It’s the birthday of the novelist and peace activist Baroness Bertha von Suttner (books by this author), born in Prague (1843). Bertha was fluent in several languages, and traveled all over Europe. When she was 33 she became the secretary to the industrialist Alfred Nobel.
Bertha was a peace activist, and had written a wildly popular novel that advanced the cause called Die Waffen nieder, or Lay Down Your Arms (1889). Alfred had made his fortune as the inventor of dynamite and later through the development of weapons. It was her influence on Nobel that convinced him to leave money in his will for the creation of what is now the Nobel Peace Prize. Nobel died in 1896, and the first Nobel Prize was given in 1901. In 1905, Bertha von Suttner became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize that she had helped inspire.