In Memory of Ulla Ehrensvärd 1927-2015

A letter can certainly be life changing!

For Ulla Ehrensvärd, such was the letter which the National Librarian Uno Willers addressed to her in 1963 beckoning her to assume the duties as the Head of the Map Division at the Kungl. biblioteket/National Library of Sweden.  Willers had taken notice of Ehrensvärd during her first tour of duty at the library from 1953 to 1959.  Ehrensvärd heeded Willer’s call and served the library for more than two decades before assuming a similar position at the Military Archives.

Ehrensvärd was Sweden’s internationally most acclaimed maps expert and published countless monographs and articles on cartography and its history.  Her gamut was great indeed, ranging from book illustration to book art, from architectural drafts to historical landscape surveys, from architectural monuments to postcards.  Her dissertation from 1974 explored the work of the Swedish engraver Erik Lindberg (1873-1966).

Erik Lindberg and Ulla Ehrensvärd at the National Library of Sweden in 1959

Ehrensvärd made the collections of the Kungl. biblioteket both apprehensible and comprehensible as few others have. Her scholarly pursuits were not limited to her publications. She was also a conceiver and curator of countless exhibitions which revealed her investigative talents and her deep grasp of the material.  This was recognized abroad.  In 2014, she was awarded the Helen Wallis Award by the International Map Collectors’ Society in London, thus becoming the first Swedish recipient of this prestigious distinction.

She will be sorely missed by her colleagues, the scholarly community and the learned general public.


Contact person: Greger Bergvall, e-mail: firstname.lastname@kb.se

National Library