Royal Seminary

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Exterior, c. 1910

The Royal Seminary, fully the Royal Advanced Female Teachers' Seminary[1] (Swedish: Kungliga Högre Lärarinneseminariet, abbreviated KHLS), was a normal school (teachers' college) in Stockholm, Sweden. It was active from 1861 until 1943. It was the first public institution of higher academic learning open to women in Sweden.

The Royal Normal School for Girls (Statens normalskola för flickor) was a secondary school attached to the Royal Seminary. It served as a feeder program for the seminary and was the first public girls' school in the country.

History[edit]

The Royal Seminary was founded after the so-called Hertha debate over women's rights prompted by Fredrika Bremer's 1856 novel Hertha. At the time, Swedish women (unless widowed or divorced) were considered incompetent wards of their husbands, fathers, or brothers under the Civil Code of 1734 and could only be granted legal majority by a personal petition to the Crown. The novel argued against this and supported female admission to institutions of higher education. It was ultimately successful on both counts. The Swedish Parliament permitted women to petition their local courthouses instead of the king in 1858 and finally granted legal majority to all women over the age of 25 in 1863. The call for entry to higher education was answered first by Stockholm's 1859 Learning Course for Women (Lärokursen för fruntimmer). Subsidized by influential men, the Learning Course provided free lectures and private recitations for elective classes covering religion, natural science, mathematics, history, grammar, literature, French, personal hygiene, and drawing.[2] When this proved hugely popular, it was expanded into a full normal school.

The Royal Seminary for the Training of Female Teachers (Kongl. Seminariet för bildande af lärarinnor) was inaugurated on 1 October 1861 and was likewise free.[2] In addition to the subjects provided by its predecessor, it offered courses in German, English, geography, natural philosophy, and pedagogy.[2] The first head of the institution was Hilda Elfving, the governess of the royal princess Louise. It was organized along new lines by Jane Miller Thengberg in 1864, which made it the focus of study trips from other schools nationwide.[3] The foremost purpose of the seminary was the training of female teachers for public elementary schools and girls' schools. The study period was three years with a voluntary additional year. In 1873, the other Swedish universities were opened to women, but female students were initially rare. During the 1880s, the Royal Seminary was still described as the foremost center for female academics.[4] It became increasingly obsolete as women gained greater admittance to the other schools, however, and was finally closed in 1943.

Royal Normal School for Girls[edit]

The Royal Normal School for Girls opened in 1 October 1864, acting as a feeder program and training ground for the Royal Seminary.[2]

The headmaster of the Royal Seminary acted as its principal, but it also had its own head master, who was always to be a female. Both of them was under the supervision of a directory of the state.[5]

It was the first public girls' school in the country, admitting girls with at least 4 years of elementary education.[6] The levels were six (initially five), of which the four middle classes lasted two years, which amounted to 10 classes in all.[7] Of eleven classes available, three were defined as preparatory classes and eight to the elementary classes.[8] After eight years of study, the student took the normal school graduation, which was roughly equivalent to that of the graduation of a male student from the Gymnasium (school).

The Normal School was to act as a role model for all the girls' schools in Sweden and advertise the latest innovation of and recommendations of state policy in this regard.[9] The system of the school was what was to be referred to as the "normal school type", and the "8th classes girls' school", as it was called, became the customary definition to whether a girls' school could be called a proper secondary education school for girls or not.[10]

Although it was not free, scholarships permitted fifteen free pupils and five reduced-fee pupils each term.[2]

Notable students[edit]

A great number of notable personalities were students at the Royal Seminary during its existence. Among them were Albertina Carlsson, Emilia Fogelklou, Selma Lagerlöf, Lilly Engström, Jeanna Oterdahl, Anna Maria Roos, Anna Sandström, Maria Stenkula, Alice Tegnér, and Anna Whitlock.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Fevrell, Valter (1943), Kungl. Högre lärarinneseminariet in memoriam: minnesrunor, Stockholm: Geber . (in Swedish)
  • Barrio de López, Silbano (2002), "Kungliga högre lärarinneseminariet och flickskolans framväxt", Sekelskiftets utmaningar, pp. 181–198 . (in Swedish)
  • "Högre lärarinneseminarium", Nordisk familjebok, 1910 . (in Swedish)
  • 1 (PDF) . (in Swedish)

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Lagerlöf (1891), p. 8.
  2. ^ a b c d e Olivecrona (1884), p. 201.
  3. ^ Jane Miller Thengberg, urn:sbl:9352, Svenskt biografiskt lexikon (art av Gunilla Karlsson), hämtad 2015-01-03.
  4. ^ A Gurli Linder, urn:sbl:10521, Svenskt biografiskt lexikon (art av Lena Kåreland), hämtad 2015-01-03.
  5. ^ Heckscher, Ebba, Några drag ur den svenska flickskolans historia: under fleres medverkan samlade, Norstedt & söner, Stockholm, 1914
  6. ^ Heckscher, Ebba, Några drag ur den svenska flickskolans historia: under fleres medverkan samlade, Norstedt & söner, Stockholm, 1914
  7. ^ Heckscher, Ebba, Några drag ur den svenska flickskolans historia: under fleres medverkan samlade, Norstedt & söner, Stockholm, 1914
  8. ^ Heckscher, Ebba, Några drag ur den svenska flickskolans historia: under fleres medverkan samlade, Norstedt & söner, Stockholm, 1914
  9. ^ Heckscher, Ebba, Några drag ur den svenska flickskolans historia: under fleres medverkan samlade, Norstedt & söner, Stockholm, 1914
  10. ^ Heckscher, Ebba, Några drag ur den svenska flickskolans historia: under fleres medverkan samlade, Norstedt & söner, Stockholm, 1914

Bibliography[edit]

Coordinates: 59°20′05″N 18°04′34″E / 59.3348°N 18.0760°E / 59.3348; 18.0760