European Admirers and Supporters of Ernestine Rose

Jenny P. d'Héricourt

Jenny P. d'Héricourt, a French women's rights reformer who interviewed Ernestine Rose in 1856 and published a short biography,"Madame Rose," in "Revue Philosophique et Religieuse."

"…Madame Rose, so justifiably famous in the United States of America…has just left Paris where we were only able to keep her for a few days. Never before has there been a woman whose existence has been so completely dedicated to the triumph of progress during her mission of more than 20 years, than this admirable woman, who braved unbelievable exhaustion and dangers of every kind to follow the dictates of her conscience as enlightened by reason.

Madame Rose is a slender, petite, gracious woman, with a beautiful forehead, sparkling eyes of an extraordinary sweetness, …a charming half smile, a voice with a pure tone, gifted with a flexibility that provides nuance of expression to her thoughts with never a false note or shrillness that might offend a musical ear; her demeanor is serious and expressive, her temperament reserved, her carriage firm yet not rigid. When she speaks, every bit of her being is in harmony. The reflection of her ideas illuminates her intelligent brow and her limpid eyes, thus offering one of the most complete expressions of intellectual and moral beauty, and I would add, real grandeur, because for all her grace, Madame Rose does not convey so much as a hint of affectation. She doesn't pose because she does not try to please ; she has nothing to hide, she wishes only to persuade and convince…this woman so frail, so simple…knew how to impress her ideas on people in the United States, in a movement that can no longer be stopped.

What are the religious and philosophic opinions of Madame Rose? What are her political opinions?…All the American laws that establish and ordain the servitude, the disempowerment of woman in the state, in the city, in the family, in the laws of property, are laws she knows well; she argues against them, and she tirelessly seeks to revoke them. She does not deal with governmental theory, but is content to point out the vices and mores of the social order and to demonstrate that one cannot look forward to a good social organization until the two halves of humanity, man and woman, already equal in nature will become equal before human laws."

—From "Madame Rose" as translated by Paula Doress-Worters and others, to be published in Journal of Women's History, June 2003. (c) Indiana University Press. Used with permission. Contact the Press

Mathilde Franciska Anneke
Mathilde Franciska Anneke was a German revolutionary who re-settled in the United States after the failed revolution of 1848, and published German-American newspapers for women. When she first came to the United States and spoke at a National Women's Rights Convention, Ernestine Rose provided a running simultaneous translation of her speech.

"One of the foremost battlers for women's rights is Ernestine Rose. Not only was she one of the first to speak up for the advance of women…but she is especially valued and holds an especially high place in our eyes among the struggling American women for the radicalism of her thought and the energy of her presence in each cause... Ernestine Rose was one of the very few to oppose and fight openly against…religious cant in this 'land of freedom.'"

—From her article in "Deutsche Frauen-Zeitung, "#7, 15 October 1852, p. 53 (sole surviving issue of the journal's two year run.)

In an 1877 letter, Anneke wrote that aside from herself, "…only Ernestine Rose, …spoke here and there in German" and was the only woman she knew of "who brought the issue of women's rights before the German-American community."

—From a paper by Bonnie S. Anderson at the 12th Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, author of "Joyous Greetings: The First International Women's Rights Movement, 1830-1860."

Ottilie Assing

Ottilie Assing, a liberal German journalist and foreign correspondent for "Morganblatt," a German newspaper, was a close friend of Frederick Douglass. In this excerpt, she is writing from America on American reformers:

"More attractive, more outstanding, and more to my liking than any of those I have mentioned so far is Ernestine Rose, a Polish woman who has been living here for more than twenty years…Her opinions are based on a clear, liberal conception of all things and are not hemmed in by tradition. The speeches she has given at women's meetings and other occasions reveal a broadly educated, independent and lucid mind; nothing is murky, nebulous or illogical. Her knowledge of two continents has broadened her horizon; experience and understanding have matured her opinions. If the advocates of women's rights counted many women like Ernestine Rose in their number, their baroque appearance would soon give way to more substantial accomplishments than any refusal to pay taxes or any penchant for sermonizing can ever achieve."

—New York, March 1858. Quoted in Christoph Lohmann, ed., "Radical Passion: Ottilie Assing's Reports from America and Letters to Frederick Douglass". New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1999.