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424 PERIN-GRADENSTEIN, Karoline Freifrau von (1806–1888) President of the first Wiener demokratische Frauenverein (Viennese Democratic Women’s Association) (1848). Karoline Freifrau von Perin-Gradenstein (nee von Pasqualati) was born on 12 February 1806 in Vienna, into an intellectual and artistic family. Her father, Joseph Andreas Freiher von Pasqualati (1784– 1864), was a pomologist and wholesale trader in fruit and vegetables, whose family originally came from Trieste; her mother was Eleonore Fritsch (d. 1811). Karoline received an education typical for a girl of her social class. In 1830, she married Christian Freiherr von PerinGradenstein , a court secretary from a family of artistic patrons. The couple loved music and kept a salon. They had four children, one of which died in infancy. After her husband’s death in 1841, Karoline von Perin lived with her children in Penzing, then a suburb of Vienna. In the mid1840s , the musician and democrat Joseph Frischhof (1849–1857) suggested that the composer and journalist Alfred Julius Becher (1803–1848) become a piano teacher for Karoline von Perin’s daughter, Marie. Von Perin and Becher became a couple and formed part of the clandestine opposition to the Metternich regime. In the censorship-free, revolutionary months of 1848, von Perin financed Becher’s newspaper, Der Radikale (The radical), and campaigned publicly for women’s rights. In contrast to the men’s discussion groups in cafes and pubs, which were held during the Vormaerz (Pre-March, the period between 1815 and March 1848), women— including von Perin—held political meetings in inns and pubs later, during the revolutionary ‘free’ months of 1848. Von Perin’s political involvement and lifestyle (i.e. her relationship with Becher, to whom she was not married) gave rise to defamatory remarks regarding von Perin’s character and reputation. Among the numerous associations established at this time was the Wiener demokratische Frauenverein (Viennese Democratic Women’s Association), which first assembled on 28 August 1848, in the Volksgarten (Public Gardens), Vienna. The meeting was stormed by men, antagonistic to the cause of women’s rights, who destroyed furniture and threatened the participants with violence. After a number of meetings—in 425 which internal differences were said to have emerged over positions towards the Emperor —Karoline von Perin was elected President of the organization, which passed a statute declaring its dedication to democratic principles. With the exception of similar associations in France, the statutes of this Frauenverein were unique, emphasizing the importance of a “political, social and human” education for girls and the political education of women, as well as arguing for children to be brought up in accordance with democratic principles such as equal rights for women. The Frauenverein also organized nursing for the wounded during the 1848 Revolution. The rules of the Frauenverein—regarding the right to introduce a motion, the right to speak and the right to nominate, elect and vote out board members—indicate a democratic structure to the organization, but men were only allowed to participate in meetings “exceptionally , as honorary members” (§. 8. Statuten des Wiener demokratischen Frauenvereins, 235–239).The Frauenverein’s statement of purpose reveals plans to expand the organization country-wide. In the two months of its existence (until 31 October 1848), the members of the Frauenverein tried to establish an agreement between the different revolutionary parties and gathered signatures for a petition calling for Landsturm (a mobilization of the peasants), presented to the Reichsrat (Imperial Council) by a Women’s Delegation under the leadership of von Perin on 17 October 1848. The members of the Frauenverein also participated in the funerals of those who had fallen victim to the militant ‘August riots,’ when working men and women, as well as students, fought the bourgeois Nationalgarde (National guard), marking the end of the united revolutionary movement of 1848 in Vienna. The fact that the Frauenverein co-founded the Zentralausschluss der demokratischen Vereine (Central Committee of the Democratic Associations )—established on 10 September 1848 in the Odeon Theater, Vienna—demonstrates the presence of a ‘sisterhood’ within the democratic movement of 1848 Vienna: a women’s association whose members were included as partners in a bourgeois public sphere created by, and for, men. Although male supporters were, in the main, friends and relatives, this kind of unity was a European novelty, the result of the ambivalence between traditional and modern structures and mentalities that characterized the unique political culture of the Habsburg Monarchy and of its capital city in the mid-nineteenth century. When the attack by counter-revolutionary...


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