Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Hedvig (Hedda) Elisabet Anderson


Teacher, school founder, author

Hedda Anderson was an author and an educator who was active during the nineteenth century.

Hedda Anderson was born in Botilsäter, Värmland in 1832. Her parents were Knut Freudenthal and Anna Elisabet Erikson. Her father, who had been a manager at an ironworks, suffered bankruptcy in 1834. As a result of this development the family moved to Rolfserud on the outskirts of Säffle.

Hedda Anderson was then separated from her parents and sent to live with her paternal uncle Freudenthal in Tösse, near Åmål, Dalsland. Her uncle was a parson and his home has been described by C.O. Arcadius as an educated, pious, and hospitable place. The same individual has, in turn, described Hedda Anderson as an intelligent and empathetic young person who possessed a richly developed mind. When she was 19 years old she began working as a teacher for several different families and she carried on doing this for several years. As the option of gaining formal teaching qualifications was not available to her she then set about obtaining the necessary skills by studying and taking private lessons.

In 1867 Hedda Anderson moved to Kristinehamn in order to take up a tutoring post for the local weighmaster’s daughter. Six years later, in 1873, Hedda Anderson married the said weighmaster, one Johan Elis Anderson. Hedda Anderson subsequently became one the founders of the girls’ school Kristinehamns läroverk för flickor and served as a member of the school board.

Johan Elis Anderson died in 1888. Two years later Hedda Anderson, now 58 years old, moved to Stockholm. It was at this point in her life that she began to write. She was also employed as at teacher at the Anna Sandström school, a private girls’ school.

Hedda Anderson wrote several children’s and youth books which were published by P.A. Norstedt & Söner. These books were themed on everyday life and several of them were illusrated by Jenny Nyström. Some of these titles included Rolfs sommarferier, from 1891; Rolfs nya kusiner, published in 1892; and Ur moster Lottas brefsamling, dating from 1895. In the ensuing years Hedda Anderson also produced, in the same genre, the following: Sagokvällar hos Moster Lotta – sagor ordnade för samläsning, published in 1897; Stadsflickor på landet, from 1899; and Lilla Lisa och hennes fosterbröder, released in 1901. She also served as the editor of a five-volume anthology for children aged between seven and twelve, which was entitled Från bokhyllan – läsning för hemmet och skolan, which was published in 1900.

Hedda Anderson’s most well-read works were her collections of revised folk tales, including: the 1893 Nordiska sagor; Norska konungasagor, from 1894; Grekiska sagor, released in 1895; and Sagor om Trojanska kriget och dess hjältar, published in 1905. These fairytale collections were printed in many editions and were heavily used in schools across Sweden.

Hedda Anderson also produced textbooks which were often used for primary school teaching. This included a two-volume compilation of stories from the Old and New Testaments, published during 1891–1892 as Berättelser ur den heliga skrift för barn, but more notably the book Den kristna tros- och sedeläran, published in 1906, which became widely distributed. Hedda Anderson also wrote Svenska språköfningar, from 1895, which was revised in 1906 for use in teaching the Swedish language in Finnish schools.

During the 1880s Hedda Anderson also had her work published in newspapers such as Arbetarens vän and Linnea. In 1887 she submitted a story called ʻFarmors förlofning’ for inclusion in the summer issue of Fredrika-Bremer-Förbundet’s organ Dagny, which she signed off using the initials H. E. She also contributed to Folkskolans Barntidning (later known as Kamratposten) from its inception in 1892.

Hedda Anderson also produced translations of other works, such as Leopold Budde’s Christmas story Dødens gudsøn, from 1891, and Elisabeth Wetherall’s novel The Wide World in 1898.

In 1896 Hedda Anderson was elected as a member of Sällskapet Nya Idun. This society had been set up by Ellen Key, Ellen Fries, Calla Curman, Hanna Winge, and Amelie Wikström eleven years earlier. Sällskapet Nya Idun was formed in response to Sällskapet Idun which exclusively catered to men of culture and of which Calla Curman’s husband, Carl Curman, was a member.

Hedda Anderson was one of the founders of Privata högre lärarinneseminariet (private advanced female teacher-training programme) which was established in Stockholm in 1899. This was a school for teachers intending to offer both home-based instruction or to work in advanced girls’ schools. Initially the training programme was based at Nybrogatan 13 but the enterprise then moved to Riddargatan 23. In 1911 Hedda Anderson’s step-daughter, Sofi Anderson, became the programme director.

Hedda Anderson died in Stockholm in 1912.

Anette Rydberg
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2021-01-23

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Hedvig (Hedda) Elisabet Anderson,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Anette Rydberg), retrieved 2024-05-20.

Other Names

    Maiden name: Freudenthal
    Pseudonym: H.E., Elisabet

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Widow
  • Mother: Anna Elisabet, kallad Anna Lisa, Freudenthal, född Eriksson
  • Father: Knut Freudenthal
  • Brother: Johan Jakob Freudenthal
more ...


  • Profession: Privatlärare
  • Profession: Medgrundare, lärare, Kristinehamns läroverk för flickor
  • Profession: Lärare, Anna Sandströms skola
more ...


  • Colleague: Jenny Nyström
  • Relative: Sofi Anderson, styvdotter


  • Sällskapet Nya Idun


  • Birthplace: Säffle
  • Säffle
  • Tösse
more ...


Further References