Anna Maria van Schurman

Anna Maria van Schurman (1607–1678).
Annae Mariae a Schurman Opuscula hebraea,
latina, graeca, gallica, prosaica et metrica
Leipzig: Michael Karl Friedrich Müller, 1749. (BRA2125)

This volume contains the collected Hebrew, Latin, Greek, and French writings of Anna Maria van Schurman, who is believed to be the first woman enrolled as a student in a European university. Raised in a wealthy Dutch family with connections to the intellectual elite of Europe, she came to be regarded by her contemporaries as the most learned woman in the world. Fluent in multiple languages, she gained international fame as a poet, essayist, philosopher, and theologian; she was also an accomplished painter, engraver, and musician. When the University of Utrecht opened in 1636, she was invited to compose a Latin poem in honor of the occasion. Her poem lamented the university’s exclusion of women and convinced the magistrates to admit her as a student. However, she was required to listen to lectures while separated from her male counterparts by a curtain. John Wesley admired her writings and quoted them in his letters. As he recorded in his Journal on March 14, 1774: “I gave another reading of the Life of Anna Maria Schurman: Perhaps a woman of the strongest understanding that the world ever saw. And she is likewise deeply devoted to God.”

Listen as curator Dr. Eric White talks about Anna Maria van Schurman during a tour.

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Women of the Renaissance
Anna Maria van Schurman