Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Karin Elisabet Andrén


Publishing house editor, popular educator

Karin Andrén was an editor and an influential publisher. She worked on several major book projects related to the Swedish church during the later decades of the 20th century.

Karin Andrén was born in Lund in 1927 and grew up in Ängelholm. Her parents were Herman Tengwall, a bank worker, and his wife Nancy, who was a physical training instructor. Karin Andrén began her education at the girls’ school in Helsingborg in 1942. She graduated from high school in 1945. In the autumn of that same year she began studying at Lund University. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1949 and one year later with a Master’s degree in politics. There were only six Master’s degrees awarded in politics in 1950, and Karin Andrén was the only woman among them.

In 1949 she married Carl-Gustaf Andrén, a naval priest, who went on to become first vice-chancellor and then chancellor of Lund University. The couple spent a year in London and Antwerp before returning to Lund. In the autumn of 1949 Karin Andrén became employed as a translator from English into Swedish at the British industrial fair in London.

Karin Andrén was active in various societies already early on and volunteered for positions of responsibility. She was “Ungfredrika” in Ängelholm in 1941 and came to be a member of the Lund section of the Fredrika-Bremer-Association for 56 years (1961-2017). She was its treasurer and later secretary for a total of 15 years, and chair of the discussion club during the 1960s. She was also treasurer in Lund’s Christian students’ association from 1946 to 1947 and its auditor in 1949.

Karin Andrén worked at the chancellery at the general conference of the Lutheran World Federation which was held in Lund in 1947, where she was responsible for foreign delegates from all over the globe. The 70th anniversary of that general conference was marked by a papal visit to Lund in the autumn of 2017. She was an assistant statistician for the Statsvetenskapliga in Lund in 1948 and for the spring semester of 1949.

Apart from the few years when her three sons were young, Karin Andrén remained professionally active throughout her adult life, and long into her retirement. She began her career path as a financial accountant at Lund university library where her title was simply library assistant. In 1972 she entered the publishing world through Håkan Ohlsson’s publishing house in Lund. This establishment was bought out by Verbum publishers in Stockholm in 1975. She worked there fulltime until 1990, after which she worked on a range of projects until 2003, a full 13 years after her retirement.

Karin Andrén was responsible for many projects which were connected to the Swedish church. One of the more long-term projects was the annual Kyrkoförfattningar, for which she was the editorial secretary from 1972 onwards and for which she was the editor from 1981 to 1999. In 1999 the publication was replaced by Svenska kyrkans bestämmelser, to which she contributed until 2003. She was also the editor of the statute book entitled Kyrklig administration from 1981 to 2003.

One of the larger one-off tasks was that Karin Andrén both wrote the manuscript for and published the volume Kyrkans ämbeten. Riks- och stiftsorgan, as part of a series called Kyrkolagarna III.

In 1986 she published the Swedish hymnal, which kept her busy for almost an entire year. The hymnal included melodies and had a section common to the Swedish church, nine free churches and the Roman-Catholic church in Sweden. This was an historical ecumenical project, which led to Karin Andrén becoming the editor of the nine free churches’ publication Psalmer och Sånger in 1987.

At the same time there were great reforms within matters relating to church services. As a result of this Karin Andrén became responsible for the publication of the two-volume set Den svenska kyrkohandboken in 1987. It was Karin Andrén’s suggestion that some sections of the book were provided in English, French and German to meet the needs of Swedish congregations abroad.

When the Andréns returned to Lund from Stockholm in 1990 Karin Andrén immediately began to consider establishing a pensioners’ university in Lund. She then became the driving force behind the setting up of Lunds pensionärsuniversitet. Karin Andrén had connected with Folkuniversitetet (the adult education university) during her time in Stockholm, and this organisation served as a sponsor for the pensioners’ university.

The basis of the institution’s activities were public lectures which were held each semester. During Karin Andrén’s period as chair over 200 lectures were delivered in various subjects. Karin Andrén carried on as chair of Lunds pensionärsuniversitet for 17 years, and in 2008 she was appointed honorary chair. She remained active in her honorary position right up until her death in 2016. Karin Andrén’s grave is located at Norra kyrkogården (the Northern Cemetery) in Lund.

Hans Modig
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2018-03-08

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

Karin Elisabet Andrén,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Hans Modig), retrieved 2024-05-24.

Other Names

    Maiden name: Tengwall

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Married
  • Mother: Nancy Tengwall, född Kullberg
  • Father: Oscar Herman Tengwall
  • Sister: Helena Marianne Tengwall, gift Björkman
more ...


  • Folkskola, Ängelholm
  • Läroverk, Ängelholm: Realexamen
  • Flickskola, Helsingborg: Studentexamen, Helsingborgs flickläroverk
more ...


  • Non-profit work: Clerk, Lutherska Världsförbundets general conference
  • Profession: Translator, British industrial fair
  • Profession: Library assistant, Lund university library
more ...


  • Lunds kristliga studentförbund
    Medlem, kassör t o m 1947, senare revisor
  • Statsvetenskapliga Intresseföreningen i Lund
  • Fredrika-Bremer-Förbundet
    Medlem i lundaavdelningen ("Ungfredrika" i Ängelholm under 1940-talet), kassör och senare sekreterare 1965–1980, ordförande i diskussionsklubben, 1960-talet
more ...


  • Birthplace: Lund
  • Ängelholm
  • Lund
  • Place of death: Lund



Unpublished source
  • Karin Andréns dagböcker, privat ägo

  • Karin minns (minnesanteckningar om tiden 1930-1968)

  • Min yrkesverksamhet hos Håkan Ohlssons förlag i Lund fr o m 1972

  • Uppgifter till artikelförfattaren från Karin Andréns familj

  • Lunds pensionärsuniversitet, [Lunds pensionärsuniversitet - samling av trycksaker], 200?-

Further References