See studies by U. Wittrock (1953), J. Senn (1975), and R. DeAngelis (1978).
Born at Sundsholm mansion, Sweden (Småland), she was an early advocate of a child-centered approach, and a suffragist. Key maintained that motherhood is so crucial to society that the government, rather than their husbands, should support mothers and their children. These ideas regarding state child support influenced social legislation in several countries.
Ellen Key started her career as a writer in the mid-1870s with literary essays. She became known to a large public through the pamphlet On Freedom of Speech and Publishing (1889). Her name and her books then became the topic of lively discussions. The following work focuses on her views on education, personal freedom, and the independent development of the individual. These works include:
On education, her earliest article may be Teachers for Infants at Home and in School in Tidskrift för hemmet (1876). Her first more widely read essay, Books versus Coursebooks, was published in the journal Verdandi (1884). Later, in the same journal, she published other articles A Statement on Co-Education(1888) and Murdering the Soul in Schools (1891). Later she published the works Education (1897) and Beauty for All (1899).
In 1906 came Popular Education with Special Consideration for the Development of Aesthetic Sense. In the last books Key views aesthetics, as beauty and art, from the aspect of the elevation of humanity.
Key was raised in a rigid Christian household, but while growing up, she started questioning her views. From 1879 she studied Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer and T. H. Huxley. In the autumn of that year she met both Huxley and Haeckel, the German biologist and philosopher, in London. The principle of evolution, in which Ellen Key had come to believe, was also to have an influence on her educational views.
She is quoted as having said: