Birgit Ridderstedt

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Birgit Ridderstedt
Birgit Ridderstedt.jpg
Her regional folk costume from Stora Tuna in the Dales Province (Dalecarlia) was Birgit Ridderstedt's usual performing wardrobe. Photo: FamSAC.
Background information
Birth name Ragnhild Birgit Anderson
Also known as Bebe or Bibbi Ridderstedt
Born (1914-11-26)November 26, 1914
Origin Sweden
Died September 16, 1985(1985-09-16) (aged 70)
Genres Singer and producer
Years active 1936–1973
Ridderstedt at her gift shop "Scandinavia in Batavia" in 1957.

Birgit Ridderstedt (November 26, 1914 – September 16, 1985) was a Swedish-American folk singer and cultural ambassador[1] who appeared at festivals and on television in the 1950s and early 1960s with material she produced herself.


Born in Ludvika, Sweden, a daughter of Stefan Anderson and Ragnhild Fredrika Sandberg, she immigrated with her husband C. Erik Ridderstedt[2] and two small sons to the United States in 1950, settling in Chicago and later in Batavia, Illinois.


Ridderstedt was a cultural personality who gave presentations of Scandinavian music and folklore on WTTW and WGN television in Chicago in the 1950s and early 1960s. Her television appearances on public service[3] and eventually for commercial channels in Chicago added to her notoriety in the Chicago media market. On Polka Go-Round she also had young children singing Swedish songs and highschool youths doing folk dancing.[4] When after 12 years Ridderstedt left Illinois, a total of 45 young people had been with her on some ten TV programs about such Scandinavian celebrations as Midsummer, Lucy Day and Passion Plays; she had also performed four times with her groups in the annual Swedish Days festivities of Geneva, Illinois, and often had appeared with orations and songs for various organizations.[5]

Thus organizing entertainment for festivals and parades especially popular with Scandinavian-Americans in the Fox Valley (Illinois), Ridderstedt also opened her own gift shop.[6] She worked to establish a previously unusual cooperation between any talented residents she could find of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish extraction. Ridderstedt returned to Sweden in 1962 with her family, but was also active in western Florida in the 1970s with her folk song programs.

The Ridderstedt couple lived in the Stockholm suburb of Täby when retired; he died in 1982. Their family grave is found in Stora Tuna Churchyard. Birgit Ridderstedt was the mother of Swedish-American writer and entertainment director, Jacob Truedson Demitz.


Ridderstedt also wrote songs of her own in the early 1950s which have been registered with STIM.[7] “Twinkling Stars” was used in 1975 in AlexCab for a parody of The Osmonds;[8] and ”I Love Christmas Time” for a single gramophone record in 1990 with Agneta Lindén and Ola Isedal;.[9] In 2013 "She Gave Me My Darling Man"[10] was used in a cabaret noir at Michelangelo restaurant in Stockholm's Old Town.

References and Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dagens Nyheter (Stockholm), Sept. 27, 1985 p. 45
  2. ^ Expressen (Stockholm), July 19, 1953 p. 3
  3. ^ TV Guide, June 6, 1959 p. A-38
  4. ^ Aurora Beacon News (Illinois), Dec. 31, 1960
  5. ^ Aurora Beacon News (Illinois) 2 juli 1961
  6. ^ Chicago Tribune, Oct. 10, 1985 p. 4-14
  7. ^ List at Stim (log-in required)
  8. ^ Shown on Wikimedia Commons
  9. ^ Photo on Wikimedia Commons
  10. ^ Video on YouTube

External links[edit]