Anne Cathrine Juel 1738-1809

Madam Juel did not really leave much of a mark after her in Trondheim, the town where she died. But, before coming to that point, she gained a small niche in Norwegian history, albeit in a small role.
Anna was the daughter of a vicar from Jutland, and was already the widow of a vicar before she came to Copenhagen in the 1760s. Here she married a wine merchant and started a career as a café hostess. Her establishment in Sværtegade became the local haunt of a circle of Norwegian students who in 1772 founded "Det norske Selskab" [The Norwegian Society]. A private room on the second floor was rented out as club premises. Here Norwegian patriotism flourished unfettered, in combination with good food and drink. Madam Juel, also called "Lillemor" (affectionately mother), was the club hostess and had a good way of dealing with the Norwegian exiles. They also greatly appreciated her taking care of them, while she also exerted the necessary authority to keep them more or less on a tight leash. Quite a few verses have been written in tribute to her. Among the most well-known members of the club were Johan Herman Wessel [poet and playwright] and Johan Nordahl Brun.
The 1770s were the club’s golden age. In 1792 a farewell party was thrown for the middle-aged Madam Juel. She accompanied one of the club members, Tobias Bernhoft, when he became the vicar in Måsøy in Finnmark, as his housekeeper. Later she had the same position in Lenvik in Troms, where Gunner Berg (another old acquaintance from the Norwegian Society in Copenhagen) was a vicar.
How Anna Cathrine Juel ended up in Trondheim is not known for certain. It is allegedly claimed that Justice Andreas Rogert (earlier a student in Copenhagen and later a representative of the National Assembly in Eidsvoll) arranged a place for her in Thomas Angell's house [a housing complex for the elderly]. Here she lived for almost two years before she died in November 1809. Many of the approximately 250 members of the Norwegian Society in Copenhagen had since acquired key positions in Norway. A large sum of money was paid for her burial and a burial site by Nidaros Cathedral, which may suggest that there were many who felt they owed their highly appreciated ex-hostess a debt of gratitude.
In 2005 a memorial plaque was unveiled by Thomas Angell's House honouring the former resident Anna Cathrine Juel.
Recommended reading: A. H. Winsnes: Det Norske Selskab [The Norwegian Society] 1772-1812. Aschehoug 1924.

Author: Einar Rædergård