“The Works of Mathilde F. Anneke” at the German American Heritage Center -- May 13

Sunday, May 13, 2 p.m.

German American Heritage Center, 712 West Second Street, Davenport IA

A revolutionary abolitionist and women's-rights advocate who dedicated her life to the dissemination of knowledge through her writing, newspapers, and school, Mathilde F. Anneke will be the subject of a May 13 presentation at the German American Heritage Center, with author and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee assistant professor Dr. Viktorija Bilić presenting on her work translating the personal correspondence of this German-American suffragist.

A native of Hiddinghausen, Westphalia, Mathilde married former Prussian artillery officer Fritz Anneke after a previous marriage ended in divorce, and the couple began publishing a daily newspaper for the working class in Cologne. When Fritz was jailed for his political activities, Mathilde continued to write, manage, and publish the paper until it was banned by the authorities in 1847. One year later, Mathilde started a new paper called Frauen-Zeitung – the very first German feminist newspaper. Upon his release from prison, Mathilde travelled with Fritz during the Prussian invasion of the Palatine, and in 1849, she rode alongside her husband as an unarmed orderly and served as a messenger. After the Prussian victory, the couple consequently fled Germany and emigrated to the United States.

They settled in Milwaukee, where Anneke established herself as a feminist author and publisher, becoming a friend and colleague of both Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In 1852, Mathilde started the first feminist journal in the United States published by a woman – the Deutsche Frauen-Zeitung – but halted publication after six issues due to opposition from male printers.

The Annekes were also vocal opponents of slavery during the Civil War, with Fritz serving in the Union Army as colonel and commanding officer of the 34th Wisconsin Volunteer Infrantry Regiment. Two of Mathilde's key works, meanwhile, have been recently re-published in the United States: “Women in Conflict with Society,” a text on the fate of feminist author Louise Aston, and “Broken Chains,” a series of articles against slavery.

The Works of Mathilde F. Anneke will be presented at 2 p.m. on May 13, and is free with $3-5 general admission to the German American Heritage Center. For more information, call (563)322-8844 or visit GAHC.org.

Premium Content: