Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Die Frauenschule (School for Wives)

Women musicians in Augsburg (1591)
Die Frauenschule (School for Wives)

Location: Augsburg, Germany

Opened: 1629

Closed: In early 1930s, or maybe destroyed during wartime bombings?

This peculiar little story was picked up (with some variation) by at least three American newspapers back in 1929: the Spokane Daily Chronicle (November 20) the Reading Eagle (November 9), and the Milwaukee Journal (December 19). Below is the version from the Reading Eagle.

Historic Augsburg

Augsburg, Germany, Nov. 9 (AP).--That a saloon for women only existed as far back as three centuries ago is recalled by the tercentenary held here in the historic tavern, "The Wives' School."

The tavern derives its name from the fact that the wives of the butchers belonging to the Augburg's Meat Market-men's guild met here and conducted what the men derisively called "school."

That is, they gossiped as it is assumed that school children will gossip. That in itself would probably not have made the men sore. What they particularly disliked was that the women tolerated no mere male at this tavern. It was run by and for women.

The favorite drink of the butchers' wives was a red wine they named "lamb's blood."

Although 300 years old, the tavern did not always have the name of "Wives' School." From 1629 to 1621 it was known as "The Golden ABC," so named because the butchers' wives would begin with the first letter of the alphabet and gossip about every fellow citizen until "Z" had been reached.

In those days it was a beer saloon. With the change to a wine tavern in 1651 also came the change in name.

Most of the butchers' wives helped their husbands in the municipal market hall near by.

I have yet to find any contemporary Augsburg travel or tourist site that mentions this place. So I'm inclined to think that it probably didn't survive the Second World War.

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