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Mathilde Franziska Anneke - Women's Suffrage Correspondence, 1866-1884 (Box 5, Folder 4)
The Woman's Tribune [Founded in 1883.] Terms, $1.00 per Annum. Trial Subsciption Five Weeks for Ten Cents
Clara Bewick Colby, Editor and Publisher. 1325 10th Street N.W. Washington, D.C., Jan. 27th, 1894. 189
Hon. J. C. Bell, 1213 Q. St. n.w., Washington, D.C.
Dear Sir: Miss Anthony, President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, request me to see about the introduction of [joint resolution] the bill for the 16th amendtment: to strike the word male out of the article relating to suffrage in the Constitution of the United [resolution] States. We have had such a bill introduced a number of years, [Special Woman Suffrage] and [have] once had a favorable report[s] from the Judicial Committee of the [Senate] House upon it. [such a bill struck out] Whether it is likely to pass or not, we desire to introduce the bill as an educational measure, and hope to have a report upon it and some speeches in its favor. Although [Senate] there are gentlemen in the House with whom I am personally acquaint[measure] ed and whose sentiments I know are favorable to such a bill, I prefer to make my first request of you since you represent the State which has now enfranchised women by a popular vote. It will be a grand thing for you to endeavor to secure for women elsewhere the privileges enjoyed by women in your State, and we shall be doubly Gratified to have the rights of women as citizens of the United States championed by one who represents a State where this citizen[I enclose the resolution as introduced in the House Jan. 31 by Hon. John C. Bell] Ship is established beyond question. If you will kindly notify me of your willingness to introduce such a bill, I will send it to you as it has been heretofore presented. Very respectfully
Specially written for the National League of Women Voters, for their Honor Roll at Washington, D.C.
MATHILDE FRANISKA ANNEKE. Poet, Journalist, Orator, Educator, Libertarian.
(by Hertha Anneke Sanne and Henriette M. Heinzen.)
The life of Mathilde Franziska Anneke, leader in the movement for the advancement of women, belongs in the nineteenth century, but the influence of her ideas and inspiring endeavors extends into the present time, in which many of her radical and democratic ideals have been realized by means of legislation. According to an able student of the German element in the United States, Dr. A. B. Faust of Cornell University, Mathilde Franziska Anneke was undoubedly the most heroic figure among the many noble types of German women who have come to this country. A talented poet and dramatist, a founder of radical journals, a devoted wife and mother, she was above all others the champion of human liberty, social political and intellectual, and was surpassed by neither man nor woman of her generation in her ardent and fearless advocacy of freedom and justice. Mathilde Franziska Giesler was born on her grandfather's estate, near Blankenstein, Westphalia, on April 3, 1817. Her father was Karl Giesler, King's Counsellor, a godchild of the great statesman, Baron von Stein. The beauty of her surroundings, both here and at the castle of Bankenstein where she grew up, made an indelible impression on her sensitive imagination and helped to shape her poetic genius. In her nineteenth year she married a Wesphalian nobleman,
Alfred von Tabouillot, and from this time on her life took on a more sombre aspect. The marriage proved very unhappy, and after a year she was granted a divorce. By her eloquent plea she succeeded in keeping the custody of her infant daughter. She became widely known during her divorce proceedings by means of articles in the Konische Zeitung, which aroused the sympathy of the public. It was at this time, 1837, that she became conscious of the degrading social status of women, and began to work for their enfranchisement. she was the first public advocate of women's rights in Germany, with a gift of oratory seldom surpassed. Her book, "Women in Conflict with Social Conditions," won for her a national reputation, and resulted in changes in the laws relating to marriage and divorce. Thus her home in Koln became the meeting-place of many of Germany's greatest men of letters and radical leaders. Among these she met Fritz Anneke, a Prussian officer who had been forced to resign becase of radical activities. He was attracted by her beauty and charm as well as by her ardor for freedom. They married in 1847 and joined the German revolutionist in their struggle for constitutional rights. Anneke became a powerful leader and when he was imprisoned because of his incendiary articles, she continued the publication of his journal, the Neue Kolnische Zeitung, in her own home. The paper was suppressed, but she then started publication of the Frauezeitung (Woman's Journal), the first woman's rights periodical. Upon his acquittal Anneke joined the People's Party as
Commander of Artillery in the Palatinate. At his urgent plea his wife followed him into the field and served as his mounted orderly, together with Carl Schurz, who in his Memoirs describes her as "a young woman of noble character, beauty, vivacity and fiery patriotism ." She did duty now in the thickest of the fray, now carrying comfort or help to the wounded, and at the close of each day she slept as soldiers sleep on the battlefield, at the feet of her faithful horse. One of her countrymen says, "Through all this time she was never a burden, she never needed protection for herself and her perfect womanliness never failed." After futile battles and defeat, the republican armies surrendered and the leaders were sentenced to death. Fritz Anneke and his wife fled to Switzerland, thence through France to America, where they landed toward the end of 1849. They settled in Milwaukee, and Madam Anneke soon became a speaker before large audiences and toured the country giving addresses on literary subjects, on the recent revolutionary activities, and on the emancipation of women. In 1852 she again published her paper, the Frauenzeitung. Madam Anneke was probably the most noted speaker in her native tongue in America. Her eloquence was compared by Grace Greenwood to that of Kossuth, the great Hungarian. In the course of her work she naturally met and became the friend of the foremost American suffrage leaders, and particularly of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Her personal correspondence gives evidence of the respect and affection these
4. women felt for her. At the International Council of Women in Berlin, many years later, Susan B. Anthony testified to the fact that her first stand for woman suffrage was due to the inspiration of Madam Anneke, who in the earlier decade had braved with her the violence of popular prejudice. Madam Anneke addressed suffrage meetings in many eastern cities in those early days. The first suffrage convention she attended was in 1852, at the Broadway Tabernacle in New York, where the delegates were attacked by mobs. In the midst of her speech (which was translated by Ernestine Rose). she was interrupted, and the tumult was quieted only by the heroic appeal of Wendell Phillips. When she could finally be heard, she said in part: "Before I came here, I knew the tyranny and oppression of kings. . . Here at least, we ought to be able to express our opinions on all subjects; and yet it would appear there is no freedom even here to claim human rights, although the only hope in (Germany). . . for freedom of speech and action is directed to this country for illustration and example. that freedom I claim. . ." At this convention she was made vicepresident. Twenty-five years later she spoke inthe same place and contrasted her reception on the two occasions. In 1860 she went to Switzerland as a newspaper correspondent with her children and her friend, the American poet, Mary Booth, and remained five years. After the Civil War, in which her husband had taken an active part, she returned and opened a school for young girls in Milwaukee. To this school she devoted the remainder of her life. Her remarkable influence
5. as a teacher was due to her unusual personality and sympathetic understanding, as much as to her scholarship and talents, and is finely expressed by one of her former students, as follows: "Those who have not known this great-souled woman in her activities as an educator. . . have not seen her most beautiful traits. All who had the joy of calling her Teacher have such reverence for her that they consider her the greatest factor in their lives. It was not only what she taught but how she taught. The driest subject became a live interest. she could kindle enthusiasm with irresistible power; yet the knowledge we gained was the least of what we took away from her. Our whole beings were permeated with all that was noble and pure. she gave us the indelible stamp of the beautiful spirit. To follow her we had to aim at the stars. Never can we thank her enough for the way of feelng and thinking that she impressed upon us.
"Today, pupils of Madam Anneke are unmistakable. Whether surrounded by luxuries, or confronted by the misfortunes and poverty of an adverse world, the undaunted spirit that she instilled is paramount. We try to bestow the teachings of our beloved priestess upon our children. Her only living daughter carries her exalted, beautiful message into wider circles. . . and so the spirit of this great women still flames in our generation to enrich and dignity life."
Never a woman of means, she continued to devote time and strength as far as possible to the cause of women, regardless of derision and material sacrifice. Her last years were filled with illness and suffering, but her spirit continued unsubdued. she carried on her school almost to the end, and at her death (November 25, 1884) she left for her co-workers in the woman's movement words of encouragement and cheer. Firm in her principles, she never throughout life considered self, but served unceasingly the cause of freedom which was so near to her heart.
------------------Biographical Sources: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage, The History of Woman Suffrage, 4 volumes; Wilhelm Hense-Jensen and Ernst Bruncken, Wisconsins Deutsch-Americkaner, Milwaukee, 1900-1902; Regina Ruben, Mathilde Franziska Anneke, Hamburg (R. Rugen); A.B. Faust, Memoirs of Mathilde Franziska Giesler-Anneke, German-American Annals, University of Pennsylvania, May-August, 1918; Newspaper articles and other information in the possession of Mrs. Hertha Anneke Sanne, Alhambra, California.
(in pencil written by Hertha A. Sonne & Henrietta M. Heimzen [sp})
The enthusiasts and visionaries, who waited for the day--"when the fight begins again" were soon lost. But the Revolutionists who were in earnest who had sacrificed the power of their beings and educations for the new fatherland soon had an influence on their environment which stands alone in the history of our country.
5 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity I am become as sounding [underlined] brass [underlined] or a tinkling cymbal". [underlined] Corinthians--espistle of Paul Chap 13. v-1
___________________________________ x according to the word of the apostle man becomes "as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." x x2 which she had to drain from life's goblet to the last bitter dregs. x
This woman who had great knowledge achieved [?] general literary and poetical with a high degree of perfection. Nevertheless by the multitude she was called slightingly an "emancipated woman" because on the battlefields she had sacrificed her adornment of heavy black hair, also a "woman's rights woman" because she fought for the uplifting of her sex. She was in her inner life a loving selfsacrificing woman giving all she possessed for the man of her choice--her faith, tenderness to her children, compassion to the oppressed and hatred to the oppressors, alway to the poor and suffering her generous sympathy and help.