When Heather first set up the Elder’s cave, there was some discussion about what we called ourselves. I had suggested Elder Flowers and had long wanted to make a pictorial represention of the flowers, including Faucon. I have a large collection of used postage stamps and when I found I had nearly as many stamps from this particular series as there were Elders, I knew what I would do with them. Finding just the right bouquet, however, has taken me ages. So here is my offering of a bouquet of Elder flowers. The women featured on the stamps, from very different backgrounds and for very different reasons, became famous for their contributions to Germany’s history. We all come from various backgrounds and, maybe, will contribute our bit to the art of team blogging and the creation of a community spirit.


Women in German history (Frauen der deutsche Geschichte) is a definitive stamp series issued in the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin from 1986 to 1990, and in reunited Germany since 1990.

Paula Modersohn-Becker – 1876-1907 early expressionism artist and friend of Rainer Marie Rilke

Clara Schumann – wife of composer Robert Schumann, gifted pianist and composer in her own right

Therese Giehse – realized her passion for the theatre and acting at an early age. Though her family tried to change her mind about the theater she made her way to the stage anyway. She had a very intense friendship with the famous German writer Thomas Mann and his children Erika and Klaus. Klaus later dedicated his novel “Mephisto”, which was a portrait of actor Gustav Gruendgens, to her. She also found a good friend in the writer Bertolt Brecht – she was the first actress to play his “Mother Courage”. She was Jewish and decided to leave Germany when Hitler came to power, although it is known that he greatly appreciated her acting. In her exile in Switzerland she founded a kind of cabaret with Erika Mann. After the war she returned to Germany and began a new career in films.

Cilly Aussem – German female tennis player

Hannah Arendt – German political theorist

Fanny Hensel – German pianist and composer and sister of Felix Mendelssohn

Luise Henriette van Oranien – Princess Luise Henriette von Oranien (1627–1667) experimented in Brandenburg in the fields of potato breeding, animal husbandry and horticulture .

Emma Ihrer – 1857-1911 born in Glatz in 1857 and grew up in a middle-class, religious environment. At the age of 24, she went to Berlin and was affiliated with the Socialists and the Labor Unions. In 1885, she was also a co-founder and member of the board of the “Berliner Arbeiterinnenverein,” a society, in which she advocated for the interests of female workers. This society, however, was shut down by the police in 1886. In 1891, she edited a woman’s magazine that was later published under the title “Gleichheit” (equality).

Emma Ihrer kept fighting for the women and girls of the working class, although she was penalized and also arrested for doing so.

Marie Juchacz Marie Juchacz was born into a lower class family and perceived early in life the importance of organized self-help for the working people. In 1908 she joined the SPD (Social Democratic Party) and she was a member of the Reichstag between 1919 and 1933. Her major accomplishment was the German workers welfare fund, a charity organization that she helped to establish. Today this is one of biggest non-governmental welfare groups in Germany.  She died on 28 January 1956 in Düsseldorf.

Christine Teusch 1925-33 Secretary of the Presidium of the Reichstag. In 1919 she was member of the Nationalversamlung, 1920-33 of the Reichstag for Zemtrum, 1946-66 member of the Landtag (Assembly) and 1947-54 Minister of Culture in the State of Nordrhein-Westphalen. She lived (1888-1968)

Maria Sybilla Merian 1647–1717, Swiss naturalist and painter of insects and flowers; daughter of Matthäus Merian, the elder. Her first book on insects, with plates she engraved and colored, was published in 1699. The same year she went to Dutch Guiana to study tropical insects, and her work on that subject appeared in 1705. Her remarkable painting of a Guianan bird-eating spider was ridiculed as a flight of female fancy until 1863 when an English naturalist observed a similar spider in the Amazon forest. Merian’s careful research in natural history, combined with her exquisite pictorial studies, mostly in watercolor, earned her considerable esteem. The British Museum has two volumes of her drawings.

Dorothea Erxleben – 1715-1762 – From childhood on, Dorothea Erxleben’s father, Dr. Christian Leporin, taught her and her brothers about the healing arts. However, in order to be a certified doctor, she had to study medicine, and, at that time, universities did not admit women. She defended herself against these biases with her writing, “Gründliche Untersuchung der Ursachen, die das weibliche Geschlecht vom Studieren abhalten” from 1742, and also went to the Prussian King Frederick the Great in 1741, asking that the university allowed her to study. She didn’t make use of her royal approval right away, because she got married to the deacon Johann Christian Erxleben. Despite her new household, she expanded her knowledge in the medical field through her studies and medical practicums, causing envy among her colleagues. In order to counter her colleagues’ jealousy, she decided to take her exams after the birth of her fourth child. In 1754, Erxleben successfully passed her exams at the University of Halle. She was 39 years old.

And last but not least:  

Jean Pierre Pescatore – one of the most colourful Luxemburgers of the 19th century. Philanthropist, patron of the arts and collector of paintings as well being a passionate orchid hunter with which he filled his greenhouses at his house in Saint-Cloud, France. On his death he left his collection of paintings and sufficient capital to set up a charitable foundation (which still exists).