The Rabbi's Daughter

Title

The Rabbi's Daughter

Description

Ernestine Rose was utterly self-possessed and extraordinarily lucky. She was an only child who inherited a fortune - and gave it back. She changed nations and languages more than once, establishing herself among intellectuals and reformers wherever she went. Thread.

She spent 10+ years passing a law to protect married women from degradation--while married to a man who respected her as an equal. Without children she could devote herself to her causes: utopian socialism & suffrage.

Today her remarkable early life; tomorrow her suffrage career.

Ernestine Potowski’s father was the rabbi of Piotrkow, Poland. They were close & he gave her an unusually good education for a girl. She was 16 when her mother died. In 1826 it was not odd for her father to promise her to a man his own age, with her large inheritance as a dowry. Ernestine refused to marry him, so he went to civil court to demand the dowry.

Speaking in her own defense, she "convinced the judges that [she] should not have to pay with her property for an engagement entered into against her will.” Terrific cites from @JudithShulevitz Ernestine kept enough money to make her way to Berlin, gave the rest to her father as a gesture of freedom, then renounced Judaism and left Poland forever.

Worth noting that Piotrkow maintained a thriving Jewish community until 1942, when all its Jews were murdered in Treblinka.

On her own in Berlin & Paris, Ernestine supported herself by inventing a room deodorizer(!) In England she helped Robert Owen develop his theories of utopian socialism. At age 26 she chose to marry William Rose, a silversmith & fellow Owenite. Together they left for America. /Fin 

Creator

Daily Suffragist

Date

11/12/2019

Files

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Citation

Daily Suffragist, “The Rabbi's Daughter,” Daily Suffragist, accessed October 20, 2021, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/184.

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