Family tree of Karen BLIXEN


DanishBorn Karen Christentze DINESEN

Danish author

Born on April 17, 1885 in Rungsted, Zealand, Denmark

Died on September 07, 1962 in Rungsted, Zealand, Denmark

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Karen Dinesen was the daughter of writer and army officer Wilhelm Dinesen and Ingeborg Westenholz, and the sister of Thomas Dinesen. She was born into a Unitarian bourgeois family in Rungsted, on the island of Zealand, in Denmark, and she was schooled in art in Copenhagen, Paris, and Rome.

She began publishing fiction in various Danish periodicals in 1905 under the pseudonym Osceola, the name of the Seminole Indian leader, possibly inspired by her father's connection with American Indians. From August 1872 to December 1873, Wilhelm Dinesen had lived among the Chippewa Indians, in Wisconsin, where he fathered a daughter, who was born after his return to Denmark. Wilhelm Dinesen hanged himself in 1895 when Karen was nine after being diagnosed with syphilis.


In 1913 Karen Dinesen became engaged to her second-cousin, the Swedish Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke, after a failed love affair with his brother. The couple moved to Kenya, where in early 1914 they used family money to establish a coffee plantation, hiring African workers, predominantly the Kikuyu tribespeople who lived on the farmlands at the time of their arrival. About the couple's early life in Africa, Karen Blixen later wrote, "Here at long last one was in a position not to give a damn for all conventions, here was a new kind of freedom which until then one had only found in dreams!"

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Geographical origins

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