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Ellen Key (1849–1926) was an influential Swedish philosopher, writer, educator, and pedagogue, whose ideas about motherhood, marriage, child-rearing, and children’s education, esthetics, and design were both lauded and controversial in her time. A feminist and advocate of female suffrage, she also embraced pacifism and socialist ideals. Key was famous not only in Scandinavia but across Europe and the United States. She authored more than 40 books and hundreds of essays and journal articles, and her major works were translated into most European languages. She was also a charismatic public speaker who gave lectures across the Nordic countries and throughout continental Europe. This entry examines her early years; key publications; ideas on gender, marriage, and eugenics; and commitment to promoting child well-being.

Early Years

The oldest child ...

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