Auguste Sprengel

* 09.08.1847 (Waren) 21.10.1934 (Berlin) Germany
Fields of activity: educationalist
Author: Erdmute Dietmann-Beckert

Pioneer of the first German Women’s school

Why have I chosen this woman?

Auguste Sprengel is an example for a lady for whom women’s further education is most important. When she did not get enough support, she went to Berlin where her educational work was approved.

„There is no liberation of the mankind without social independence and equality of men and women.“  August Bebel

Education for women

Auguste Sprengel the „Mother of schools for women“, is the headline in a local magazine. Auguste is 56 years old when she starts the first German women’s school in Berlin-Friedenau.

The former headmistress of a school for girls has moved from Waren to Berlin. Her native town had no longer been willing to support her educational work. In Berlin, the Prussian capital, she requests an equal curriculum for boys and girls with ten obligatory years for both. In case girls don’t want to continue studies, they should have the opportunity to get further education in the new school for women. In Prussia she works for a reformation of the schools for girls and women. Here she is at one with the two feminists, Helene Lange and Gertrud Bäumer. Lange and Bäumer are asked for advice by the Minister of Education in Berlin 1906. The reform of the educational system for women passes into law in 1908
Even during her retirement Auguste Sprengel is passionately working for her idea of a Women’s School.

Educational and social work in Waren

In 1870 in Waren, a secondary school for girls is opened. Auguste becomes the first qualified female teacher. Nine years later she is the headmistress. Something extraordinary because until then, only men are regarded as able to manage girls‘ schools. A woman leadership of a school had been unthinkable.

The new headmistress starts by enacting new school rules. Besides behavior in the school house, there are rules for how to keep good relationships between the teacher and the pupil and the organization of the school. Nine years of schooling become obligatory.
The curriculum makes sure a broad equal and general education for boys and girls. Until then girls were mainly trained to become good housewives and mothers.
For the older women teachers, a center for their retirement is founded.
In 1895, Auguste Sprengel is honored by the Duke of Mecklenburg for her special service for the country, but the gold medal doesn‘t prevent rejection of further support of Auguste’s educational work in Waren.


Youth and Childhood

Auguste Friederica Louise is the oldest child of four. The parents Albert and Marie are of good families. The father is a town judge, lawyer and member of the National Assembly in Frankfurt 1848. The parents don’t educate their children differently. Both boys and girls get an excellent education.

From 1852 to 1860 Auguste visits the private school for girls in Waren, and changes to a bourgeois school for three years, in Rostock. For two more years, she is trained to become a teacher. She receives practical experience in private homes. In Hannover, she successfully completes her public teaching exam.



Auguste’s name does not appear in the list of the pioneers for women’s education.
Yet Auguste Sprengel has left her traces in Waren and Berlin. In Berlin-Friedenau there was the „Private Auguste Sprengel Lyzeum“. In Berlin-Lankwitz existed the „Municipal Lyzeum Auguste Sprengel“and a women’s school.

The first celebrated the 60th year jubilee together with Auguste who again insisted on a women’s school, but unfortunately, it didn’t come true because the school had to be closed in 1936 by Nazi order. The second survived the Second World War.
Auguste dies in Berlin and is buried in Waren where you can find her gravestone even today.


Literature and links

  • Elke Kleinau Hg. Geschichte der Mädchen-und Frauenbildung. Bd.2.Frankfurt Main 1996.
  • Die Stadtzeitung. Zeitung für bürgerschaftliches Engagement und Stadtteilkultur. Schöneberg-Friedenau-Steglitz. Ausg. 29. März 2006
  • Stadt Waren