Radical Relationships
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Radical Relationships

The Civil War–Era Correspondence of Mathilde Franziska Anneke

Title Details

Pages: 276

Illustrations: 10 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 09/01/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6022-5

List Price: $120.95


Pub Date: 09/01/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6024-9

List Price: $34.95


Pub Date: 09/01/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6023-2

List Price: $34.95


Pub Date: 09/01/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6822-1

List Price: $34.95

Radical Relationships

The Civil War–Era Correspondence of Mathilde Franziska Anneke

The first translations of Mathilde Franziska Anneke’s private correspondence

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  • Description
  • Reviews

This collection of intimate letters reveals the remarkable radicalism—personal and political—of Mathilde Franziska Anneke. Anneke first became a well-known feminist and democrat in Prussia, earning notoriety for divorcing her first husband and fighting in the German Revolutions of 1848–1849. After moving to the United States, she became a noted proponent of woman suffrage, working with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Like many other refugees of the German revolutions, Anneke was deeply involved in the Civil War.

Radical Relationships focuses on the years 1859–1865, which encompassed not only the war but also Anneke’s intense romantic friendship with Yankee abolitionist Mary Booth. Over the course of seven years, Anneke supported Mary through her husband’s trial for rape. When Sherman Booth was later imprisoned for his abolitionist activity, Anneke conspired to spring him from jail. The two women then moved with three of their children to Zürich, Switzerland, where they collaborated on antislavery fiction and mixed with leading European radicals such as Ferdinand Lassalle. From Europe, they followed the fate of German-born soldiers in the Union army, including Anneke’s husband, Fritz, and his court martial. Throughout her career, Anneke’s intimate relationships informed her politics and sustained her activism. Her correspondence with Fritz and Mary Booth provides fresh perspectives on the transnational dimensions of the Civil War and gender and sexuality.

An extraordinary collection of letters that documents the trans-Atlantic friendship and partnership of two astonishing women, one American, one German, who traversed two continents consumed in political turmoil which served as the background to their intertwined personal and political lives. As champions of women’s rights, abolition, and socialism, Mathilde Franziska Anneke and Mary Booth struggled to balance family life—including separations, marital frustrations, loss of children, illness—with political activism. The volume deepens our understanding of complex, loving same-sex relationships that buoyed the women emotionally and fulfilled them in ways their husbands did and could not. The entries also uncover the common ground shared by European radicals and American reformers and permit a glimpse at the American Civil War through the eyes of Europeans. Alison Clark Efford and Viktorija Bilic, the editors of this unique volume, are to be commended for making these important letters accessible to English-speaking audiences.

—Diane Miller Sommerville, author of Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War-Era South

Mathilde Franziska Anneke’s extraordinary life as a revolutionary, feminist, abolitionist, and journalist in the mid-nineteenth century has long deserved wider recognition. Radical Relationships immerses readers in Anneke’s exciting world and helps readers grasp, better than any book before, the passions that motivated this extraordinary woman.

—Tyler Anbinder, author of City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York

Radical Relationships puts the spotlight on a remarkable nineteenth-century woman whose life has all the ingredients for a historical blockbuster. Skillfully translated by Viktorija Bilic and ably contextualized by Alison Efford, the letters from Mathilde Franziska Anneke’s inner circle tell a poignant transatlantic tale of love and war, politics and passion, betrayal and friendship. Readers will encounter a web of relationships that are as relevant today as they were radical in the past.

—Mischa Honeck, author of We Are the Revolutionists

Radical Relationships is a very welcome contribution to the fields of German American history, migration history, gender/women’s history, and Civil War history. . . . Efford and Bilic are an ideal team of editors.

—Anke Ortlepp, author of Germans and African Americans: Two Centuries of Exchange

As they pivot from the mundane to the momentous, the letters in this engrossing collection capture the fraught connections between personal and general welfare in a precarious age.

—Bonnie Carr O'Neill, American Literary History

About the Author/Editor

Alison Clark Efford (Editor)
ALISON CLARK EFFORD lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is an associate professor of history at Marquette University. She is the author of German Immigrants, Race, and Citizenship in the Civil War Era. Her essays and articles have appeared in journals such as the Missouri Historical Review and the Journal of the Civil War Era and in several edited collections.

Viktorija Bilic (Editor)
VIKTORIJA BILIC lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is an associate professor of translation and interpreting studies at the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee. She is the author of Historische amerikanische und deutsche Briefsammlungen: Alltagstexte als Gegenstand des Kooperativen Übersetzens.