Bertha von Suttner

Lived:June 9, 1843—June 21, 1914 (aged 71)

Bertha von Suttner, writer and peace activist, was the sixth person and the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1905.

Suttner was born June 9, 1843, in Prague, Austria, to a noble family. Her father died before her birth, and she was raised by her mother, whose financial mismanagement necessitated that Suttner, at age 30, take a position as teacher-companion to the Suttner daughters. There, she fell in love with her charges' brother, Arthur, who was seven years her junior. She left employment with the family and became Alfred Nobel‘s secretary in Paris for a short time, but returned to marry Arthur von Suttner, to the disapproval of his parents.

The couple moved to the Caucasus and supported themselves by giving language and music lessons and later by writing newspaper articles and books. They returned to Austria in 1885 and became involved in the international peace movement. In 1889 she published her famous book "Die Waffen Nieder" ("Lay Down Your Arms") and became an active leader in the peace movement, work she continued for the rest of her life.

Suttner remained in contact with Nobel after her marriage, and is often given credit for influencing him to include a peace prize among the prizes provided for in his will. She died on June 21, 1914, in Vienna, Austria.