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ASSING, LUDMILLA:

German authoress; born in Hamburg Feb. 22, 1821; died March 25, 1880, in Florence, Italy. She was the daughter of Dr. David Assing and Rosa Maria Assing, sister of Varnhagen von Ense. After the death of her parents she removed to Berlin to reside with her uncle Varnhagen. While in his house she formed theacquaintance of several noted men and women of that time, among whom were Alexander von Humboldt, Prince Pückler-Muskau, Bettina von Arnim, and many others. In 1861 she took up her residence in Florence, where she passed the rest of her life. She married a lieutenant of the Italian army, Cavaliere Grimelli, from whom she was divorced two years later (1875). Ludmilla founded in Florence a public school, in which instruction in German was compulsory. Toward the close of her life she became afflicted with brain trouble, from which she never recovered, her death occurring in the insane asylum of San Bonifazio, Florence.

As a writer, Ludmilla Assing belonged to the school of Varnhagen. Her literary activity was chiefly directed toward biography. She translated from the Italian Mazzini's works (Hamburg, 1868, 2 vols.), and the works of Piero Cironi. She wrote also in Italian. The posthumous works of her uncle were edited by her, and for this she was sentenced, in 1863, to eight months', and again, in 1864, to two years', imprisonment by the Prussian government for disrespect to the king and queen, because the works of Varnhagen that were published under her direction disclosed some scandals of the court. As she was residing in Florence at that time, the intended punishment did not affect her. She was pardoned, however, in 1866, but she preferred, nevertheless, to remain in Italy. Her biographical works include the lives of: "Gräfin Elise von Ahlefeldt," Berlin, 1857; "Sophie von La Roche, die Freundin Wieland's," Berlin, 1859; "Fürst Hermann Pückler-Muskau," Hamburg, 1868, 2 vols.; "Piero Cironi, ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Revolution in Italien," Leipsic, 1867; "Biographische Porträts," Leipsic, 1871. She published in Italian: "Vita di Piero Cironi," Prato, 1865; "La Posizione Sociale della Donna," Milan, 1866; "In Memoria di Giovanni Grilenzoni," Genoa, 1868.

Bibliography:
  • Bornmüller, Biographisches Lexicon, i. 29;
  • Brockhaus, Conversations-Lexicon, ii. 81;
  • Larousse, Dictionnaire, 2d supplement, xvii. 376;
  • G. Vapereau, Dict. des Contemporains, p. 78;
  • Meyer, Konversations-Lexicon, ii. 15.
S. W. S.
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