy whilst her mother was a housewife.
Agnes Geijer completed her entire education in Uppsala. At the university there she studied textiles and archaeology, which then became her career. She specialised in historical textiles. Her early works focused on weaving techniques, textile terminology, and religious as well as museum textiles. She defended her doctoral thesis, which was entitled Birka: Untersuchungen und Studien. 3, Die Textifunde aus den Gräbern, in 1938. Her thesis concerned the textiles found in the diggings at Birka island in the Mälar. Her study was of international importance.
Agnes Geijer had already in 1930 begun to work at the Pietas textile preservation studio. She took over as the studio leader from her aunt Agnes Branting. For the following 17 years she worked at Pietas where, along with her colleagues, she undertook comprehensive research and made major contributions to the conservation of historical textiles. In 1949 Pietas became a state institution and the textile studio was transferred to the Riksantivarieämbete (Swedish national heritage board) in Stockholm. Agnes Geijer became head of the textile department, and remained in post until 1965.
During her period working for the heritage board Agnes Geijer was also involved in setting up the Centre International d’Etudes des Textiles Anciens at Lyon. This opened in 1954 and she then became vice-president of the foundation and, along with researchers from across the globe, she developed an internationally valid terminology for historical textile techniques, and more. Agnes Geijer’s work with the foundation on Nordisk textilteknisk terminology was complete and ready for application within the research spheres in 1967.
Agnes Geijer was deeply engaged, educated, and practically skilled within her area of knowledge. Her comprehensive knowledge was presented in her book Ur textilkonstens historia, which was published in 1972. It was translated into English, and other languages and is still in use today (2017) on courses within the textile sphere. The book also gained renown beyond the academic world.
Agnes Geijer died in Stockholm in 1989, aged 90. She is buried at the Gamla cemetery in Uppsala. After her death the Stiftelse Agnes Geijers fond för nordisk textilforskning (Agnes Geijer foundation for Nordic textile research) was established. The aim of the foundation is to promote historical textile research within the Nordic countries.