Aurora Liljenroth was one of the first women in Sweden to matriculate.
Clara Aurora Liljenroth was born on Visingsö in Lake Vättern in 1772, the daughter of Hedvig Margareta Rudebeck and Sven Peter Liljenroth, a Latin teacher at Visingsö upper secondary school. When Aurora Liljenroth was only seven, her mother died and after that she was brought up with her three brothers by their father. He is said to have been more interested in the children’s learning than in caring for them and their home. Aurora Liljenroth learned Latin and other subjects at an early age, and in December 1780, after having undergone a comprehensive examination and “been found to make a very good start in necessary sciences and the Latin language” she was accepted at Braheskolan, which was an upper secondary school. Such schools were normally only for boys, but a couple of girls had already been accepted at Braheskolan during the 1600s, which legitimised her acceptance.
Aurora Liljenroth had a great deal of attention paid to her by her contemporaries, not only because she was a female scholar but above all for her exceptional intellectual gifts. Already during her first term, at the age of only eight, she held a speech to celebrate the birth of an heir to the throne, in front of the whole school and the dignitaries of the region. The speech was described in Post- och Inrikes Tidningar. On other occasions when she gave speeches during the following years, sometimes in verse, to celebrate the princes’ birthdays, the news was spread by the press about this extraordinary girl. In November 1788, she matriculated with excellent marks in all subjects. That was also an occasion that she gave a speech that awoke much attention, this time in French.
The attention paid to Aurora Liljenroth as a female student was all positive, but she is said to have been embarrassed by all the attention. According to a memorial publication from the 1880s, written by one of her grandchildren, she is supposed to have considered that it was her father who wanted to show her off like a “prize doll”. She continued to read a great deal, both sciences and other subjects during her whole life, and enjoyed copying interesting essays and articles. However, she never wrote anything herself and used her extensive education, as it was for that time, mainly to write letters and compose birthday and name’s day verses to family and friends.
After her matriculation, Aurora Liljenroth took care of her father’s household for several years, but moved later to Växjö. There she met Anders Eneström, a works owner, whom she married in May 1798. At first they lived at his works in Lessebo. In 1802, they sold Lessebo works and moved to Ramsberg in the province of Närke, where Anders Eneström already owned the Kloten works and shares in various other works. According to the population register, they had sold these shares by 1814 and they sold Kloten in 1822.
The couple had six children, three daughters and three sons, of whom the youngest son did not survive his delivery. At the same time as they started winding up their interests in the works, they built a new home for themselves at Torrbråten in Ramsberg, to which the family moved in 1814. They called it Liljendal Manor after Aurora Liljenroth. Anders Eneström died in 1824, after which Aurora Liljenroth remained at Liljendal, together with her youngest daughter, to start with. As a widow, she was described as “a guide for her underlings, a secure help for those who needed her advice and support”.
Aurora Liljenroth died at the age of 64, in 1836. She lies buried in the Ramsberg Old Cemetery.