Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Sara Christina Wilhelmina Apollonia Pfeiffer



Sara Pfeiffer was a popular entertainment writer who wrote stories based on everyday life as well as historical novels.

Sara Pfeiffer was born in Lund in 1829, where her father worked as a municipal doctor. The family moved to Gothenburg in 1835, when her father was appointed the chief municipal doctor there and in 1843 he was made a professor. In 1857 Sara Pfeiffer married the agriculturalist Carl Pfeiffer, who had previously been a lieutenant serving in the Prussian army. They had two daughters together.

Sara Pfeiffer started to write when she was a young girl. However, it was when her husband fell into financial difficulties that she started working as an author as she needed to contribute to the family’s income. Her first book was published in 1864 and was released under the pseudonym Sylvia, entitled Fosterbarnet. Medaljongen. Tvenne berättleser. She was then active as an author for the rest of her life. After her husband’s death she moved to Stockholm. In addition to her two daughters she also had a foster son living at home with her. Shortly thereafter a lodger moved in, implying that the family finances were still shaky. In 1880 Sara Pfeiffer opened a lending library at Hornsgatan 12, but this closed after a few years. Further to her writing she also undertook typing jobs.

Sara Pfeiffer’s comprehensive output is generally characterised as pure entertainment literature. As well as writing about everyday experiences, such as Taflor ur Göteborgslifvet, 1867-1869, and Byhistorier från Skåne, 1867, she also wrote a number of historical novels. The novel series Furstegunst, 1900-1901, portrays Duchess Magdalena Rudenschöld, the dancer Sophie Hagman and the actress Emilie Högqvist. Despite her productivity, the income from her writing seems to have been quite meagre.

Sara Pfeiffer died in Stockholm in 1913.

Eva Heggestad
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2018-03-08

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

Sara Christina Wilhelmina Apollonia Pfeiffer,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Eva Heggestad), retrieved 2023-09-26.

Other Names

    Maiden name: Schönbeck
    Pseudonym: Sylvia

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Widow
  • Mother: Sophia Wilhelmina Leche
  • Father: Carl Gustaf Schönbeck
  • Brother: Carl Wilhelm Gustaf Julius Schönbeck
more ...


  • Profession: Författare
  • Profession: Grundare och föreståndare, privat lånebibliotek
  • Profession: Renskrivare


  • Birthplace: Lund
  • Lund
  • Göteborg
more ...


  • Hallman, Mia, 'Sylvia', Idun, 1904(17):29, s. 361-362 (Hämtad 2017-06-30)

  • Heggestad, Eva, Fången och fri: 1880-talets svenska kvinnliga författare om hemmet, yrkeslivet och konstnärskapet = [Captive and free] : [Swedish women writers of the 1880's on the home, working life, and artistry], Avd. för litteratursociologi vid Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen, Univ., Diss. Uppsala : Univ., Uppsala, 1991

  • Jeppsson, Ann-Lis, Tankar till salu: genombrottsidéerna och de kommersiella lånbiblioteken = [Ideas for sale] : [the ideas of the breakthrough and the commercial lending libraries], Univ., Diss. Uppsala : Univ., Uppsala, 1981

Further References