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Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer

Jean-Antoine Houdonc. 1805/06

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Dorothea Schlözer (1770–1825) was the first woman in Germany to earn the title of doctor of philosophy, which she did in 1787 at the age of just seventeen. Her father, August Ludwig Schlözer, a great devotee of the Enlightenment, used her for a pedagogical experiment, aiming to refute through his first-born the theories on educating children propounded by his rival, Johann Bernhard Basedow. Even so, an academic career remained closed to Dorothea. She married Matthäus von Rodde, a considerably older, affluent merchant who later became lord mayor of the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. There she presided over a literary salon. It was on one of her visits to Paris that Jean- Antoine Houdon, the “sculptor of the Enlightenment”, crafted the portrait bust of this exceptional woman.

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