Henriette de Lemos Herz exercised her intellectual passions through both the salons she hosted and the school she created. The child of a Portuguese doctor, Henriette married Dr. Marcus Herz at age fifteen and began hosting salons frequented by the great thinkers of Berlin, making her house one of the most respected and fashionable in the city. But after her husband’s sudden death in 1803, she was left impoverished. She converted to Protestantism and opened a private school for young women to support herself, and in her later years was given a pension by the King of Prussia. In her fifties, she first tried to write an autobiography (almost unheard of for a woman at the time) and then related her life story to a biographer named Julius Fürst, who published her account in 1850. At the same time, she tried to control the narrative of her life by asking her various correspondents to burn any letters from her after her death. Despite this, the diplomat Karl Gustav Brinckmann preserved his copies of her letters, offering further insights into the books, plays, and experiences that shaped her daily life.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Henriette Herz." (Viewed on August 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/herz-henriette>.