Mann, Mathilde

Mann, Mathilde Image 1

Mathilde Mann

Mathilde Mann was born on 24 February, 1859 in Rostock as Mathilde Charlotte Bertha Friederike Scheven.

Thanks to the fostering of her parents Mathilde alongside French, English and Italian as well mastered Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. At the age of 19 she married the businessman Friedrich Johann Bernhard Mann, who was the Royal Danish Consul at that time, a scion of the Mann dynasty from which also come Heinrich and Thomas Mann. In 1885, after the bankruptcy of the grain trade of the husband, the couple emigrated to Copenhagen. There, Mathilde started to offer her translation services.

In 1892 she separated from her husband and moved to Hamburg. With her translations, her special liking of complex texts and her feeling for languages she quickly became known and appreciated. She translated works of Henrik Ibsen and Hans Christian Andersen, or even Johan Turi's "Book of Lappland" into German. After World War I Mathilde Mann started to work for a new to open Danish department of the University of Rostock, but unfortunately the necessary financial means for such a department were not approved. She, nevertheless, continued to work for the university. When she falls seriously ill, a number of eminent professors expressed assent to the request for an honorary doctorate. Thus, Mathilde Mann is the first woman at the University of Rostock who received the title Dr. Phil. h.c., although she never received an academic education. Mathilde Mann lived and worked in two homelands, Denmark and Germany – and, by that – proved to be truely European. She died in Rostock on February 14, 1925.