Charlotte Garrigue-Masaryková


Charlotte Garrigue-Masaryková, wife of the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Originally an American from New York, she learned perfect Czech. In Prague, she joined numerous women’s associations and fought for women’s equal rights. In this direction, she significantly influenced her husband’s decisions. Being the first “First Lady” in Czech history, she did not enjoy this position much due to illness. Family events during World War I had a negative impact on her health, when Masaryk’s son Herbert died, and Masaryk and his daughter Olga emigrated. She herself faced police harassment and financial hardships. After Masaryk was elected president, she stayed alternately in a sanatorium and the countryside residence assigned to the head of state. Nevertheless, she appeared in public several times, for example at a gymnastic mass festival in 1920, where she was greeted with enthusiastic applause. She died 13 May 1923 at the age of seventy-two. Even before that, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk paid tribute to her: “Charlie, thank you for everything you’ve done for me! I know and I’m telling you that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I’ve achieved and I wouldn’t have evolved the way I did.”