Margarethe von Wrangell

* 1877 (Moskau) 1932 (Hohenheim/Deutschland) Germany
Fields of activity: scientist
Author: Agathe Wende


Category: Scientist

Motto: „ Ich legte mein Ohr auf den Boden.“ (I put my ear on the earth).

My personal view of Margarethe von Wrangell:

Reading her biography I was much impressed in the fact, that her mother helped her as much as she could in her career. Besides this, her biography shows clearly that in Margarethe's lifetime already women existed who thought globally about the problem of nutrition. Another point of my admiration is to see how she built up her scientific career with persistence and endurance. She became the first woman professor in Germany. Now in Baden-Württemberg a habilitation stipendium for gifted women scientists bears her name. At this moment two excellent women scientists at Ulm University profit from this stipendium. They are able to  continue their studies for 5 years to become a professor. ( There is a statistic deficit of women professors in Germany).


Coming from a German-Baltic landowner family she went to school in Reval and became a teacher. She passed her examination with distinction. In the following nine years she gave private lessons in natural  science.  Though her relatives did not agree with her, she made up her mind to study.  As at this time it was impossible for a woman to study in her country, she went, assisted by her mother, to Tübingen (Baden-Württemberg ). She was one of the first women who studied there. In her free time she engaged herself in sports, played tennis, did horse riding and rode her bicycle with professors and students even to Venice. But her main interest was her academic career. She took a doctor's degree in Chemistry and Biology. Then she went back to Estland where she became manager of a research center of agriculture. This was of great importance on account of nutrition problems in the First World War. She examined there the need of plants for phosphor. 1918 her work came to an end due to the Russian Revolution.

As her name was already well-known in the scientific world, she could continue her

research work  at the Agricultural University of Hohenheim near Stuttgart. The center of her work was fertilizing plants with phosphate. On account of her international reputation the German Government gave her money for an plant institute in Hohenheim, which was built according to her plans.

In 1923 she was the first woman professor in Germany, but many male professors in Hohenheim envied her this position. She believed that she had to pay for her career with her private life. In 1928 however she married a friend of her youth, Fürst Andronikow. in 1932 she died at the age of 55 years. There is a Margarethe von Wrangell street in Ulm.


  • Andronikow  Margarethe von Wrangell  Das Leben einer Frau München 1936
  • Fellneth, Ulrich  Margarethe von Wrangell und andere Pionierinnen 1998