Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Helga Maria Silverstolpe


Suffragette, teacher

Helga Silverstolpe was the adopted daughter of Anna Whitlock. She worked at the Whitlockska coeducational school in Stockholm. She was active in the National Association for Women’s Suffrage (FKPR) and chairwoman in the local branch in Västerås.

Helga Silverstolpe was born in 1881, the fifth child of Klara Charlotta Norling, née Johansson and Per Olof Norling, a factory worker. A few months after the youngest child’s birth, their mother died. Their father remarried and two sons were born in his new marriage. Before Helga Silverstolpe’s mother died, she had come to an agreement with her husband that their daughter should move to live with Anna Whitlock as a foster child. Anna Whitlock was the school pioneer who had founded the Whitlockska girls’ school (later the Whitlockska coeducational school) in Stockholm in 1878. Anna Whitlock was single and the relationship between her and Helga Silverstolpe gradually developed into one that was warm and respectful. Helga Silverstolpe was able to attend the Whitlockska girls’ school and for a time she was a nanny at the home of Carl och Karin Larsson. The famous artist painted a portrait of Helga Silverstolpe that hung in the school until its closure in 1978. The painting can also be seen in the background in Natanael Beskow’s portrait of Anna Whitlock.

Anna Whitlock’s engagement for women’s suffrage permeated Helga Silverstolpe’s growing up. She met other supporters of women’s rights in society in connection with for example Ellen Key, Emilia Broomé and Ann Margret Holmgren when they visited their home. Helga Silverstolpe was eventually employed as a teacher at Anna Whitlock’s primary school that changed its name in 1893 to Stockholms nya samskola. There she remained until her marriage. In 1903, she was engaged to Helge Silverstolpe and two years later they were married in Djursholm. Helge Silverstolpe was an engineer and he eventually became the works manager at Surahammars works. The couple had four children in 1907–1921.

In the autumn of 1906, a branch of FKPR was started in Västerås. Helga Silverstolpe was engaged in the Västerås branch and was the chairwoman for a number of years and a member of the central board. At the annual general meeting in 1916, Anna Löfgren was elected as vice chairwoman and the other members of the board were Nina Benner-Anderson, a substitute to the central board, Emelie Bergström, Ruth Randall Edström, Vira Eklund, Anna von Essen, Ida Johansson and Ester Kolmodin.

In February 1956, the Silverstolpe couple were involved in a traffic accident. The car in which they were travelling collided with a petrol truck and both were transported to hospital by ambulance. Helge Silverstolpe survived with a few minor injuries, but Helga Silverstolpe suffered broken ribs and injuries to her arms and knees. A few weeks later, on 1 April 1956, she died. In her obituary, funeral speeches were not welcomed. She was 74 years of age.

Ulla Åshede
(Translated by Margaret Myers)

Published 2021-03-29

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Helga Maria Silverstolpe,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Ulla Åshede), retrieved 2024-04-22.

Other Names

    Maiden name: Norling
    Adoptive name: Whitlock

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Married
  • Mother: Klara Charlotta Norling, född Johansson
  • Father: Per Olof Norling
  • Adoptive mother: Anna Whitlock
more ...



  • Profession: Lärare, Anna Whitlocks småbarnsskola
  • Profession: Barnflicka hos Karin Larsson


  • Friend: Anna Löfgren
  • Friend: Anna Elisabeth von Essen
  • Friend: Ester Kolmodin
more ...


  • Föreningen för kvinnans politiska rösträtt (FKPR, lokalavdelning av LKPR)
    Ordförande, Västeråskretsen
  • Landsföreningen för kvinnans politiska rösträtt (LKPR)
    Ledamot, Centralstyrelsen


  • Birthplace: Stockholm
  • Stockholm
  • Västerås
more ...


Further References

  • ’Helga Silverstolpe’ [Nekrolog], Svenska Dagbladet, 1956-04-03

Helga Silverstolpe. Photographer and year unknown. Image source: Svenskt Porträttarkiv (CC-BY-SA 4.0)
Helga Silverstolpe. Photographer and year unknown. Image source: Svenskt Porträttarkiv (CC-BY-SA 4.0)


19th century 20th century Suffrage Women's movement Teachers