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Dorothea Mügge (b. 22 January 1896 in Lehe; d. 24 September 1981)


Give Us Books, Give Us Wings

Entrepreneuse in Education and Culture

Film-Aufnahme und Schnitt: Monika B. Beyer

At the age of fifty-two, Thea Mügge summoned the courage to go into business for herself by opening a bookshop in Bremerhaven. At the time, the city was still in ruins due to wartime bombing, and Thea Mügge thus contributed to its reconstruction. The bookshop in the Bremerhaven city centre bears her name to this day.

Dorothea Mügge, known as Thea, was born in Lehe, where her father Hinrich Mügge ran a blacksmith’s and metalworking shop in the Lange Strasse. Her mother Marie, née von Wecheln, cared for the three children. In 1917, Thea Mügge completed training as a bookseller in Neubrandenburg. She subsequently worked in Bremerhaven in the well-known bookshop of Rudolf Petermann and his successor Karl Memminger.

After the war – in 1947 – Thea Mügge obtained a licence from the American military authorities to found the “Buchhandlung Thea Mügge”. The business was built around a lending library stocked by Thea Mügge’s own books. After four years in a barrack, the “Buch- und Kunsthandlung Thea Mügge” (book and art dealership) moved to the reconstructed office building of the “Städtische Sparkasse” in the city centre, and later to a building a few doors down the street. In addition to books, she offered works by artists of the region, including her close friend Paul Ernst Wilke. With a heavy heart, Thea Mügge finally sold her business in 1969. She died on 24 September 1981 at the age of eighty-five.

Beate Borkowski