On 18 August 1854, when the Crimean War was raging, on the front page of The Times of London appeared an appeal to all women to unite for peace by creating central committees in every country. If women united to take up this task, then war could be prevented in the future and the children of the world could be cared for. The author of the appeal was Fredrika Bremer, a widely known Swedish novelist and philanthropist. The Times wrote a respectful but critical editorial: there would be chaos if women did not stay at home and care for their children.
Fredrika Bremer was born in Finland, but her family moved to Sweden when she was only three years old. Her parents brought up their many children to study and memorize in order to become brilliant conversationalists. Tutors in English, German, and French were hired. The girls were expected to learn all social graces and were subjected to the regimented upbringing of their well-intentioned but authoritarian father, who took the family on a year-long European tour in horse-drawn, covered carriages. The effect of this education on the sensitive Fredrika was confusion. She loathed her patriarchally dominated home. Whereas her brothers left home to prepare themselves for their future professions, the frustrated girl was forced to carry on feminine pursuits at home and wait for marriage. Close to a serious breakdown, Fredrika was rescued by being allowed to spend two winters at the family's country home without parental supervision. There she discovered that she could be useful, visiting and helping the sick and the poor.
Bremer began writing short stories and in 1828 published, anonymously, her first collection. Famillen H*** (1831), her first novel, was enthusiastically greeted by the public, who demanded to know who the authoress of this story