Birgitta Ericsson

ICHT member (Sweden), ICHT 1981-1995

ICHT Honorary Member, 1996-2011

Stokholm, 1919- 2011

 

Our friend and distinguished colleague Birgitta Ericsson passed away in December last year (2011), at an age of 92 years. She was born in 1919 and grew up on the countryside in Northern Sweden close to the sawmill district of the Sundsvall region. Before her academic career started she worked for many years as a lecturer in a “gymnasium” in Stockholm. In the year 1970 she defended her dissertation on the mining town of Falun in the 18th century (“Bergsstaden Falun 1720-1769”). Ingrid Hammarström, Professor of urban history from 1970, knew Birgitta´s qualifications very well and engaged her soon as a collaborator.
Birgitta did her main contribution to the Humanities and the Social Sciences as the leader of the joint Nordic research project “Centralmakt och lokalsamhälle – Beslutsprocess på 1700-talet”. This project was about the relationship between the State and the local communities in the 18th century. The main idea behind the project was to compare from a local perspective the more democratic political system that prevailed in Sweden and Finland at those days with Denmark and Norway which were under the rule of an absolute monarchy. During Birgitta´s engaged and friendly leadership the project was unusual productive. In the 1980s the project published a great number of publications, for example “Stadsadministration I Norden på 1700-talet” (1982), “Opdaginga av fattigdomen” (1983), and “Industri og bjergvaerksdrift” (1985). Parallel, Birgitta supervised successfully many doctoral students both in Sweden, Finland and Norway to their degrees. Research results from the project were presented at many national and international conferences, and in articles of leading journals.
Birgitta became a member of The International Commission for the History of Towns in the 1980s. She was a frequent visitor of the Commission´s annual meetings and presented reports on various topics. The Atlas programme interested her very much, and she was responsible for the editing of an atlas of the town of Falun. It was published in 1992 in the series Scandinavian Atlas of Historic Towns. She was also a member of the group that produced the atlas of the town of Strömstad which was published in 1997.
We remember Birgitta as a very warm-hearted friend and an excellent scholar. Her main re-search interest was the 18th century, and her books and articles in that area will be of substan-tial value even in the future. The students on all levels loved her for her insightful comments and positive criticism. She always advised a way forward in an encouraging manner.

Lars Nilsson, Stockholm

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