Partner Honorine Hermelin

Queer Places:
Triewaldsgränd 2, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
Lilla Ulfåsa, Fogelstad, 643 96 Julita, Sweden
Gällstads och Södra Säms kyrka, Skolgatan 21, 523 60 Gällstad, Sweden

Ada Nilsson 1935.jpgAda Konstantia Nilsson (September 21, 1872 – May 23, 1964) was an early Swedish woman doctor. She was one of the founders of the campaigning newspaper Tidevarvet in 1923. In 1911, Elin Wägner began writing her novel, Helga Wisbeck, about a female doctor who renounces marriage and children in order to completely get up in her profession. Helga Wisbeck was given the draw by two of Wägner's friends, gynecologist Ada Nilsson and urologist Alma Sundquist.

1920s feminists Left to right: Elisabeth Tamm, Ada Nilsson, Kerstin Hesselgren (sitting), Honorine Hermelin and Elin Wägner

Nilsson was born in Södra Säms in 1872. She was brought up in a farmhouse, the youngest of three daughters of farmer Hans Petter Nilsson and Albertina Juliana Hulander . Her father who helped to run the cottage textile workers died when she was thirteen and she went to live in Stockholm.[1] In 1891 she was one of the first women to take medical training, initially in Uppsala and mainly in Stockholm. She met Lydia Wahlström and Alma Sundqvist who were pioneers, too.[1] After graduating from medical school, she became an amanuensis in the gynecological department of the Serafimer hospital. After that, she worked for several years at Ersta Hospital. Eventually she opened her own internship at Södermalm in Stockholm. With her knowledge of gynecology, she was particularly devoted to the prostitutes in Södermalm. This led to an interest in social issues and the necessity of sexual enlightenment. From the 1910s she was a frequent speaker on the subject. Later she moved her practice to Triewaldsgränd in the Old Town in Stockholm.

She was a member of the Liberal Women's National Association.[2] The newspaper Tidevarvet was founded in 1923[3][4] by Kerstin Hesselgren, Honorine Hermelin, who was an educator, Ada Nilsson, Elisabeth Tamm, a liberal politician, and Elin Wägner, who was an author.[5][6] The founders who had a liberal political stance[6] were known as the Fogelstad group. Nilsson was one of the principal funders of the project and became editor-in-chief with her new friend Elin Wägner as its first editor. The newspaper was to publish until 1936 and for three years (1925-28) the newspaper ran a free consultancy but it was difficult to fund.[1]

Nilsson had a very close relationship with Honorine Hermelin. Ada Nilsson lived at Triewaldsgränd 2 above Apoteket Engelen. At home she held a literary salon with Albert Engström, Karin Boye and Hasse Z as guests. Among her patients she could count Selma Lagerlöf, Albert Engström and the Soviet ambassador Alexandra Kollontay. During the last year of her life Nilsson went to stay at at Lilla Ulfåsa, Fogelstad with Hermelin.[7] Nilsson died in Julita. She was near blind and poor. She was buried in a cemetery near her birthplace.[1] Her life is one of those celebrated in Stockholm's Östermalmstorg metro station by Siri Derkert.[1]

Ada Nilsson has a street in Fruängen in southern Stockholm named after her.

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