Friedrich Fröbel, founder of the Kindergarten, was assisted immensely by Baroness Bertha von Marenholtz Bülow. Here are some excerpts from "The Life of the Baroness von Marenholtz Bülow by her niece Baroness von Bülow Wendhausen. NY, William Beverley Harison, 1901: (this book was translated from the German original)

von Bülow ancestry

The blood of a long chain of ancestors, who nearly all stood on the highest level of culture of their day, cannot, indeed, be without influence on their descendants, morally and physically. Therefore it will not be without interest if I give the pedigree of our family, and a short history of my aunt's immediate relations.

The family von Bülow is a very ancient one, belonging to the Abotrites (Mecklenburg). The word "Bülow" (bueol) signifies in the Wendish tongue: "staff of the commander," and in the Abotrite: "coin"; from this we understand that the bearers of the name often led the army and belonged to the landed gentry. We learn from the old Bülow chronicle that in the 14th century the family possessed an enormous property in Mecklenburg. The crest of the family shows, an a dark-blue background, fourteen golden coins or balls. According to another tradition they are said to be the eggs of the bird Pirol (yellow thrush), so-called because of its cry "Buelow, Buelow." It stands with a ring in its beak above the helmet over the crest. The motto is; " All Bülows are honest." The first who called himself Herr von Bülow was Gottfried III. This Herr von Bülow lived in the year 1154. His ancestors called themselves, after the old custom, Gottfried I and Gottfried II. Very characteristic is the epitaph of a certain Heinrich von Bülow in the old von Bülow chapel at Doberan, of the 14th century:

" Wick Duefel, wick, wick vid van mih--
Ik scheer mi nich cen Hahr um di
Ik buen en Mecklenboergschen Edelmann
Wat geit di Duefel min Supen an?
Ik sup mit mien Herrn Jesu Christ,
Wenn Du Duefel ewig doesten muest,
Un drink mit em soet Kolleschall,
Wenn du Sitzt in der Hoellenquahl
Drum rahd ik, wick loop, ruenn und gah."

"Fly devil, fly; fly far from me,
I do not care a straw for thee!
Of Mecklenburg I am a Peer;
So why at my drink should devils jeer?
My Lord Jesus Christ is drinking with me
Eternally, devil, thou thirsty shalt be!
With Him I am drinking cold sweet wine,
Whilst thou sitt'st in that Hellfire of thine.
So fly, I adjure thee, fly, hurry away
Else, by the deuce, I will thee slay."

The chapel at Doberan is in the cathedral at Schwerin, and is a great monument to the family. It was restored by the late, never to be forgotten, Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II. Among the daughters of the family von Bülow, one became the grandmother of the Swedish king, the famous Gustav Adolph. Irmgard von Bülow married a certain Knutsen of Lindholm. Her daughter, Margarete, married King Gustav I of Sweden, 1536. His sons were John of Sweden and Charles IX, born 1550. A son of the latter was the famous Gustav Adolph of Sweden who fell at Lützen 1632. In the course of time the family spread to such an extent that the proverb said, "Bülows as the sand of the sea." It then split up into different branches which mostly took the names of their properties: Wedendorf, Potiemse, Gross-Simmern, Radum, Wischendorf, Zibuehl, Garto Gato, Plueskow. We, (Baronesses Bertha von Marenholtz Bülow and von Bülow Wendhausen) belong to the Radum branch; its founder was called Dankwart.

family of Bertha von Bülow

Hardnack Heidenreich von Bülow died 1751, as Danish Major-general. 2nd wife: Louise, daughter of Joachim von Stisser, Frhr von Wendhausen. Died 1766.<.p>

Their son: Karl Friedrich Christain von Bülow(30 Sep 1740 - 1 July 1804) was Councillor of the ducal treasury. 2nd wife: Sophie Regine Wilhelmine (26 Feb 1751 - 10 Jan 1801) daughter of Brunswich Councillor and Danish Adviser.

Their son: Heinrich Christain Georg Friedrich von Bülow. (25 March 1772 - 10 Aug 1840) Prussian Councillor, afterwards Director, when President of the Brunswich Chamber, with the title Excellency, Lord of Bueblingen. In 1801 he married Henriette (7 Jan 1779 - 26 Aug 1842) daughter of the Count Wartensleben of Saatzke, near Wittstock (6 June 1745 - 5 May 1803) and Louise Charlotte (21 Dec 1756 - 10 June 1831) daughter of the General voln Wacknitz.

Their daughter BERTHA MARIA was born 5 March 1810, at Brunswick and died 9 Jan 1893, in Dresden. Bertha married Sept. 23, 1830, Wilhelm Reichsfreiherr von Marenholtz (15 Jan 1789 - 1 Feb 1865) of Gross Schwuelper, Warxbuettel, etc. (Hannover). He was Captain of the Castle (Schlosshauptmann) then Principal Marshal (with the title of "Excellency") of the Prince's household (Oberhofmarshall) at Brunswick, and afterwards Privy Councillor (Wirklicher Geheimrath) at Hannover.

(Bertha was a good choice for Wilhelm von Marenholtz; she was well doweried and comfortable in court. She was entitled to the title 'Excellency' twice - as a von Bülow and also as wife of the Privy Counselor. The origins of the von Marenholtz family go back to 873. See the origin of the Barons of Germany in the Freiherr Taschenbuch from Perthes Gotha, 1924.

Bertha Marie von Marenholtz Bülow lost her only child, Alfred, when he was just 21. She has no direct descendents but was stepmother to Wilhelm von Marenholtz's five children from his prior two wives - Marguerite von Marenholtz).

recollections of the death of Friedrich Fröbel

The year 1852 was a particularly sad one for Baroness von Marenholz Bülow. In March her beloved step-daughter Sophie died, and she herself, very ailing, stayed in Pillnitz, near Dresden, with her son Alfred and a niece Charlotte von Marenholtz [of Dieckhorst]. Then the news came that on the 21st of June, at half past six in the evening, Friedrich Fröbel after a short illness, had departed this life.

In her "Reminiscences:" she writes -

"It seemed in the first moments as if everything were falling together, and the thousands of unuttered questions which we had still to ask could never be answered."

Herself still weak and ill, she went to Liebenstein on the 20th of July, 1852, and her first words to Middendorf were: "What will ever become of the Cause?" and he answered: "A truth never will be lost."

All that Middendorf told her of Fröbel's death and his funeral must be read in her "Reminiscences." Nothing more touching and at the same time more elevating can be imagined.

"As a child, Friedrich Fröbel, the friend of children and the apostle of child-happiness, fell asleep. Without a struggle and without pain ended a life which never for a moment had had an egotistical thought but which had been entirely dedication to mankind and childhood,"

"Even in death," Middendorf told her, "no trace of pain was to be seen on Fröbel's face. A holy earnestness and inward cheerfulness shone from it. It was as if his gaze had turned inwards and had only left a sweet and happy smile. The countenance showed an extraordinary tenderness; the lips were slightly opened as if the mouth wanted to speak of the secrets of the other world: "I now see in light, what I have seen indistinctly till now. Believe and follow the truth, it guides you to freedom and to bliss," and softly she added, once more, "Thus I, too, should wish to die."


The teachers of the Fröbelstiftung often came in the evening, and my aunt used to discuss with them, especially with Frau Weiss, Frl. Braeter and Herr Thieme, the affairs of the Institute and its instruction. How very patiently used she to consider all their wishes, and to listen to their views, entering thoroughly into all the small particulars! She liked to take into consideration the various opinions of all these good and worthy people, who devoted all their powers to the service of the "Cause". She was so just towards all who dedicated their work and efforts to the Seminary, and was always impersonal in everything.

How often was she heard to say to the other ladies in the meetings: "They do their duty, this must be remembered and recognized. Whether we like them personally is quite outside the question." She always refused to listen to all gossip. On such occasions, she drew herself up with dignity and said: "Who says that?" If the name was given, she used to make sure that the person was really informed of the truth. If the name was not forthcoming, she used to say: "I never listen to the gossip of the town. The opinion of those who will not come forward with their names is quite worthless to me." When she became annoyed, if her meaning was not quite understood, she used to say: "But, dearest," and if something happened of which she did not approve, she said: "One does not do that."

her defense of the "Cause"

In the course of those long years I could not help seeing clearly how often the Fröbel cause was injured by people who did not know, or who were merely egotistic, and how often my aunt had to defend it against them. She conducted the defense on such occasions as something natural and evitable, and, of course, could not herself feel any personal animosity towards such persons. "What do these people concern me? It is a question of the 'Cause' only." But in the first years especially, she had been annoyed by such attacks, though in the course of time she appeared to forget these occurrences, and, if one of those people happened to be mentioned, she used merely to say: "He once wished this or that, unfortunately. It did great damage to the 'Cause.' " Or, "Did not he once wish to --?"etc. Then, with a certain half-astonished, half-indignant expression, she said, "The sheep's heads!" (The one strong expression I ever heard her use.)

As, her whole life long, she had always received with open arms all who wished to serve the "Cause," and presupposed good intentions until the most complete evidence to the contrary, so, on the other hand, she absolutely ignored those "traitors" with whom she had finished and seemed to wipe them from her memory. She was far too large-minded, and had too little time, to concern herself with the people's shortcomings, and was never known to bear a grudge. The constant "cribbing" from her writings was always a source of no very pleasant surprise to her, and I trembled when new pamphlets concerning the Fröbel method appeared, for at that time my aunt still read much of that sort of literature herself. In the first place, there were those, who, not knowing much about the subject themselves, copied her books, but acknowledged the source. There were others, who were not so honest, who also copied word for word, but forgot the acknowledgment. In the last place, there were those who had read my aunt's writings, but suddenly imagined that they themselves had once thought precisely that same thing. Unfortunately, these productions could not be regarded on the whole as clearly representing Fröbel's ideas, and hence could not assist much towards their recognition. It was some comfort to me when my aunt began to leave most of these, "phenomena of the day," unread.

That many claims were made on my aunt's purse, on all sides, may easily be imagined. She gave as much as she could, but she was not rich. Through peculiar circumstances, she was no longer in receipt of the largest share of the fortune inherited from her parents. She lived on her dowry, and, as is well known in the old families, where primogeniture prevails, this is no very large sum, even for the widow of the head of the family.

funeral of Baroness Bertha von Marenholtz Bülow

That morning took leave of all that was left of her on this earth, but when the coffin was going to be soldered Gebhard called me at my request. Once more I kissed the cold--oh! so cold--forehead, and then placed the lid of the coffin myself over her. When all the many people were assembled, and I heard the ;many voices in the distance, my cousin Gebhard led me to the coffin now closed, and Archdeacon Dr. Schmidt delivered the funeral oration on the text chosen by me: "God is love, he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and god in him." At the end of his oration, Dr. Schmidt, in the names of the Allgemeine Erziehungs Verein, and as its President, laid a laurel wreath with reverent words of thanks at the foot of the coffin. then, our Thieme spoke in the most touching, affecting manner on Froebel's words: "Come, let us live for our Children," and, in the name of the teachers of the Froebelstiftung, he placed a laurel wreath on the coffin. Our Kindergartners and pupils sang with voices choked with tears: "Let me go, so that I may see Jesus." Gebhard led me away, whilst the chanting of the chorus of men accompanied the coffin down stairs, and in the long, long procession of the pupils, the carriages full of mourners, the hearse with the coffin, and the special carriages conveying only the palms and flowers, we brought her to the Annenkirchhof, close by.

The faithful Kindergartners of Dresden had wished to carry their great mistress to the grave themselves, but the coffin was far too heavy. So they walked by the side and carried the bands of crepe which hung down from it. Between Gebhard and Willi, I followed the coffin to the grave. The sides of the grave were covered with green branches of pine, and we let her down as into a green bed. An ice-cold wind pierced us all, and I saw them well, the thousands of tears which were shed, and all those who wished once more to look down into the green bed. I looked down again, and we lowered the wreaths from Hannover and Schwuelper on to the coffin; but weep, I could not. When they led me away, and I looked back once more--behind the grave the evening red softly faded away, but round us it became the same dark and cold.

Come, let us live with and for our children
Friedrich Fröbel 1782 -1852

Kindergarten - Fröbel blocks - Fröbel gifts
influence on Alfred Adler - Frank Lloyd Wright
Friedrich Fröbel quotes - ancestors - relatives
Baroness von Marenholtz Bülow reminiscences - her life

Copyright © 1997