Elisabeth Dauthendey - short biography

Elisabeth Dauthendey – short biography and work Elisabeth Dauthendey (1854-1943) was a famous German writer. She was influenced by the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, dealt with the problems of women and also fought for equal rights for women. She wrote novels and short stories concerned with this issue and as she was a teacher she wrote child-friendly fairy tales with educational background in which she created a mystical fantasy world. She also translated literature dealing with psychological and ethical issues. About Dauthendey family. Elisabeth was the youngest of four daughters of Carl Dauthendey, a famous daguerrotypist who had emigrated to Russia and become court photographer of Tsar Nikolaus I. Carl`s wife was the daughter of a German rabbi and committed suicide when Elisabeth was just one year old. Later Carl married Caroline Charlotte Friedrich who was mother of the famous German writer Max Dauthendey, Elisabeth`s half-brother. When Elisabeth was about ten years old, the family left Russia and settled in the Franconian metropolis of Würzburg. Elisabeth took a teacher`s exam, worked in Königsberg and visited Italy, France and England, where she had the chance to become a private tutor in the London Lord Mayor`s family. After her father`s death in 1896 Elisabeth could free herself from his strict supervision and became member of a women`s organization which tried to supply more rights for young women so that they could take part in lectures of Würzburg university, which didn`t accept women at this time. During the German Nazi period she was threatened with ban and persecution from 1933 on and later since she was a half-Jew. Though she had published about twenty books so far she decided to avoid writing and publishing in order not to attract any attention. She lived together with a friend in Würzburg. In the years before her death she had to suffer severe financial hardship. She died in the age of 90 in Würzburg, where she was buried in the family grave in Würzburg Hauptfriedhof. Many of her manuscripts got lost during World War II when Würzburg was almost completely destroyed by bombs and fire in the air attack on the city on March 16, 1945. By chance only a part of her famous fairy tales were saved and published later by a friend who had often visited her, the German teacher Dr. Michael Gebhardt.