Ellen (1874-1955) and Maria (1877-1948) Moberg are important figures in the history of Swedish kindergartens. Their reputation as kindergarten-pioneers and as founders of the Swedish National Froebel Society grew strong already in their lifetime, and they are still being portrayed as central actors in Swedish historical narratives.
The aim of this paper is to study how these women were constructed as heroes in the history of Swedish early childhood education, and how this construction has changed over time. How have their lives, their work and their personalities been depicted? How have changing circumstances, for example developments in the historical sciences and early years education, affected these narratives?
Using material from the archives of the Swedish National Froebel Society and the narratives of historical research on Swedish early childhood education, this paper demonstrates how, among other things, the advent of women’s history and the changing sources of the history of these two women, altered the way they were construed as heroes. From being self-sacrificing women with a vocation and hearts of gold during the first half of the twentieth century, the Moberg-sisters transformed into being strong and rational entrepreneurs. Despite this, their position as pioneers remained.