Bertha Felicitas Sophie Freifrau von Suttner was an Austrian-Bohemian pacifist and novelist. She was was born Countess Bertha Kinsky in Prague in 1843.
She faced hostility from Austria’s high aristocracy from a young age, as her parents’ marriage was highly contentious.
Her father came from the noble Kinsky family but her mother’s family was of a lower social status.
She was a keen student as a child, studying music and languages – being proficients in French, English and Italian.
An accomplished pianist and singers, she was introduced to intellectualism by her cousin Elvira and studied literature and philosophy as a child.
However, the pair remained in close contact while she worked in France and Bertha secretly married Suttner in 1876.
Following their secret nuptials, she became inspired to write novels, short stories, and essays.
She once wrote: “The third field of my feelings and moods lay within our married happiness.
“In this was my peculiarly inalienable home, my refuge for all possible conditions of life, ….and so the leaves of my diary are full not only of political domestic records of all kinds, but also of memoranda of our gay little jokes, our confidential enjoyable walks, our uplifting reading, our hours of music together, and our evening games of chess.
“To us personally nothing could happen. We had each other, – that was everything.”
It is believed that she suggested including a peace prize in his will and in 1905 she became the second female Nobel laureate, the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first Austrian laureate.
As well as today’s Google Doodle, she has also been commemorated on several coins and stamps:
- She was selected as a main motif for a high value collectors’ coin: the 2008 Europe Taler, which featured important people in the history of Europe. Also depicted in the coin are Martin Luther, Antonio Vivaldi, and James Watt.
- She is depicted on Germany’s 2005 10 euro coin.
- She is depicted on the Austrian 2 euro coin, and was pictured on the old Austrian 1,000 schilling bank note.
- She was commemorated on a 1965 Austrian postage stamp and a 2005 German postage stamp.