On this date in 1817, Mathilde Franziska Giesler Anneke was born in Westphalia. The first of 12 children, Mathilde was raised a devout Catholic. After she fought to annul an early, unhappy marriage, Mathilde married Prussian artillery officer Fritz Anneke in 1847. When he was imprisoned, she published a censored revolutionary journal and became a radical freethinker, meeting Karl Marx and Michael Bakunin. The couple fled after the failed German revolutions of 1848 and 1849, settling briefly in Milwaukee, where Mathilde launched a radical German-language freethinker's journal dedicated to women's emancipation. She continued publishing from New Jersey. Eventually she returned to Milwaukee, where she protested alcohol, clericalism and nativism, also co-founding a Wisconsin suffrage group in 1869 and a highly-regarded German-language girls school. D.1884.
Mathilde Franziska Giesler Anneke
"Reason, which we recognize as our highest and only law-giver, commands us to be free."
—-Mathilde Franziska Giesler Anneke, speech at 1869 national Equal Rights Association in New York (History of Woman Suffrage III: 393-394)
Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor; Photo by State Historical Society of Wisconsin
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