Elise Malmros was one of the first female Swedish bank accountants. She possessed a strong sense of justice and was very active in the philanthropic sphere.
Elise Malmros was born to Swedish parents in France in 1849. The family moved to Landskrona in 1856 when her father was appointed as accountant to Landskrona sockerbruk (sugar mill). Her father also trained Elise Malmros in clerical skills and accountancy. As far as is known she, in 1882, became the first woman in Sweden to hold the position of accountant at Rönnebergs sparbank (savings bank).
Elise Malmros was a determined woman who was passionate about social issues and charitable works. She wanted to eliminate poverty and, along with her friend Selma Lagerlöf, set out various goals for their social activism. This included Elise Malmros establishing evening schools for the benefit of poor children and young women. She also sat on the board of the poor relief agency and of the town’s school.
In 1872 Elise Malmros became involved in setting up the charity association Landskrona Syföreningen för välgörenhet, a sewing association largely aimed at the town’s middle-class women. Elise Malmros herself never married, devoting her time instead to charity and to caring for her parents and family.
Elise Malmros has primarily become known for her friendship with Selma Lagerlöf. Along with a third mutual friend, Anna Oom, the women engaged, over a 50-year period, in a correspondence which numbers around 800 letters. Elise Malmros and Selma Lagerlöf mostly wrote to each other about religious matters, poor relief work, and the ever-present subject of death. Elise Malmros is described in the letters as a maternalistic friend who displayed extra care for Selma Lagerlöf, providing her with a social conscience and exerting great influence over her finances, even after Selma Lagerlöf had moved away from Landskrona. Several of Selma Lagerlöf’s short stories were in fact inspired by Elise Malmros, including “Gamla Agneta” and “Rönnebergs sparbank”.
Elise Malmros died in 1937. She is buried at Landskrona cemetery.