On 14 September 1912, Dr. Adolf Reinach wed Dr. Anna Stettenheimer in Mainz, Germany.
Anna was a brilliant, well-educated, kind woman. In 1899, she was one of three female students of the newly founded Stuttgart Mädchengymnasium, graduating with a high school diploma in 1904. In that same year, by royal decree, women were granted the right to regular enrolment at University of Tübingen, and Anna seized the opportunity choosing the field of medicine. Shortly after she changed fields to physics, and earned her doctorate in 1907 with a thesis on the spectral lines in magnetic fields in atomic physics, titled “Eine absolute Messung des Zeemannphänomens”. It is interesting to note that her work in physics wasn’t without influence on her future husband’s thinking and research. In 1911 and 1912, she taught at the Stuttgart Mädchengymnasium, as head teacher for the natural sciences (Oberlehrin für Naturwissenschaften) until she married Adolf. After their nuptials, Anna resigned from teaching and while she did take on traditional housewife duties she regularly attended her husband’s lectures and actively engaged with the students.
In Edith Stein’s unfinished autobiography, she describes Anna as tall and slender, with graceful movements like a doe, and a charming Suabian dialect. She and Anna became very dear friends over time, and especially in the wake of Reinach’s death in 1917. Stein speaks of many warm and happy memories in their home, and at one point tells of a sweet and funny story (dating around 1913) where she was walking up to the Reinach’s home for a visit, Anna just a few steps ahead of her:
Only years later did she tell me something I had not even noticed at the time: Reinach had been standing at the window on the floor above, watching her approach. She had called up to him softly: ‘Adole, Büble, Herzle!’ He made frantic motions to her to desist as he saw me coming behind her; then, when she came upstairs, he had reproached her, asking how she could humiliate him so in the presence of one of his students. (p. 280)
While Anna and Adolf were no doubt always proper and professional in front of students and colleagues, the impression you get from the stories of Stein is that these two were very deeply in love and a good match in intellect, wit and humour.
For more on Anna Reinach, see:
“Adolf und Anne Reinach, Edith Steins Mentoren im Studium und auf dem Glaubensweg” by Beate Beckmann-Zöller in Phenomenology 2005. Volume 4: Selected essays from Northern Europe, Part 1., Hans Rainer Sepp & Ion Copoeru, eds., Zeta Books: 2007.