Anna Maria Van Schurman

Germany / Netherlands / 1607 - 1678 /
"...a painter, engraver, poet, & scholar.... As a visual artist, she contributed to drawing and engraving on glass. She "decorated their glasses with flowers & insects drawn with a gossamer touch, often accompanied by epigrams in Latin or Greek capitals." She also painted portraits."

"Anna Maria van Schurman (Cologne, 5 November 1607–4 May 1678 Wiewerd) became the first female university student of Europe (Utrecht University, 1636) and the most learned woman of her time.

Born in Cologne, she lived most of her life behind the Dom Cathedral in Utrecht, Holland, where she became known for her knowledge of theology, philosophy, medicines and of at least 14 languages (Dutch, German, French, English, Italian, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Syriac, Samaritan, Persian and Ethiopic). She even composed a grammar for Ethiopic.

Van Schurman was a multi-talented woman. She was an artist, wrote poetry in German, Dutch, Latin, Greek, Hebrew and corresponded with many learned men and women of the European Res Publica Litteraria (the Republic of Letters), for example from England and Ireland: Simonds D’ Ewes, James Harrington, Bathsua Makin, John Owen, Elisabeth Stuart, Queen Henrietta Maria, Samuel Collins, Samuel Rutherford, Dorothy Moore, John Dury, William Penn, Utricia Swann-Ogle and Archibald Hamilton. She was a succesful writer and her Opuscula Hebraea Graeca Latina et Gallica, prosaica et metrica was published in 1648 and reprinted several times (1650, 1652, 1723, 1749). Almost every library of importance in Europe has work by her (even as far north as Trondheim and Ostersund). The Opuscula also contains her logical defence of women’s right to study, the Dissertatio de ingenii muliebris ad doctrinam et meliores litteras aptitudine, translated into English as The Learned Maid." []
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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