Sue Young Histories

Bettina von Arnim 1785 - 1859

September 03, 2008

Bettina von Arnim 1785-1859 was closely related to the German writers Clemens Brentano and Ludwig Achim von Arnim: the first was her brother, the second her husband. Her daughter Gisela von Arnim became a writer as well.

Bettina von Arnim was a patient of Samuel Hahnemann, obtaining the remedy cuprum from him in 1831 to cure her of cholera. She was also a friend of Gustav Wilhelm Gross, who told Samuel Hahnemann that ’she lives and works for homeopathy’.

From 1991 until 31 December 2001, her portrait was printed on the German 5-DM bill.

Bettina von Arnim was a passionate friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ludwig von Beethoven, Margaret Fuller and Robert Wesselhoeft. Arnim was an advocate of homeopathy and sought homeopathic treatment for her daughter from Karl Ferdinand Kuchler. Ludwig von Beethoven also dedicated Gesänge für Singstimme und Klavier op. 75, Nr. 2 “Neue Liebe, neues Leben”, Überprüfte Abschrift, Fragment to Bettina von Brentano.

Bettina von Arnim lived in Berlin with her sons. She had been involved with homeopathy since 1825 when she encouraged her brother to consult Samuel Hahnemann in Kothen. Her husband ordered a copy of Samuel Hahnemann’s Organon, which she read in May 1829 and immediately postponed her daughter’s vaccination.

Bettina von Arnim became an earnest student and patient of homeopathy, and when her grandson Achin 1848 - 1891 became ill (probably with measles), she prescribed for him herself, her son Freimund Johann  von Arnim 1812 - 1863 reporting the symptoms to her, she prescribed the remedy silica.

Bettina von Arnim became quite skilled, especially in observing the efffects of aggravation, suppression and the results of homeopathic treatment in the people around her, and she is well enough educated in medical matters that she is well able to protect her family from ineffective cures toted around by door to door peddlers, certain in the knowledge that she is part of a new science of homeopathy.

Freimund Johann von Arnim’s steward Finzelberg (the nephew of Gustav Wilhelm Gross), used homeopathy to treat his staff, and Bettina von Arnim’s brother in law, Friedrich Carl von Savigny received a homeopathic doctor dispatched by his son Leo von Savingny 1820 - 1886, to treat his leg injury.

Thus did Bettina von Arnim construct a family network to promulgate homeopathy, supplemented by her propaganda for homeopathy through her writings.

The Grimm Brothers were sponsored by Friedrich Carl von Savigny, who was married to Kunigunde Brentano, the sister of Clemens Brentano and Bettina von Arnim

In America in 1842, Margaret Fuller translated Bettina von Arnim’s Goethe’s Correspondence with a Child, and her name and influence became part of the swirling social circle of homeopathic supporters there:

Margaret Fuller was an active supporter of homeopathy and at the centre of a social circle glittered with homeopaths and their supporters, including Caroline Wells Healey Dall, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Moncure Daniel Conway, Mercy Bisbee Jackson, Carolina Maria Seymour Severance, the Wesselhoeft family, Lucretia Coffin Mott, Theodore Parker, Bronson Alcott, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Mary Gove Nichols, Mary Baker Eddy and Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis.

Margaret Fuller was also part of the intelligentsia who gathered around James T Fields, one of America’s most famous publisher of American writers, and a partner in Ticknor and Fields, had a bookstore known as Parnassus Corner on Old Corner.

Margaret Fuller would also have known all of the homeopaths and homeopathic supporters who frequented Elizabeth Palmer Peabody’s Foreign Library.

Margaret Fuller’s younger sister Ellen Fuller married Ellery Channing. Margaret Fuller also knew homeopaths Christopher M Weld, James Garth Wilkinson and Robert Wesselhoeft.

Minna Wesselhoeft and Margaret Fuller were the two translators of the Correspondence of Fraulein Gunderode and Bettina von Arnim 1861.

Bettina von Arnim also knew Theodore Parker, who interviewed her in Berlin:

A little woman, about sixty. She must once have been handsome; her face is full of expression, her smile beautiful. Hand quite long, only the nails were long and dirty; her attire shabby, the room a little disarranged

Bettina Brentano von Arnim (the Countess of Arnim) 1785 - 1859 born Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano, was a German writer and novelist, was a writer, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist, an illustrator, patron of young talent and a social activist…

Of interest:

Christian and Ingrid von Arnim translated some correspondence of Rudolf Steiner and his wife 1901 - 1925

Ludwig Achim (or Joachim) von Arnim 1781 – 1831 was a German poet and novelist born in Berlin.

Clemens Brentano, or Klemens Brentano 1778 – 1842 was a German poet and novelist. He was born in Ehrenbreitstein, near Koblenz, Germany.

Gisela von Arnim 1827 – 1889 was a German writer, mainly of fairy tales.

Gisela was the youngest child of Achim von Arnim and Bettina von Arnim. She was not formally educated, being taught only by her sisters.

In 1859, she married Germanist and art historian Herman Grimm, a son of Wilhelm Grimm.

Elizabeth von Arnim 1866 – 1941 born Mary Annette Beauchamp, was a British novelist who had an affair with Herbert George Wells.