Louise Otto was born in Meißen as daughter to a law court director and was privately educated. Both
parents died of TB in quick succession in 1834/35, however, and all four daughters were cared for by
Higher education was closed to females but, with the benefit of a legacy from her parents' estate, she
devoted herself to private study, writing and poetry. Her first poem, Die Klöpplerinnen,
(The Laceworkers), on the plight of economically oppressed women workers was published in a Leipzig
newspaper in 1840.
She published her first novel, Ludwig der Kellner, in 1843 and began an association with the social
reformer, Robert Blum, with whom she shared common values publishing critical social studies on the
restrictions on work opportunities for, and the representation of, women.
Her novel, Schloß und Fabrik, (Castle and Factory) dealing with industrial poverty of women, was
prohibited by the censors until revised by the author. After publication in 1847 of her poetry
collection, Lieder eines deutschen Mädchens, (Songs of a German Girl), she developed ideas on social
and legal equality of the sexes leading to her founding a women's movement and newspaper in 1849
but which was banned in the following year. She was also active in writing on music and the theatre.
She married the activist of the 1848 revolution, August Peters, in 1858 after he had been released
from prison. They, together, produced a newspaper with a view to social improvement but August died
She became a founder member of the Leipzig Women's Society which shortly thereafter was launched
nationally with membership restricted to women. Its purpose was to campaign for education, employment
and university entrance for women; topics for which Louise campaigned until her death 30 years later.