Maud Adlercreutz, known under the pseudonym Maud, was one of the first great female reporters of the Swedish tabloids.
Maud Adlercreutz grew up in Berlin where her father was serving as military attaché during the First World War. When the family returned to Ystad in Sweden, her father wrote up his military memoirs for Sydsvenska Dagbladet and thereby became acquainted with Ewald Stomberg, one of the legendary newspaper figures of the era. Stomberg was about to move to Stockholm to begin working at Stockholms Dagblad and Maud Adlercreutz, who had listened to a radio programme on journalism as a profession, asked her father to facilitate an introduction to Stomberg and the newspaper world. Shortly thereafter the whole Adlercreutz family moved to Stockholm and in 1929 Maud Adlercreutz began to volunteer for Stockholms Dagblad. When, having proven her abilities, she sought a permanent job with them, she was informed that the newspaper already employed three female journalists. The editor-in-chief, Ewald Stomberg, resolved this by officially employing her as his secretary thanks to her excellent German language skills. Knowledge of foreign languages long served as a method of entry into the world of career journalism for women.
In 1931Stockholms Dagblad merged with Stockholms-Tidningen before disappearing completely. At the same time Aftonbladet, based in the same district of Stockholm, was being completely reorganized in order to target a younger audience, following British evening paper practices. In 1932 Maud Adlercreutz began to work at Aftonbladet as a general reporter along with Kid Severin, among others.
Maud Adlercreutz never sought to write for the women’s pages in the newspaper. Nevertheless, her almost 40 years’ worth of output was distinguished by her reports on women and children in the emergent modern society. She wrote many article series on women’s experiences in the workplace and female role models in traditionally male professions. She devised a new method of reporting, following female factory workers through their entire day, from breakfast at home, to the crèche, then on to the tobacco factory, and finally back home for preparing dinner.
Maud Adlercreutz’s aristocratic surname was both a boon and a hindrance to her journalistic work. Her secure social position and wide contact network meant that Maud Adlercreutz, for example, was the only journalist who obtained an interview with the deposed German emperor, Wilhelm II, when he was in exile in the Netherlands. However, she was prevented from travelling to the front during the Finnish Winter War as the editor-in-chief felt that her name and its military connotations would only cause difficulties and posed a serious risk to her safety. Instead, she reported on the conditions civilians lived under during the German occupation in Norway, the reception of Finnish child war refugees, and on prisoner of war exchanges in Gothenburg harbour, and undertook many more travels around Sweden.
In the post-war years the issue of women priests became a common theme in her work; another was the health and growth of children and adolescents, along with matters of modern marriage and committed relationships at a time of general societal change. Within the area of family matters, Maud Adlercreutz held a radical view from the perspective of child psychology, which may have been influenced by her experiences as a single mother. Maud Adlercreutz chose, like her friend and colleague Barbro Alving to have a child out of wedlock, and without the support of a male companion, which was not unprecedented in Stockholm’s journalism scene. Maud Adlercreutz frequently appears under the name of Moppan in Barbro Alving’s collections of causerie-style articles.
In 1967 Maud Adlercreutz stopped working at Aftonbladet, having spent several years as a mentor and sounding board for younger female colleagues at the paper. She continued to write columns for Femina, then a radical weekly. She also wrote several handbooks on living together and codes of conduct. Like many of her former professional colleagues, she was also a prolific translator with more than 30 titles to her name. After retiring she spent nearly 20 summers working at Träslottet in Arbrå, a centre for consumer sciences, which another colleague from Aftonbladet, Willy Maria Lundberg, had set up in the early 1960s.
Maud Adlercreutz died in 2000 and is buried at Norra begravningsplatsen (the Northern Cemetery) in Solna.