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KvinnSam. - from private initiative to National resource library for gender studies. The three pioneers . Eva Pinéus, Asta Ekenvall, Rosa Malmström The Women’s History Archives was founded as a private initiative in 1958. The aim was threefold:

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- from private initiative to National resource library for gender studies

The three pioneers
The three pioneers

Eva Pinéus, Asta Ekenvall, Rosa Malmström

The Women’s History Archives was founded as a private initiative in 1958.


The aim was threefold:

To collect manuscripts and archives documenting the Swedish women’s movement

To collect and catalogue literature on women and to index it in such a way as to make gender aspects manifest

To support scholarship on women by publishing research reports and dissertations on women’s history for a wider market

From women s history archives to kvinnsam
From Women’s History Archives to KvinnSam

  • KvinnSam was founded in 1958 under the name The Women’s History Archives. It was a private initiative by the librarians Asta Ekenvall and Rosa Malmström together with Eva Pinéus who was the chairwoman of the Gothenburg section of the Fredrika Bremer Association.

  • In 1971 The Women’s History Archives became part of the Gothenburg University Library and at that point changed name to the Women’s History Collections.

  • In 1997 the Collections became the Swedish National Resource Library for Women’s, Men’s and Gender Studies.

  • In 2010 this institution changed its name to KvinnSam - National Resource Library for Gender Studies.

  • During its 50 years of existence, KvinnSam has developed into one of the most comprehensive libraries for gender research in the Nordic countries. An important part of its activities is cooperation with other institutions and organisations in and outside Sweden, for example the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research.

  • KvinnSam is an integral part of the network NING – Nordic Information Network Gender, along with our opposite numbers in the other Nordic countries. KvinnSam is also a member of the European network WINE – Women’s Information Network Europe.

Kvinnsam s archives
KvinnSam’s archives

KvinnSam has a manuscript collection of about 350 metres of shelf space, divided into personal archives and association’s archives. Manuscripts and other source material with an emphasis on the early 1900s decades, from the suffrage struggle and beyond can be found here. Collection of materials is still going on. Some of the most recently received archives are Sonja Åkesson’s and Birgitta Stenberg’s collections.

A small selection from kvinnsam s list of archives

Barbro Alving’s archive

Eva Andèn’s archive

Emilia Fogelklou’s archive

Flory Gate’s archive

Honorine Hermelin’s archive

Kerstin Hesselgren’s archive

Karin Kock’s archive

Märta Leffler’s archive

Lise Meitner’s archive

Eva Moberg’s archive

Ada Nilsson’s archive

Alice Nordin’s archive

Hagar Olsson’s archive

Jeanna Oterdahl’s archive

Elin Wägner’s archive

Bohus knitting

Fogelstad Women Citizens’ School

Fredrika Bremer Association, Gothenburg

Föreningen för uppmuntran av öm och sedlig modersvård, Gothenburg

Grupp 8, Gothenburg

Gothenburgs Women’s Discussion Club

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Kvinnliga akademikers förening

Skara fruntimmers skyddsförening


Business and Professional Women, Gothenburg

A small selection from KvinnSam’s list of archives

From kvinnsam s archives

From KvinnSam’s archives

Aleksandra Kollontaj 1872-1952,Soviet politician, diplomat and author. On the right one of the many letters that she wrote to her friend Ada Nilsson.

From kvinnsam s archives1

From KvinnSam’s archives

Spread from one of Märtha Leffler’s "party books”

From kvinnsam s archives2

From KvinnSam’s archives

The Second Women’s World Games were held at Slottsskogsvallen 1926. Photographs from Mary von Sydow's archive.

From kvinnsam s archives3

From KvinnSam’s archives

Jeanna Oterdahl, 1879-1965, author and teacher.

From kvinnsam s archives4

Constellation Fogelstad: Elisabeth Tamm, Ada Nilsson,Kerstin Hesselgren, HonorineHermelin and Elin Wägner.

Fogelstad Women Citizens’ School, the schoolhouse

From KvinnSam’s archives

A bibliography of literature on women from stencil to database

A bibliography of literature on women- from stencil to database

A card catalogue was built up with references to literature on different aspects of women and their conditions. Articles, chapters and books were registered according to a subject headings system where women were the norm. The directory was based on the literature available at Gothenburg University Library.New entries were presented regularly in a bibliography, from the beginning a stencil on a few pages, from 1971 as an independent work in print.In the early 1990s the card catalogue was computerized, the database was named KVINNSAM. The printed bibliography continued to be published until 2000.Today KVINNSAM is the most extensive database in the Nordic countries for research on women, men and gender.

Kvinnsam s website
KvinnSam’s website


Database gena
Database GENA

The database GENA is a database of PhD theses in Women's Studies, Men's Studies and Gender Research in Sweden, from 1960 onwards.

Database kvinnsam

This is the most extensive database in the Nordic countries for research on women, men and gender. References to books, articles, essays, chapters in books, reports etc. can be found here. The database covers literature from and including the 1970s and we are continually in the process of adding older materials. At present these materials are listed in a card catalogue in the KvinnSam reading room.

Digital archive of older swedish periodicals for women
Digital archive of older Swedish periodicals for women

The first Swedish women’s periodical, ”The Home Magazine” (Tidskrift för hemmet), and its successors can be found in the digital archive containing older Swedish women’s periodical’s. These periodicals can be accessed and read via KvinnSams website http://www.ub.gu.se/kvinn/

Historical portals
Historical portals


Historical portals love power and sisterhood
Historical portals: Love, Power and Sisterhood

In the 1960s and 1970s, the interest in women’s social conditions grew. The second-wave women’s movement began in the US, from where it spread quickly to other parts of the world. This portal will tell you about women’s organizations in Sweden of those days, and about their impact on debates, and on social and cultural life.

Historical portals swedish women s struggle for suffrage
Historical portals: Swedish Women's Struggle for Suffrage

The struggle for franchise was an overarching concern to the women’s movement in Sweden in the decades before and after 1900. Sweden was the last Scandinavian country to secure franchise for women – it was not until 1919 that the Swedish Parliament decided to let them vote in general elections.

Historical portals women at work
Historical portals: Women at Work Suffrage

Unpaid work has always been open to women. Here, we give you an account of the road that led to paid work, academic posts, etc, through new texts, old documents, photographs and other material.

Historical portals women and peace
Historical portals: Women and Peace Suffrage

Women have organised themselves in their own associations for peace since the end of the nineteenth century, internationally as well as nationally. The history of women’s campaign for peace is illustrated here with the aid of newly-written texts, old documents, photographs and other materials. The main emphasis is on the late nineteenth century and up until the Second World War.

Greda gender researchers database
Greda: Gender Researchers Database Suffrage

In the database Greda you can find Swedish gender researchers, from PhD candidates and above. The database aims at being a help for journalists, organizers of conferences, the interested public, researchers and others, who want to find information about and to get in contact with gender researchers.

Database j mda
Database JÄMDA Suffrage

The database gives advice on literature about gender mainstreaming and also about gender equality in a wider sense of this term. Its purpose is to assist those who work with gender equality, as practicians and consultants in organizations and authorities.

Jämda contains references or links to government commissions, doctoral dissertations, reports, legislation, manuals, etc, some in full text.