Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875) was a Danish author and poet best known for his fairy tales. Among his most well known stories are "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "The Emperor's New Clothes," and "The Ugly Duckling." During Andersen's lifetime, he was feted by Royalty and acclaimed for bringing joy to children throughout Europe. His fairy tales have been translated into more than a hundred languages and continue to be published in millions of copies all over the world.
Elsa Beskow (1874–1953) was born in Stockholm. Her parents were entrepreneur Bernt Maartman (1841–1889), whose family came from Bergen, Norway, and Augusta Fahlstedt (1850–1915). Beskow studied Art Education at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, then called Tekniska skolan, or the Technical school, in Stockholm. In 1897, she married former minister and social worker and doctor of theology Natanael Beskow, whom she met while serving as a teacher at Djursholms samskola, where he served as headmaster. They had six sons. Beskow became one of the best known of all Swedish children's book artists. She also illustrated "ABC" books and songbooks for Swedish schools. Her book pages are often framed in a decorative Art Nouveau style. Beskow received international recognition for her simple, cheerful stories and outstanding illustrations.