She Was The First Woman To Be Awarded The Nobel Peace Prize After Starting Out As Alfred Nobel’s Housekeeper And Secretary

JeanLuc - - illustrative purposes only

Do you know who the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was? If not, now’s your chance to learn all about her. 

Her name was Bertha von Suttner, and she was a pacifist and novelist known for writing what is considered to be one of the most influential books of the 19th century. Bertha was born in Prague in 1843. 

Bertha was born into an aristocratic family and grew up in that society. Unfortunately, her father died when she was quite young, so she moved with her mother to be closer to her side of the family in Brno.

As a young girl, she learned a lot from her cousin Elvira, who was a scholar. She learned different languages and how to sing and play the piano.

Over the years of her childhood, Bertha’s mother became a gambler and eventually gambled away their entire fortune. This led to their family moving to Vienna and eventually Klosterneuburg, Austria. Around this time, Bertha wrote and published her first novel Erdenträume im Monde.

At the age of thirty, she needed a stable job to help support herself and her family, so she became a governess for the four daughters of the von Suttner family in 1873. During this time, she fell in love with the girl’s older brother, Arthur Gundaccar von Suttner.

Since her bosses didn’t approve of her and Arthur’s relationship, she moved to Paris to become a secretary and housekeeper for none other than Alfred Nobel, the esteemed figure who established the Nobel Prize.

However, Bertha only worked the job for a week before returning to Austria to marry Arthur secretly. They eventually settled in Kutaisi, a city in the country of Georgia. They both worked as teachers and taught children of the aristocracy. 

Bertha and Arthur moved to multiple cities throughout their marriage, where she continued to write books and for the Austrian Press. 

In 1882, Bertha began writing her own political pieces that showed her strong feelings against war. Her first significant political work was Inventarium einer Seele. In 1889, while living in Austria, she published what might be her most famous work to date, the pacifist novel Die Waffen nieder! (Lay Down Your Arms!). 

JeanLuc – – illustrative purposes only

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