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Mathilde Anneke: A 19th Century Female Social Entrepreneur

Ever heard of the German “Forty-Eighters”?

Does the name Mathilde Franziska Anneke ring a bell?

Probably not since both date back to the middle of the 19th century.

For those who are launching into the world of social entrepreneurship, it can be daunting to think of. For women, it may be intimidating to jump into the field when it seems like it’s a male-dominated industry.

Well, there have been plenty of women entrepreneurs that helped pave the way today. And Mathilde Anneke is one of them.

Who Is Mathilde Anneke?

Anneke was born on April 3, 1817 in the Kingdom of Prussia. Throughout her life, she wore many hats, as many entrepreneurs do. She was an entrepreneur, an educator, a writer, and activist, among many others.

She was a significant advocate for women’s rights in Germany and, eventually, the United States. Famously, she was a part of the “Forty-Eighters”, a group of German immigrants who immigrated to the United States in the middle of the 19th century.

Anneke as a Social Entrepreneur

As originally stated in this Immigrant Entreprenurship article, Anneke achieved many great things as a social entrepreneur:

She founded the first women’s newspapers in the German lands and in the United States and is considered the most famous woman among the German “Forty-Eighters” who immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-nineteenth century. She displayed a lifelong commitment to equal rights for women and joined the emerging Women’s Rights Movement in the United States, becoming their most popular speaker in the Midwest.

During her lifetime, she was well known and held in high esteem by the early leading feminists living in the northeast including Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902). Anneke also advocated for women’s education and established a girls’ school, which gained a reputation for excellence among German-Americans in the Midwest and which she led for eighteen years until her death in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1884.

In her life, Anneke championed social and political change, not just for women, but for all. Thanks to women like Anneke that paved the way, many can pursue social entrepreneurship and make a social impact on the world.

Read the original article on Anneke here.

Photo credit: © Pontus Edenberg | Dreamstime.com

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Guest Contributor

We invite featured guest contributors to write a submission for Engage. Learn about the featured guest contributor at the end of each individual blog post.

Want to be a guest contributor for Engage? We and our readers would love to read your submissions on driving positive social change. Contact us at info@claremontlincoln.edu.

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