Eleanor Marx

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Eleanor Marx (1886) detail

Jenny Julia Eleanor Marx (called Tussy ; born January 16, 1855 in London ; † March 31, 1898 ibid) was a German-English socialist and the youngest daughter of Jenny and Karl Marx . Her two older sisters were Jenny Longuet and Laura Lafargue . From the summer of 1884 she called herself Eleanor Marx Aveling .


Eleanor Marx at the age of about 9 (sitting in the middle between her older sisters Laura and Jenny), standing behind her father Karl Marx (right) and his mentor and political companion Friedrich Engels (left), photograph before June 1864 (reversed! )

Work for the father

Like her mother Jenny before, Eleanor Marx dedicated her life to the service of her famous father Karl Marx. Since he needed a secretary during Jenny's illness from 1880 onwards, Eleanor put her own career aspiration as an actress on hold and became her father's secretary: she carried out his correspondence, arranged books and manuscripts, translated his texts into English and interpreted for him.

In 1882 she separated from her long-time fiancé Prosper-Olivier Lissagaray . Eleanor was not happy with this connection, which was also long rejected by her father, suffered from anorexia at times and received treatment for insomnia .

Political activist

Only after Karl Marx's death in March 1883 did she become politically active herself. She made a name for herself as a political activist and socialist agitator and played an important role in the founding of the Second International and in the English trade union movement . She helped build the English trade unions movement. Wilhelm Liebknecht linked her name inextricably with the successes of the machine workers' strike in 1889 and the victorious Docker strike of 1890.

She began to deal increasingly with the conditions of the Jewish proletariat in London's East End , learned Yiddish and finally proudly claimed: "I am a Jewish woman."

In addition to her political commitment, she managed her father's estate . She made a name for herself above all by collecting and editing her father's many small writings and newspaper articles. The London literary journal The Critic describes her as "an English-German George Sand ".

Relationship with Edward Aveling

Eleanor Marx with Wilhelm Liebknecht and Edward Aveling to the right of Eleanor. Photograph taken during the America trip in 1886.

After joining the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) , the first socialist party in the United Kingdom , and working closely with Edward Aveling , who had been separated from his wife for ten years and whom she herself called her husband ("husband" ) , Eleanor ) called. Aveling was very unpopular with her friends and family (with the exception of Engels), partly because he was constantly in debt. The connection with Eleanor wasn't always happy either; he betrayed her. Still, Eleanor always defended him against all charges.

In 1884, after the split of the SDF, she founded the Socialist League together with William Morris and her partner . Eleanor published several times in their monthly organ Commonweal . In 1886 she went on a donor tour through the USA with Aveling and Wilhelm Liebknecht to support the SAPD , the predecessor party of the SPD, and to organize donations for the workers victims of the Haymarket Riot . In 1889 she was a delegate at the founding congress of the Second International .

Eleanor Marx had many friendships, including Olive Schreiner and George Bernard Shaw .

Death and burial

Eleanor Marx suffered from a nervous disease, even longer spa stays did not bring any relief. She spoke of suicidal thoughts . On March 31, 1898, at the age of 43, she committed suicide with hydrogen cyanide .

Some claimed that it was triggered by a letter she had received recently. The letter has not been received. Many suspected (e.g. Eduard Bernstein , Victor Adler ) that she took her own life after learning of a second marriage between Aveling and the young actress Eva Frye, which he had married in June 1897 under the false name Alec Nelson . The fact is that she cared for Aveling, who was seriously ill again in January 1898, for over two months, so that she was extremely surprised to learn of his secret marriage - a deception that she could not possibly overcome. Wilhelm Liebknecht wrote in his obituary in the Wahren Jacob : “[...] it ended through my own decision, through my own hand. Not through your own fault. "

The circumstances of her suicide have been the subject of numerous articles in the contemporary press. The New York Times reported in its April 3, 1898 issue in its obituary for “Mrs. Marx-Aveling ":

“She was a very sensitive child and was fed exclusively with milk until she was five years old. As a little girl she was already engaged in Shakespeare and became a member of the Shakespeare Society. As an adolescent, she helped her father with his literary activities. When the Commune was proclaimed in Paris in 1871 , she and her sister were sent on a mission to the south of France. She carried documents with her that, if discovered, could have brought her into great trouble. French soldiers surrounded the house she was staying in and she hid the papers between old deeds. After the failure of the Commune, her father's house in London became an important meeting place for French refugees. She became engaged to Lissegeray, the author of a paper on the Commune, but the engagement did not last and she accompanied her father on his travels on the European continent. After the death of her father, she married Dr. Aveling and came with him and Liebknecht in 1886 to this country [meaning the USA] and gave a lecture at a meeting of socialists , anarchists and communists in Brommer's Park, New York . They went on a reading tour around the country. Mrs. Aveling was a good linguist and worked as a translator at the workers' congresses in Paris , Brussels , Zurich and London. She also wrote and translated articles for workers' literature. It is said that domestic problems arose from lack of affection from her husband, and that her friends see it as the cause of their suicide. "

- New York Times (translated from English)

After her partner Edward Aveling did not claim her urn , it was kept in the later Marx Memorial Library until 1920 . In 1920 she was taken to the headquarters of the Communist Party of Great Britain . When police raided headquarters in 1921, the urn was confiscated for no apparent reason, but was later returned to the Marx Memorial Library.

It was not until the grave of Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery was relocated on November 23, 1954 that Eleanor's urn was buried in this new grave site. Her name was also placed on the new tomb, which was inaugurated on March 14, 1956.

Entry in her sister Jenny's confession book

Eleanor signed on March 20, 1865 as follows:

question answer
Your favorite virtue ( Your favorite virtue ) Truthfulness ( truth )
... with man ( ... in man ) Mut ( Courage )
... in the woman ( ... in woman ) [unanswered question]
Your most important trait ( Your chief characteristic ) Curiosity ( Curiosity )
Your conception of happiness ( Your idea of happiness ) Champagne ( champagne )
... of misery ( ... of misery ) Toothache ( The toothache )
Vice that you will excuse the most ( The vice you excuse most The idlers play ( Playing the truant
... that you detest most ( ... you detest most ) Eves 'check books ( Eves' Examiner )
Your dislike ( Your aversion ) cold mutton ( Cold mutton )
Favorite activity ( Favorite occupation ) Gymnastics ( Gymnastics )
Poet ( Poet ) Shakespeare ( Shakespeare )
Prose writer ( prose writer ) Captain Marryat ( Captain Marryat )
Hero ( Hero ) Garibaldi ( Garibaldi )
Hero ( heroine ) Lady Jane Gray ( Lady Jane Gray )
Flower ( flower ) all the flowers ( all flowers )
Color ( Color ) White ( White )
Name ( Names ) Percy, Henry, Edward
Your favorite maxim and motto ( Favorite maxim and motto ) Always forward ( Go a head )


Books (selection)

  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx Aveling: The Factory Hell . Socialist League Office, London 1885
  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx Aveling: The Woman Question . Fouth Thousend. Swan Sonnenschein / Lowrey & Co., London 1887 (Reprint: Die Frauenfrage. The woman question . Verlag für die Frau, Leipzig 1986)
  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx Aveling: Shelley's Socialism. two lectures . London 1888
  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx: The Chicago anarchists. A statement of facts . London 1887 (Reprinted from: To-day, November, 1887)
  • Israel Zangwill / Eleanor Marx: "A doll's house" repaired . London (Reprinted from: "Time", March, 1891)
  • The working class movement in America. By Edward & Eleanor Marx Aveling . 2nd ed. Enl. Sunshine, London 1891 (Social science series 23) Digitized
  • The working class movement in England. by Gertrud Liebknecht . With a foreword by Wilhelm Liebknecht . Wörlein & Comp., Nuremberg 1895
  • Karl Marx: Revolution and Counter - Revolution or Germany in 1848. Edited by Eleanor Marx Aveling. George Allen & Company / Charles Scribners´ sons, London 1896
  • Karl Marx: The Eastern question. A reprint of letters written 1853-1856 dealing with events of the Crimean War. Edited by Eleanor Marx Aveling and Edward Aveling . Sunshine & Co. Ltd., London 1897 digitized
  • The working class movement in England . In: Volks-Lexikon. Reference book for all branches of knowledge with special consideration of workers' legislation, health care, commercial science, social policy. Edited by Emanuel Wurm . Second volume Wörlein & Comp., Nuremberg 1897, p. 1236 ff.
  • Karl Marx: Value, price, and profit. Addressed to working men. Edited by Edward Aveling and Eleanor Marx Aveling . London 1898
  • Karl Marx: Secret diplomatic history of the eighteenth century. Edited by Edward Aveling and Eleanor Marx Aveling . London 1899
  • Karl Marx: The story of the life of Lord Palmerston. Edited by Edward Aveling and Eleanor Marx Aveling . London 1899

Articles (selection)

  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx Aveling: The Labor Movement in America. In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life . (1887), No. 8, pp. 355-362.
  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx Aveling: The Situation of the Working Class in America . In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life . (1887), No. 6, pp. 241-246 and No. 7, pp. 307-313.
  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx Aveling: Shelley as a socialist . In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life . (1888), No. 12, pp. 540-550.
  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx Aveling: The cow boys . In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life. (1889), No. 1, pp. 35-39.
  • Friedrich Engels . In: Socialist monthly . 2nd year, Vienna No. 10 from November 30, 1890
  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx Aveling: The elections in Great Britain . In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life . 1891-1892, 2nd vol. (1892), issue 45, pp. 596-603.
  • Edward Aveling / Eleanor Marx Aveling: Shelley and Socialism . In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life . 1891-1892, 2nd Vol. (1892), Issue 45, pp. 581-588 and Issue 46, pp. 609-618.
  • Bad May Day . In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life . 1893-1894, 2nd vol. (1894), booklet 30, pp. 122-128 and booklet 31, pp. 156-160.
  • As Lujo Brentano quotes . In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life . 1894-1895, Volume 1 (1895), Issue 9, pp. 260-266.
  • Karl Marx - Loose leaves . In: Austrian workers calendar for the year 1895 , pp. 51–54.
  • Laura Lafargue, Eleanor Marx - Aveling: Letters and writings from Karl Marx. In: Die Neue Zeit , XIV. Vol. 1st volume. 1895/96, p. 121. Digitized
  • A letter from the young Marx . In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life . 1897-1898, Volume 1 (1898), Book 1, pp. 4-12.

Translations (selection)

  • Lissagaray : History of the Commune of 1871. Translated from the French of Lissagaray by Eleanor Marx Aveling . Reeves / Turner, London 1886
  • Gustave Flaubert : Madame Bovery. Provincial manners. Translated from the French . Vizetelly & Co., London 1886
  • Henrik Ibsen : An Enemy of Society . Walter Scott Publishing Co., London 1888
  • Henrik Ibsen: The Lady from the Sea . Fisher T. Unwin, London 1890
  • Henrik Ibsen: The Wild Duck: A Drama in Five Acts . WH Baker, Boston 1890
  • Eduard Bernstein : Ferdinand Lassalle as a social reformer. Translated by Eleanor Marx Aveling . Swan Sunshine & Co., London / New York 1893 (Social science series)
  • G. Plechanov : Anarchism and Socialism. Translated by Eleanor Marx Aveling . Twentieth Century Press, London 1895


  • Wilhelm Liebknecht : Eleanor Marx-Aveling . Vorwärts , Berlin, April 5, 1898
  • Wilhelm Liebknecht: Eleanor Marx . In: The true Jacob. Illustrated magazine for satire, humor and entertainment No. 307 from April 26, 1898, p. 2709 digitized
  • Wilhelm Liebknecht: Eleanor Marx . In. Socialist monthly issues . Berlin 1898, Issue 5, pp. 212–217 Digital copy , full text on marxists.org
  • Henry Mayers Hyndman : Eleanor Marx . In: Justice , London April 9, 1898
  • Henry Mayers Hyndman: Further reminiscences . Publisher: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., London 1912 Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling; Chapter VI, page 138
  • Lily Bell: Eleanor Marx Aveling . In: The Labor Leader, April 16, 1898
  • Bob Banner: Eleanor Marx and Lily Bell . In: The Labor Leader, April 23, 1898
  • Bob Banner: Eleanor Marx - Suicide . In: The Labor Leader, April 30, 1898
  • Eduard Bernstein : What drove Eleanor Marx to death . In: Hamburger Echo from July 16 and 17, 1898
  • Eduard Bernstein: Eleanor Marx . In: The new time . Review of intellectual and public life . 1897–1898, 2nd vol. (1898), issue 30, pp. 118–123 digitized
  • Eduard Bernstein: What drove Eleanor Marx to death . In: The new time. Review of intellectual and public life . 1897-1898, 2nd volume (1898), issue 42, pp. 481-491 digitized
  • Mohr and General. Remembering Marx and Engels . Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1964
  • Heinrich Gemkow : Two letters from Eleanor Marx-Aveling to Friedrich Engels about the party conference of the German Social Democracy in Halle in 1890 . In: Journal of History . Berlin 1965, Issue 7, pp. 1194-1205
  • Emile Bottigelli: Seven unpublished documents by Friedrich Engels . In: Friedrich Engels. 1820-1870. Papers discussions documents. Editor: Hans Pelger . Verlag für Literatur und Zeitgeschehen, Hannover 1971, pp. 319–325.
  • Chushichi Tsuzuki: The Life of Eleanor Marx 1855–1898. A socialist tragedy . Oxford 1967
  • Yvonne Kapp : Eleanor Marx. Vol. I. Family Life (1855-1883) . Lawrence and Wishart, London 1972, ISBN 0-85315-248-9
  • Yvonne Kapp: Eleanor Marx. Vol. II. The crowed years (1884-1898) . Lawrence and Wishart, London 1976, ISBN 0-85315-370-1
  • The daughters of Karl Marx. Unpublished letters . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1981, ISBN 3-462-01432-3
  • Chushichi Tsuzuki: Eleanor Marx. Story of her life. 1855-1898 . Colloquium Verlag, Berlin 1981, ISBN 3-7678-0437-9
  • Egon Erwin Kisch : Karl Marx in Karlsbad 3rd edition. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin and Weimar 1983
  • Olga Vorobjowa / Irma Senelnikowa: The daughters of Marx . 4. erg. U. revised Edition Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1984
  • Harald Wessel : Tussy or thirty-two travel letters about the very eventful life of Eleanor Marx - Aveling written between 1973 and 1980 at various scenes in the events in Brighton, Straford, Derby and Manchester in Paris, New York and Scheveningen on Ufenau in Lake Zurich in Leipzig, Halle, Karlovy Vary on the Moselle and Spree in the North Sea regions but mostly on the banks of the Thames addressed to a woman of our day . 4. edit Edition. Verlag für die Frau, Leipzig 1982
  • Olga Vorobjowa, Irma Senelnikowa: The daughters of Marx 4th erg. revised Edition Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1984
  • Klaus Goch: Eleanor Marx (1855–1898) . In: Luise F. Pusch (ed.): Daughters of famous men. Nine biographical portraits . Insel, Frankfurt am Main 1988 (Insel Taschenbuch 979), pp. 275–348
  • Erhard Kiehnbaum: Two unknown documents by Friedrich Engels and Eleanor Marx-Aveling from 1886 . In: Marx-Engels-Jahrbuch 12. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1988, pp. 273-282
  • Ariane Thomalla: "It would be a real shame if you had to give up writing ..." Jenny, Laura and Eleanor Marx . In: Katharina Raabe (ed.): German sisters. Fourteen biographical portraits . Rowohlt, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-87134-300-5 , pp. 214-280
  • Hanna Behrend: Eleanor Marx-Aveling: One of the new women in the wake of the revolution of 1848/49. Your full life and sad death . In: Women in the bourgeois revolution of 1848/49 ed. by Johanna Ludwig, Ilse Nagelschmidt and Susanne Schötz . Berlin 1998, pp. 206-219.
  • Erhard Kiehnbaum: An unknown letter from Eleanor Marx-Aveling . In: MEGA studies 1994/2 . Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-320-01882-5 , pp. 76-80
  • Eva Weissweiler : Tussy Marx. The father's daughter drama . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2002, ISBN 3-462-03139-2
  • Family Marx private. The photo and questionnaire albums of Marx's daughters Laura and Jenny. An annotated facsimile edition . Edited by Izumi Omura, Valerij Fomičev, Rolf Hecker and Shun-ichi Kubo. With an essay by Iring Fetscher , Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-05-004118-8
  • Izumi Omura, Shunichi Kubo, Rolf Hecker, Valerij Formicev: Karl Marx is my father. Karl Marx is my father. A documentation on the origins of Frederick Demuth . Far Eastern Booksells, Tokyo 2011, ISBN 978-4-87394-004-5 .
  • Rachel Holmes: Eleanor Marx. A life . Bloomsbury, 2013 ISBN 978-0-74758-384-4
  • Eva Weissweiler : Lady Liberty: The life of the youngest Marx daughter Eleanor . Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-455-00292-8 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Yvonne Kapp: Eleanor Marx. Vol. I, p. 21.
  2. ^ Yvonne Kapp: Eleanor Marx. Vol. II, p. 15 ff.
  3. Cause: At the beginning of the relationship with Hippolyte Lissagaray he was 34 and Eleanor only 17 years old.
  4. ^ William Morris: Victorian artist and revolutionary
  5. Ursula Köhler-Lutterbeck, Monika Siedentopf: Lexicon of 1000 women. Dietz-Verlag, Bonn 2000, ISBN 3-8012-0276-3 .
  6. Chushichi Tsuzuki: Eleanor Marx. History of her life 1855–1898. Colloquium Verlag, Berlin 1981, ISBN 3-7678-0437-9 , p. 297.
  7. Harald Wessel, Tussy, pp. 341 and 345.
  8. ^ Family Marx private, Fig. 6 and pp. 244–245.
  9. ^ "Key School Examiner" by C. and G. Eves. Often used English textbook.
  10. Eleanor Marx had no access to her father's letters. Therefore she did not know that Friedrich Engels was the author.

Web links

Commons : Eleanor Marx  - Collection of Images