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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Luise Otto-Peter

b. 1819, Meissen, Germany; d. 1895, Leipzig, Germany

The correct spelling of this name is LUISE OTTO-PETERS.

The revolutionary ideas sweeping across Europe in 1848 inspired many women to enter the political arena to advance their own cause. That year poet Luise Otto-Peters founded a newspaper, Frauen-Zeitung (Women’s News), and the German women’s rights movement was reborn. Emblazoned on its masthead was the paper’s motto: “I am recruiting female citizens for the realm of freedom!” The paper inspired the formation of women’s circles all across Germany. Otto-Peters retired from political engagement in 1852, when Women’s News was suppressed, but rejoined the crusade in 1866, co-founding with Auguste Schmidt and others the Allgemeiner Deutscher Frauenverein (General Union of German Women) in Leipzig. The goals of the Union were articulated in Otto-Peters’ pamphlet of the same year, Das Recht der Frauen auf Erwerb (Women’s Right to Work). Within a decade, the Union had 11,000 members. Otto-Peters served as president, with Schmidt, for the rest of her life, and together they edited the house organ, Neue Bahnen (New Paths).