Hanna Ongelin was daughter of a clergyman, was a Bohemian, radical, feminist author, notorious for her short hair, cigars, and chaotic lifestyle. Her battle against double moral standards, whether in prostitution or marriages of convenience, caused such irritation that even the women's rights champion and writer Alexandra Gripenberg (see biography) elected to omit her name in her major work of 1893.
Notable from among her works of fiction are her novel Edvard och Edmund, 1871, the poetic drama Helmi, Dramatisk dikt af H (SS), 1874, the lengthy, 1772-page historical novel Ödets dom, 1882-1883, and her novel Den gamle fyrbåkens hemligheter, which came out in the same year. In addition, she wrote Smågubbar och smågummor. Memoirer och skizzer I, 1892, and pamphlets concerning women's issues, such as Tankar i några samhällsfrågor of 1881.