Elisabeth Welhaven was the daughter of a clergyman and sister of the poet Johan Sebastian Welhaven; she was born and grew up in Bergen, where she lived with her family as an unwedded woman for the whole of her life. Among the people in the circle she entertained with her tales was the editor Hartvig Lassen, who encouraged her to write stories for the paper Skillings-Magazin, 1868-1869. The following year, they were compiled into books: Fra Staden og Stranden. Smaaskildringer and in 1871 Fra gamle Dage. Skisser. The tales in the books are short-story-like and describe daily life in old Bergen. They were published several times in new, longer editions.