Eva Ekeblad (née De la Gardie; 10 July 1724 – 15 May 1786) was a Swedish countess, salon hostess, agronomist, and scientist. She was widely known for discovering a method in 1746 to make alcohol and flour from potatoes.
Allowing greater use of scarce grains for food production, significantly reducing Sweden’s incidence of famine. Ekeblad was the first female member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1748).
Eva Ekeblad Children
Eva De la Gardie was born to statesman count Magnus Julius De la Gardie (1668–1741) and the amateur politician and salonist Hedvig Catharina Lilje: sister of Captain Carl Julius De la Gardie and Hedvig Catharina De la Gardie and the aunt of Axel von Fersen the Younger. Her brother was married to Catherine Charlotte De la Gardie and the brother-in-law of the royal favorite Hedvig Taube.
Eva Magdalena Ekeblad
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Eva Ekeblad Siblings
In 1740, Eva married at the age of 16 the riksråd count Claes Claesson Ekeblad, and became the mother of seven children; one son and six daughters, Claes Julius Ekeblad (1742–1808) and Hedda Piper among them. Their spouses belonged to the elite of the Swedish nobility.
Upon her marriage, her father, Julius De la Gardie, gave Eva the estates Mariedal Castle and Lindholmen Castle, Västergötland. Her husband, additionally, owned the Stola Manor estate as well as a residence in the capital of Stockholm.
Eva Ekeblad Biography
Because of the frequent absence of her husband on business, Eva Ekeblad was given the responsibility of the management of the three estates, including the tasks of supervising the bailiffs and presiding at the country-assemblies of the parishes of the estates. She is described as imposing and temperamental with great authority: fair toward the peasantry, whom she protected against abuse from the bailiffs in return for obedience, and as someone who did not hesitate to rectify and punish wrongdoings during conflicts with local dignitaries. She also had a leading role in the local aristocracy, and Stola manor was renowned for its good order.
In the Ekeblad residence in Stockholm, she hosted a cultural salon and was described by the wife of the Spanish Ambassador de marquis de Puentefuerte as “one of few aristocratic ladies whose honor was considered untainted”. The first concert performances of the mass music of Johan Helmich Roman were performed in her salon at the Ekeblad House. She was on friendly terms with Queen Louisa Ulrika.
After the death of her husband in 1771, she retired to the countryside. Marital and Lindholmen estates served as her dower estates, the former being her personal residence. She initially also kept control of her son’s estate Stola, he is also absent from his estates like his father because of his career.
In 1775, her son Claes Julius Ekeblad (1742–1808) married Brita Horn, and three years afterward Stola manor was granted to her daughter-in-law as a dower. In November 1778, Eva Ekeblad attended the royal court by making use of her rank in her capacity as riksrådinna (wife or widow of a riksråd) and was present as a witness at the birth of the future Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden. She stayed in the capital for two years, during which time she was much celebrated. She was offered to succeed Ulrika Strömfelt as överhovmästarinna (chief lady-in-waiting) to the queen, as well as offered the position of royal governess for the Crown Prince. However, though she was reportedly flattered, she was forced to refuse the offers of a position at court because her hitherto good health was affected by an illness that year which left her much weakened and made her periodically bedridden for her remaining eight years. She spent her last six years in Mariedal Castle, where she continued to be celebrated by the local aristocracy until she died.
Eva Ekeblad Vodka
Ekeblad submitted her findings to the Swedish Academy in 1746 and was rewarded by becoming its first female member when the full significance of her breakthrough was understood.
Eva’s work helped solve Sweden’s recurrent food crises as potatoes were now being used to make alcohol, therein reducing dependence on other staple cereals like oats, rye and barley and freeing them up for use in baking bread to feed the hungry.
The innovation reduced the risk of famine and relieved a terrible strain on the rural poor.
Archaic gender by-laws saw Ekeblad’s membership of the society downgraded to honorary status in 1751, although she would remain its only female inductee for 200 years until nuclear physicist Lise Meitner was admitted in 1951.
The academy has more recently appointed its first female president, however, with organic chemist Christina Moberg ascending to the role in 2015.
Eva Ekeblad’S 293Rd Birthday
Today we celebrate Eva Ekeblad’s 293rd birthday. The Swedish scientist brought potatoes, then a greenhouse curiosity, to the people. Eva discovered the starch was humble but mighty – potatoes could be ground into flour or distilled into spirits. Her discovery helped reduce famine in the years to come.
For her scientific and delicious work, Eva Ekeblad became the first woman elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1748. She was truly a pioneer – the next woman recognized in those ranks would come 203 years later.
Today we honor Eva Ekeblad’s ingenuity and her scientific achievements. Happy birthday, Eva!
Eva Ekeblad Thank For Making Alcoholics
Countess Eva Ekeblad was a Swedish noble and agronomist who discovered how to extract starch from potatoes, paving the way for gluten-free baking and alcohols such as vodka, moonshine, and potato wine.
Ekeblad, who was born in Sweden on July 10, 1724, would be celebrating her 293rd birthday today and Google has created a Doodle in her honor.