Anna Johannesdotter left behind her life as a servant girl in the country in the mid-1890s and became a house maid in Stockholm. She became a prostitute in connection with the Stockholm Exhibition in 1897 and was registered with the police shortly after. On a travel to Sweden to report on women's prisons, the journalist Hedvig af Petersens made her acquaintance. She was dying of tuberculosis at the time, but had written an account of her life in an autobiography, which she left to her new friend and helper. It was published in 1907 under the title Den undre världen, published by Hedvig af Petersen’s close friend, the critic Klara Johanson.