Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Mieography

Bertha Felicitas Sophie Freifrau von Suttner.

Thats a mouthful, isn't it?

She was born in Prague, the daughter of an impoverished Field Marshal, and his wife, who was a governess to a wealthy family. She studied languages and music (she sang opera), was a voracious reader, and traveled.
She was to marry an engineer, (he being the youngest son of the family her mother worked for) but, his family objected, and, rejected, she answered an ad from Alfred Nobel, and became his housekeeper/secretary at his home, in Paris. She lasted one week, and then snuck home to Austria and married her engineer, anyhow. After she left, she maintained a friendship with Mr. Nobel that lasted until he died. Because her young husband's family objected to their marriage, they left, and lived in Caucasus, where they earned their living by giving music and language lessons, and eventually, writing. She wrote four novels, some poetry, and a book called "Inventory of a Soul", influenced by the evolutionist authors she and her husband were reading at the time, including Charles Darwin.

Eventually, her husband's family relented, and they came back to Austria. A friend introduced her to the Peace movement, and she was immediately drawn to it. She wrote a book entitled "Lay Down Your Arms!", and quickly became a leading figure in the peace movement. She founded an Austrian pacifist movement, and an international journal, named after her book. She devoted most of her time and energy to this, and eventually became president of the Austrian Peace Society.
In 1905, she was the first woman who received the Nobel Peace Prize. She continued on with her peace work, her entire life. Her last major effort was in the United States, 1912, when she was almost seventy years old. It was her second lecture tour of the USA. She died of cancer, right before WWI, which she had been warning the world of.


Bubblewench said...

You find some of the most interesting women. Never knew about her, and how amazing and interesting her life!

Daryl said...

Fascinating woman, I had never heard of her, clearly my loss .. thanks!

Heather T said...

Lately I've been inspired by women who reinvented themselves later in life. Those who thought they had it sewn put together neatly, only to take a completely different path than what people assumed they would. This woman sounds perfect! (And I love the long name!)

On that note, can you do Juliette Gordon Low? Because she is awesome. It was only after seeing the house tour of her family home in Savannah that I realized what an inspiration she was.

sybil law said...

Awesome lady!