Fritz Anneke and Mathilde Franziska Anneke Papers, 1791-1884

Summary Information
Title: Fritz Anneke and Mathilde Franziska Anneke Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1791-1884

  • Anneke, Fritz, 1818-1972
  • Anneke, Mathilde Franziska Giesler, 1817-1884
Call Number: Wis Mss LW; Micro 951

Quantity: 3.2 c.f. (8 boxes) and 7 reels of microfilm (35mm)

Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Correspondence, and manuscripts of articles, plays, poems, and addresses of Fritz Anneke, an exiled leader of the German Revolution of 1848, and of his wife Mathilde, an author and woman's rights advocate, who lived primarily in Milwaukee after 1849. The correspondence, practically all of which is in German script, contains much information on the opinions and activities of German-American intellectuals of the nineteenth century. Anneke was connected with reform newspapers in several American cities, went abroad in 1859 to serve as foreign correspondent during the Italian war, held a colonel's commission in the 34th Wisconsin Infantry during the American Civil War, and died in Chicago in 1872 while agent for the German-American Society. Madame Anneke was the author of poems, dramas, and many short articles; editor of a revolutionary newspaper in Germany and of a women's rights newspaper in America in the fifties; a lecturer; the head of a school for girls in Milwaukee for eighteen years; and a pioneer in the equal suffrage movement in Wisconsin. Much of the collection consists of correspondence between the Annekes, in which they discuss affairs of the family and their compatriots in America; their literary pursuits; the progress of the revolutionary movement; and world events. There is information on the antislavery agitator Sherman Booth; on Peter Engelmann, who conducted a rival English-German academy in Milwaukee; and on other persons prominent in early Milwaukee.

Language: German, English

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Fritz Anneke was born January 31, 1818 in Dortmund, Westphalia. His mother died in his youth, but he was very fond of his step-mother, Emilie Anneke, as his father (also named Fritz) was rather a hard man. Throughout the political and financial crises of Fritz's early manhood his father did nothing to assist him, although he followed his son's later career with interest. After obtaining a university education Fritz became a lieutenant in the German army, in accordance with his position as a member of a respected bourgeois family. But he was removed from his command in 1845 because of his socialistic beliefs. Two years later he married the gifted Mathilde Franziska Giesler, a free thinker in politics and religion, a champion of women's rights, and a writer of some renown. The daughter of Karl Giesler and Elizabeth (Huelswitt) Giesler, she had been born on April 3, 1817 in Levringhausen, Westphalia, on her paternal grandfather's estate. Her father, a king's councillor and wealthy mine owner, provided well for Mathilde, his eldest daughter. But she was troubled by the hunger of the poor about her; her parents had been very conscientious and had themselves bought grain for the needy. This, combined with an early marriage at the age of nineteen which ended in failure, led her to activism for social reform and women's rights. Marrying Fritz Anneke on June 3, 1847, she carried on the publication of a newspaper during her husband's imprisonment during the revolution of the following year, stayed at his side during the ensuing battles, and escaped with him to France after the defeat of the revolutionists, and thence to New York and Milwaukee.

During the next three years Fritz Anneke lectured, gave riding lessons, worked on a railroad in Illinois, and served for a couple of months as state librarian of Wisconsin. His wife, besides assisting him in his work and caring for their children, likewise lectured, wrote for newspapers, and in March, 1852 began the publication of the Frauen Zeitung, which she continued after the Annekes' removal to Newark, New Jersey later in the year. In 1858 they re-turned to Milwaukee, where Mathilde Franziska formed a close friendship with Mary Booth, the wife of the anti-slavery agitator, Sherman Booth. She made her home with the Booths for the next two years, while her husband was abroad serving as foreign war correspondent for several newspapers in America.

In 1860 Mathilde Franziska, accompanied by Mrs. Booth and the Booth and Anneke children, joined her husband in Switzerland, but he soon left for America to take part in the Civil War. His military career was as unsettled as his civilian one had been: he was appointed colonel of the 1st Wisconsin Artillery; was transferred by request to an Indiana regiment, serving as aide-de-camp to Gen. John A. McClernand; was appointed by Governor Edward Salomon of Wisconsin as colonel of the 34th Wisconsin Infantry in 1863, only to be dismissed before the end of the year on ill-founded charges of desertion based on internal dissentions and rivalries within the regiment. During the greater part of the remaining nine years of his life he was an editorial writer and translator for the Anzeiger and other newspapers in the region of St. Louis, and was killed by an accidental fall from an elevated sidewalk in Chicago on December 6, 1872, while serving there as agent for the German-American Society.

Madame Anneke, in the meantime, after nearly five years of precarious existence in Switzerland, returned to Milwaukee and opened a girls' day and boarding school there. This is the period in which she most closely identified herself with German-American affairs in Milwaukee. Her educational methods, her eloquent speaking, her reviews of current German theatrical and musical performance, her association with intellectual and revolutionary leaders on two continents, and her vigorous personality all contributed to making her a figure of considerable importance. She enlarged upon her suffragist activities, writing and lecturing on the subject, consulting and corresponding with other outstanding proponents such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and her countryman, Karl Heinzen, and assisting in campaigns in the state and nation.

Her arduous duties, she maintained, prevented her from continuing her literary activities to any extent, although she occasionally produced poems for festive occasions. In 1882, two years before her death on November 25, 1884, she had the satisfaction of seeing her play, Oithono, written in 1844, presented at the Milwaukee Civic Theater. Mrs. Anneke was later honored by the National League of Women Voters as one of the four Wisconsin pioneers in the suffrage movement.

Scope and Content Note

The Anneke papers are most numerous for the years 1859 to 1872, and practically all of them are in German script.

The Anneke correspondence is primarily of importance for the biographical information it contains on this gifted and articulate pair who undoubtedly exerted an immeasurable influence through their writings, lectures, teaching, and personal example on immigrant thought and action. The papers are like-wise valuable for the observations and comments made by these keen observers of world events through a quarter of a century. They reflect Fritz Anneke's interest, either as a participant, a journalist, or a patriot, in the German Revolution, the Garibaldi campaigns,. the American Civil War, and the wars of German unification. Among many other topics touched upon more or less closely are the attitudes and beliefs of other German-American leaders such as Carl Schurz, Gottfried Kinkel, and Karl Heinzen; the life of the radical group who gathered about Ferdinand Lassalle in Zurich during his last years; the high era of “kultur” in Milwaukee, St. Louis, and other cities with large Teutonic populations; some phases in the career of other leaders in Milwaukee -- the editor Sherman Booth, the newspaper correspondent John Knell, and Peter Engelmann, who conducted a rival English-German Academy there; early phases of the suffrage movement in the United States; German American journalism, education, and literature; immigration life and problems; and the inculcation and dissemination of socialistic political theory in the United States.

The greater part of the correspondence is that between Fritz and Mathilde Franziska Anneke. The fact that they were separated from each other frequently and often for long periods, and that they kept up a correspondence throughout most of these separations, that they were both able writers, and interested in each other's opinions on social and reform movements and literary pursuits, all contribute to making this set of correspondence a particularly rich one.

Filed among the ANNEKE FAMILY DOCUMENTS (GERMANY) series are some very early papers of Mathilde Franziska's family, the Gieslers, including one written by Baron von Stein in 1791; a letter from her first husband, Alfred von Tabouillot; letters between Fritz and Mathilde before and during the revolution; an issue of the Neue Kolnische Zeitung, September 10, 1848, edited by F. Anneke and F. Beust; an issue of the Frauen-Zeitung, September 27, 1848, edited by Mathilde Franziska while her husband was in prison, and some other documents and newspapers connected with the revolution.

The FRITZ AND MATHILDE ANNEKE CORRESPONDENCE series contains a number of letters to each other during the period of immigration and resettlement, and in particular reflect the vicissitudes of the period from 1850 to 186O. Also included are a few letters from other members of both families, including some from Mathilde's daughter Fanny by her first marriage. Additional letters extending over a long period of time were written by some of the early friends of the Annekes whose friendship persisted through all their changes in residence and fortune: Mathilde Franziska's cousin, Franziska Rollman and her husband, Friedrich Hammacher; and the poets Gottfried Kinkel and Ferdinand Freigrath, and members of their families. There are also a half-dozen letters 1844-1880, written by Karl Heinzen, mainly on the subject of radical democracy.

The FRITZ ANNEKE PAPERS consist of letters written by him to his wife during the years between his departure for Switzerland in 1859 and his death in 1872, and a box of Civil War correspondence and records doubtlessly kept to show a justification for his actions. The Civil War papers include a number of letters by Fritz Anneke to General McClernand and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton giving the history of his case; letters from members of his regiment assuring him of their confidence and support; letters on the same subject, from German-American leaders in Wisconsin among whom were Adolf J. Cramer, John Knell, Henry Orff, and Governor Salomon; a group of papers dealing with his court-martial; and a collection of orders and other official papers connected with his army career. Also included in the series are a few letters, 1860-1870, from newspaper publishers; some short articles written by Anneke; and a collection of tributes paid to him after his death, in the form of letters to Mrs. Anneke and newspaper clippings.

The unsettled life of the Annekes was a deterrent to the preservation of manuscripts. The husband, however, who was the greater wanderer of the two, was the more careful and methodical in this matter, and as a consequence there is a much larger collection of Mathilde Franziska's letters than of his replies. Her letters, from 1859 to 1872, number about four hundred, and are included in the MATHILDE FRANZISKA ANNEKE PAPERS series. Also filed under this heading is a large collection of letters, 1867-1883, from Cecilie Kapp. Miss Kapp, the daughter of a Zurich professor, accompanied Mathilde Franziska to America in 1865. She was actually the organizer of the school which was carried on for eighteen years by Madame Anneke, but left at the end of the first year (1866) and thereafter was for many years professor of German at Vassar College. There are about two dozen letters from Mary Booth, 1863-1865, during her occasional separation from Mathilde Franziska in Europe and after the former's return to New York. Other small groups of letters in the series are from the Countess Sophie von Hatzfeldt after the death of Ferdinand Lassalle, describing her loneliness and despair; another group from the Hammachers, mostly for the year 1866; and a few from Emma Herwegh, the wife of the poet Georg Herwegh.

Most of the papers on the part Madame Anneke took in the equal suffrage movement in the United States are from the years 1869-1882. Among the correspondents are Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mathilda Joslyn Gage, and Elizabeth Smith Miller. There are a few drafts of replies by Madame Anneke and of addresses she delivered, and a mass of drafts of articles, lists, and addresses, mostly in German.

Other manuscripts of Madame Anneke consist of a small group of letters from publishers, mainly for the early 1860's, when she was in Switzerland; a folder of miscellaneous letters; the manuscripts of a number of her lectures, addresses, articles, and poems; a two-volume manuscript translation of Oithono and a volume of manuscript poems. There is also some correspondence connected with her school in Milwaukee, and a quantity of unfinished articles and addresses. Nine small combination diaries and memorandum books kept by Madame Anneke over a period of years, but not consecutively, contain her notations on correspondence, expenditures, accounts with newspapers for which she wrote articles, addresses of her friends, bits of verse, and other miscellaneous information.

The BIOGRAPHY AND APPENDIX are two volumes prepared by Miss Henriette M. Heinzen, herself a descendant of German '48ers, working under the direction of Mrs. Hertha Anneke Sanne, the only surviving child of the Annekes. Miss Heinzen also examined, studied, identified and carefully arranged the papers themselves. The volumes contain lengthy extracts from the papers of the collection in translation, with some study of the Annekes' characters and an evaluation of their work and their contribution to American life.

Separated Material

Transferred to the Library for preservation or disposition were printed materials. These included clippings, pamphlets, and circulars on the subject of woman suffrage and a collection of rare European publications produced or gathered by the Annekes. Among these are ten written by or about Mathilde Franziska: three small volumes on religious thought, 1840-1842; her drama, Oithono, 1844; a translation of Alexandre Dumas' Michelangelo, 1845; a compilation, Producte der Rothen Erde, in which she included some of her own writings; an 88-page pamphlet, Der Politische Tendenz-Prozess gegen Gottchalk, Anneke und Esser, 1848; Schwertlilien: Zeit-Gedichte, 1849, in which the first three poems are dedicated to her; her own Memoiren einer Frau aus dem Badisch-Pfaelzischen Feldzuge, published in Newark, New Jersey in 1853; and a biography of her by Regina Reuben, published in Hamburg in 1906. Fritz Anneke's Der Zweite Freiheitskampf der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika, published at Frankfort on Main in 1861 is the only product of his in the collection.

The earliest volume in the group is Ignatz Hulswitt's Tagebuch einer Reise nach den Vereinigten Staaten und der Nordwestkuste von Amerika, published at Munster in 1828. There is a volume of Georg Herwegh's poems, published in 1845, and a recent publication of some of his correspondence; and a volume of poems written and collected by Mary Booth and published in Heidelberg and Milwaukee in 1864. A memoir of Garibaldi, written by Alexandre Dumas in 186O, is still in sections as they were issued from the press. Among the twenty or so pamphlets on socialism and the revolutionary theory in the collection are almost a dozen by Ferdinand Lassalle, nearly all of which were published in Zurich in 1863.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by Mrs. Hertha Anneke Sanne, Pasadena, California 1941 and March 1942. Wagner volume added in 1983; source unknown.

Processing Information

Reprocessed and register revised by Ralph Pugh and Joanne Hohler, May 1977. Microfilm edition prepared by Vivian Laflamme, August 1983.

Contents List
Series: Anneke Family Documents (Germany)
Box/Folder   1/1
Reel/Frame   1/0-26
Correspondence, 1791-1848
Box/Folder   1/2
Reel/Frame   1/27-108
Letters, Fritz and M. F. Anneke, 1828-1849
Box/Folder   1/3
Reel/Frame   1/109-142
Documents of the German Revolution, 1848
Series: Fritz and Mathilde Anneke Correspondence
Box/Folder   1/4
Reel/Frame   1/143-305
Fritz and Mathilde Anneke and family letters, 185O-1872
Box/Folder   1/5
Reel/Frame   1/306-400
Letters from Kinkel, Freiligrathm, Kapp, Heinzen, etc., 1839-1884
Series: Fritz Anneke Papers
Box/Folder   1/6-8
Reel/Frame   1/401-858
Letters to M. F. and Percy Anneke, 1859-1869
Civil War
Correspondence, 1861-1864
Box/Folder   2/1-6
Paper copy
Reel/Frame   1/859-1057
Microfilm copy, part 1
Reel/Frame   2/0-199
Microfilm copy, part 2
Box/Folder   2/7
Reel/Frame   2/200-260
Box/Folder   2/8-9
Reel/Frame   2/261-481
Court-martial, 1863
Box/Folder   2/10
Reel/Frame   2/482-517
Clippings, 1862-1864
Box/Folder   3/1
Reel/Frame   2/518-679
Letters to M. F. Anneke, 1870-1872
Box/Folder   3/2-3
Reel/Frame   2/680-833
Short articles and miscellaneous papers
Box/Folder   3/4
Reel/Frame   2/834-884
Tributes to Fritz Anneke, 1872-1873
Series: Mathilde Franziska Anneke Papers
Letters to F. Anneke
Box/Folder   3/5-8
Paper copy
Reel/Frame   2/885-1213
Microfilm copy, part 1
Reel/Frame   3/0-361
Microfilm copy, part 2
Box/Folder   4/1-3
Reel/Frame   3/362-785
Letters from Cecilie Kapp, 1867-1883
Box/Folder   4/4-7
Paper copy
Reel/Frame   3/786-1082
Microfilm copy, part 1
Reel/Frame   4/0-250
Microfilm copy, part 2
Box/Folder   5/1
Reel/Frame   4/251-394
Letters from Mary Booth, 1863-1865
Box/Folder   5/2
Reel/Frame   4/395-480
Letters from Contess Sophie V. Hasveldt and others, 1863-1874
Box/Folder   5/3
Reel/Frame   4/481-587
Letters from Emma Herwegh and others, 1863-1882
Woman suffrage correspondence
Box/Folder   5/4
Reel/Frame   4/687-871
Miscellaneous, undated
Box/Folder   5/5-7
Paper copy
Reel/Frame   4/588-686
Microfilm copy, part 1
Reel/Frame   4/872-964
Microfilm copy, part 2
Correspondence and contracts with publishers, 1846(?)-1872
Box/Folder   6/1
Paper copy
Reel/Frame   4/965-1027
Microfilm copy, part 1
Reel/Frame   5/0-48
Microfilm copy, part 2
Box/Folder   6/2
Reel/Frame   5/49-176
Miscellaneous correspondence, 1863-1883
Box/Folder   6/3
Reel/Frame   5/177-215
On Germany, 185O
Box/Folder   6/4
Reel/Frame   5/216-254
On Thomas Paine, 1859
Box/Folder   6/5
Reel/Frame   5/255-267
On literature, 1881-1882
Box/Folder   6/6
Reel/Frame   5/268-350
Oithono (play)
Box/Folder   6/7
Reel/Frame   5/351-372
“Louise Astor,” 1846-1847
Box/Folder   6/8
Reel/Frame   5/373-545
“Uhland in Texas” and “Als der Grossvater die Grossmuter nahm”
Box/Folder   6/9
Reel/Frame   5/546-588
“Gebrochen Ketten” and “Konig Rene's Tochterlein”
Box/Folder   6/10
Reel/Frame   5/589-596
“Maitrank” and “Vor Marseille” (poems)
Box/Folder   7/1
Reel/Frame   5/597-637
“Zwei Dichtergraeber” (address)
Box/Folder   7/2
Reel/Frame   5/638-664
Miscellaneous items about M. F. Anneke's school
Box/Folder   7/3
Reel/Frame   5/665-763
“Sturmgeiger und Kajuttenpring” (incomplete article)
Unfinished manuscripts
Box/Folder   7/4-6
Paper copy
Reel/Frame   5/764-985
Microfilm copy, part 1
Reel/Frame   6/0-261
Microfilm copy, part 2
Box/Folder   7/7
Reel/Frame   6/262-699
Nine small memorandum books
Series: Biography and Appendix
Box/Folder   8/1
Reel/Frame   7
Biographical notes commemorating Fritz and Mathilde Anneke
Box/Folder   8/2
Reel/Frame   7
Box/Folder   8/3
Maria Wagner's Mathilde Franziska Anneke in Selbstzeugnissen und Dokumenten (Frankfurt am Main, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1980)
Note: Not microfilmed.