Ruth Hedberg was an author who wrote under the pseudonymen Elsa Eschillius. She was also a literary scholar and a culture critic.
Ruth Hedberg was born on 8 July 1900 in Burlöv. She was the daughter of Fredrik Jonas Collin, a wholesale merchant, and his wife Helena Karolina Collin, née Persson. Ruth Hedberg matriculated at Åhlinska skolan in Stockholm in 1920. After that, she registered at the Stockholm College, nowadays the University of Stockholm, and there she met Carl Olof (Olle) Hedberg with whom she was to spend the rest of her life. Ruth and Olle Hedberg were married in the autumn of 1923 and in the spring two years later, Ruth Hedberg gained her B.A. degree. Olle Hedberg had started his authorship and Ruth Hedberg had started her research studies in literature. In 1929, their daughter Birgitta was born and a couple of years later Ruth Hedberg started working as a journalist on Östgöta Correspondenten in Linköping.
The Hedbergs had a flat in Stockholm but lived mostly in an old cottage at Verveln on the border between the provinces of Östergötland and Småland. In Verveln, there was peace and quiet. There Ruth Hedberg wrote her debut novel En vecka i Skåne: roman that was published in 1934. She wrote under the pseudonym Elsa Eschillius. The critics were benign and the book was described as ”cheerful and unembarrassed /…/, in which the prongs of satire carve, not bloody but particularly purposive curves in their victims’ skins”.
Apart from her authorship, Ruth Hedberg wrote in the press, not only for Östgöta Correspondenten. She was an informant and critic for the major Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet and for Bonniers Litterära Magasin as well as a contributor to Idun, a voice for the women’s cause. She was appointed a literary chronicler by AB Radiotjänst in 1942, the same year as her second book appeared: Fru Dygd och fru Lusta: roman. The book was to be included in the department store NK’s reading circles: Fria Läsecirklar. In 1948, Ruth Hedberg gained her Licentiate with a study on Anna Maria Lenngren. In connection with this, she published Three columns by Anna Maria Lenngren.
At a literary event at Stockholm College, the Hedbergs got to know Dr Dagmar Lange with whom they often socialised when visiting Stockholm. In connection with Dagmar Lange’s completion of a detective story manuscript, she asked the Hedbergs to read and comment on the text. That is how her pseudonym Maria Lang came into being.
The marriage between Ruth and Olle Hedberg was according to unanimous sources very happy. They were inseparable, travelled together, worked side by side, and encouraged and supported each other. They did not have an extensive social circle but some cultural personalities turned up as guests in their home, for example Hjalmar Gullberg and Fredrik Böök with his wife Tora Böök.
Ruth Hedberg was afflicted by cancer and died after a few years’ illness, on 22 May 1959. She was 58 years old and was given her last resting place in Tidersrum Cemetery. Her book Ej med klagan: essayer was published posthumously in 1960. It consists of essays and her previously published theatre reviews. Karl Ragnar Gierow gave Ruth Hedberg the epithet: “A daughter of Mrs Lenngren”.