Mamsell

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Mamsell (From the French Mademoiselle) was a historical Swedish honorific used for unmarried women from about the mid 18th-century until 1866. The title was primarily used for middle class women and women in the cities.

History[edit]

The first title used for unmarried women in Sweden was jungfru. In the 18th century, Mamsell became common; although unmarried noblewomen were called "Fröken" (Miss). Similarly, the title "Fru" (Mrs) was used only for married noblewomen, and married middle-class women were called "Madam" (from French: Madame). After the parliamentary reform which abolished the Riksdag of the Estates in 1866, the title "Fröken" was allowed for all unmarried women, and the title Mamsell - as well as the married equivalent Madam - ceased to be used.

The reform was mentioned in the 1866/67 New Year's show at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm in the satirical song (which rhymes in Swedish):

Away with the old ghosts mamsell'es!
Now every girl can be a Miss,
Unless she prefers to be a Mrs
In 1867

At the Royal Dramatic Theatre, however, the reform was not introduced until after director Edholm was replaced in 1881.

References[edit]

  • Georg Nordensvan: Svensk teater och svenska skådespelare från gustav III till våra dagar. andra boken 1842-1918 (1918)
  • Johan Flodmark: Stenborgska skådebanorna
  • Trygve Byström: Svenska komedien 1737-1754