Inga Ehrström was an actor and an author. She wrote four autobiographical travelogues.
Inga Ehrström grew up in Sweden. Her parents were Georg Sundberg, a manager, and his wife Emma-Malin. In 1933 Inga Ehrström attended the Julia Håkansson school for actors. She then began to make a name for herself as an actor, working with the likes of Gösta Ekman. Her career was disrupted in 1934 when she married the Finnish-Swedish doctor Mons-Christian Ehrström. They had two children together, Christman and Christel. A year after losing her husband to cancer in 1950 Inge Ehrström returned to her earlier profession and began to act again. One of her parts was a supporting role in Ingmar Bergman’s film Frånskild, 1951. However, it was through her four very special travelogues that she became known to posterity.
Inga Ehrström’s first travelogue, Slocknad är elden, 1953, recounts a visit to a post-Second World War Greenland which was teetering on the change-over from its original Inuit culture to a foreign Western culture. Inga Ehrström was accompanying her husband on his research trip to Greenland during which he examined the prevalence of societal diseases such as vegetative neuroses, psychosomatic illnesses, and allergies. This was “a happy year”, according to her son Christman Ehrström, who wrote his own autobiographical account called Regnbåge och vita lakan: en medicinsk reseskildring, 1982. Christman Ehrström became a doctor like his father, and wrote travelogues like his mother.
During the journey home from Greenland it was discovered that Mons-Christian Ehrström was suffering from cancer and he died a short while after his return to Finland. Inga Ehrström helped her husband to complete a dissertation summarising the empirical scientific data he had gathered on the Greenland trip. Inga Ehrström viewed Slocknad är elden as the popular book her late husband had intended to write but ran out of time to deliver. In many ways it resembles a pioneer’s account of a previously unknown and impenetrable country. The book generated a lot of interest and respect for its objectivity and its proficiency when it was published and it was translated into several languages.
Inga Ehrström’s next book, entitled Vid stranden av ett hav, 1955, describes the couple’s difficult return home and more closely resembles a declaration of love for her husband and a lament over his loss. It also describes the Finnish-Swedish culture in a manner which generated attention.
Towards the end of the 1950s Inga Ehrström was commissioned by Bonnier publishing house to write a travelogue for South America. Her daughter Christel joined her on her travels. They spent two years travelling by jeep through the poverty and misery of South America. Inga Ehrström describes the fatigue and the impressions, initially in reports which she sent back to Sweden, and subsequently in the travelogue entitled Ännu blommar våra träd: med jeep genom Argentina och Paraguay, 1963. This was followed, two years later, by the powerful and almost recklessly self-expository La Casita, named after the house which Inga Ehrström and her daughter borrowed from a friendly Dane in order to rest up after the long journey. The house slowly transforms from a lovely holiday home to hell on earth. Inga Ehrström, who is unknowingly suffering from an ever-worsening case of blood poisoning, increasingly powerlessly watches as her daughter disappears into the shadows. With no thought of protecting her own or her daughter’s reputation she describes the developing struggle between her and her daughter as her daughter’s behaviour becomes increasinlgy bizarre, and she herself gives in to powerlessness and anger, and finally her daughter’s suicide.
Between the years of 1960–1963 Inga Ehrström was married to manager Nils Erik Gustaf Bruncrona. After their divorce Inga Ehrström came to spend ever longer periods in Spain. According to her son Inga Ehrström never recovered from her daughter’s death, and this eventually led her into an all-absorbing alcohol and medicine addiction.
Inga Ehrström died in Málaga in 1966. She is buried in Hietaniemi cemetery in Helsinki.