Ezaline Boheman was active in several of the major movements and organisations of her time. Her fourfold engagement with the suffrage movement, the Swedish Tourist Association, the cooperative movement and the promotion of liberal ideas was guided by her visions of modernity, primarily based on democracy, equality and mobility, both on a societal and a physical level.
Ezaline Boheman was born in 1863 in Huddinge parish. Her parents were the farmer Auguste Giron and Hilma Lönbohm. Her father’s roots lay in the French-speaking part of Switzerland whilst her mother came from an old Bergslagen family. Ezaline Boheman lost her mother at an early age and was brought up by her maternal grandmother in Stockholm. She attended the Wallin school at the time that Ellen Fries was a teacher and director of studies there.
As a teenager Ezaline Boheman went to live in Lund with her aunt Hedvig Borelius, who was married to the professor of philosophy Jacob Borelius. Ezaline Boheman landed in the midst of an intellectual environment where philosophical debates raged between proponents of Boströmian philosophy and those who supported the Hegelian perspective in the Swedish academic world. Jacob Borelius was a Hegelian who seriously engaged in the dispute with the Boströmians. It is unclear how far Ezaline Boheman was influenced by her uncle’s ideas and philosophical stance. Her cousin Hilma Borelius probably was. She was one of the first women to gain a doctorate in Sweden, and she was actively engaged in the women’s movement. In addition to her research, where she preferred to be named among female writers, Hilma Borelius became known for her articles and pamphlets on the suffragettes. Both Hilma Borelius and Ezaline Boheman eventually became prominent figures in Landsföreningen för kvinnans politiska rösträtt (LKPR) (National Association for Women’s Suffrage).
During her time in Lund Ezaline Boheman met the man who later became her husband, Mauritz Boheman. The couple married in 1887 and one year later their son Torsten was born. The family settled in Stockholm, where Mauritz Boheman, who had a doctorate in Romance languages, worked at the National Library. In addition to this, he edited Svenska Turistföreningens årsskrift (Swedish Tourist Association’s annual). Mauritz Boheman died in 1908 after long illness, and subsequent to her husband’s death Ezaline Boheman, having previously helped her husband with the annuals, took over his work for the Swedish Tourist Association. She was very skilled at obtaining good authors for the annual publication. Several of the members of the Swedish Academy, or those about to join, can be found amongst those who provided material during her period as editor. She was also responsible for the journal’s regional series, which dedicated a given annual publication to a particular region. In 1925 Ezaline Boheman was awarded the Tourist Association’s gold medal, and when she retired from her post as editor in 1928 she was awarded the Illis Quorum.
Around the same time that Ezaline Boheman started to work with the Swedish Tourist Association, she also became secretary of the LKPR. The association was then in the midst of an active campaign period. In 1910 there were 12,000 members, compared with the 3,500 there had been when the association was established in 1903. In the summer of 1911 the central committee passed a resolution implying that nothing should be expected of the political right wing, as it was seen to be increasingly distancing itself from women’s suffrage. In the ensuing autumn elections LKPR only supported those parties which included women’s suffrage in their manifestos and actively promoted it within the parliament. This led to great debate within the association. It was largely due to Hilma Borelius’ actions that not a single conservative women’s suffrage organisation emerged at the time. Despite her conservative sympathies, Borelius fully supported and defended the central committee’s decision.
Ezaline Boheman did not only work for the Tourist Association and LKPR. In 1905 she became chair of Kvinnornas Andelsförening Svenska Hem, a women’s cooperative in Stockholm. She also edited Meddelanden från Svenska Hem, a publication which became the association’s main contribution to advocacy of the cooperative movement. The initiator of Svenska Hem was the women's suffrage activist Anna Whitlock, who had been inspired by the British cooperative movement. The aim of the association’s activities was to provide its members with necessities and essential groceries. Several shops were opened and the association’s efforts became quite successful if somewhat short-lived.
Ezaline Boheman was politically a free-minded liberal. She was a member of both Frisinnade landsförening (free-minded liberal national association) and Frisinnade Kvinnors Riksförbund (free-minded liberal women’s national association). The latter began as a support group for the former, but was not the women’s equivalent. What was particular about these liberal women – amongst whom the Tidevarv and Fogelstad groups were formed – was that they tried to be political beyond the limits of party politics, and not just in certain areas but across an entire societal manifesto.
Ezaline Boheman was first and foremost a person of action, an activist of her era. Her ideas and standpoints were expressed in her activities. She showed how seemingly unrelated activities could be linked on a fundamental ideological level.
Ezaline Boheman died in 1939. She is buried at the Jacob cemetery in Stockholm.