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Elisabeth Frieda Amélie Sophie Freiin von Richthofen (October 8, 1874 - December 22, 1973) was a German trade inspector and social scientist. She is known as one of the first social scientists in Germany, wife of the economist Edgar Jaffé (1866-1921) and mistress of the sociologists and economists Max and Alfred Weber, whose partner she became after the death of her husband. Her sister Frieda von Richthofen was the wife of the British writer D. H. Lawrence. Both women were "rebels, beautiful and passionate, one committed to the intellect, [Else], the other to Eros [Frieda]."  Marianne Weber forgave her husband Max Weber's extra-marital ‘enchantments’, especially with Else Jaffé, his first female student (and Germany’s first female factory inspector), with whom Marianne, in another three-way relationship, also became intimate.
Else von Richthofen was the eldest of three daughters of Friedrich Ernst Emil Ludwig Freiherr Praetorius von Richthofen (1844-1915), an engineer and construction inspector in the imperial army of the German Reich, and his wife, Anna Elise Lydia Marquier (1851-1930), who came from the Heinsdorf line of the Richthofen family. The noble family was not particularly wealthy: "The escapades of the father also brought the family around the last rest. Friedrich von Richthofen plays and is constantly involved in women's stories, in 1886 with predictably high follow-up costs: one of his mistresses, Selma, has become pregnant, aliments were due for the extramarital Richthofen son".  Freiin Else received the then usual schooling for girls of her stand. She was first taught by French nuns in Metz from about 1881 and from September 1889 she attended the girls' boarding house of the Blaß sisters in Littenweiler near Freiburg. She then completed the teacher's examination in Trier. After a short period of work as a teacher in Metz and later in Freiburg, she took part in courses at the University of Freiburg as a guest listener from autumn 1895. The reason was that shortly before that the provisions for teacher training had been somewhat relaxed and the possibility of qualifying by an additional examination was granted.  When Max Weber, at whom she listened to lectures, went to the University of Heidelberg in 1897, Else von Richthofen followed him and attended the courses from 1897 to 1898 as a "listener" in Heidelberg. She continued her studies in Berlin in autumn 1898, still as a mere "listener". Else von Richthofen came into contact with many important women of the women's movement. These included Alice Salomon, Helene Simon and Helene Lange. In 1900 she received her doctorate in economics from Max Weber with the dissertation On the Historical Changes in the Position of authoritarian Parties on The Protection of Workers and the Motives of These Changes and began working as a Baden factory inspector in Karlsruhe in 1900.  Her friend Alice Salomon reported on the main tasks of the trade inspector: "In addition to the companies with exclusive use of female workers, e.g. the clothing shops in the broadest sense, which have not been visited since then, she has also been entrusted with the supervision of the cigar factories and the procurement of written works, in particular those relating to the examination of the working regulations relating to correspondence [...] In recent times, it has also been a major supporter of male civil servants by their intelligent intervention, so that in the industries concerned it has also brought the imperfect organised workers into circulation".  In 1902, she married Edgar Jaffé, who later became known as an economist and politician. Jaffé later acquired the Archive of Social Sciences and Social Policy, whose editors became, alongside him, Eerner Sombart and Max Weber. During their marriage, Else Jaffé gave birth to four children: Friedrich "Friedel" (1903-1995), who named himself Friedel Jeffrey after emigration to the U.S.A., Marianne (1905-1991), Peter (1907-1915) and Hans (1909-1977). The husband died on 29 April 1921 in a Munich hospital, he had never really recovered from the assassination of Kurt Eisner and the resignation of the cabinet in which he was responsible as finance minister. In Else Jaffé's circle of acquaintances moved numerous intellectuals and writers, for example the sociologists and economists Max and Alfred Weber, Otto Gross, an early follower of Sigmund Freud, the writer Fanny Reventlow. She had an affair with otto-poison-addicted Otto Gross, from which her third child Peter (1907-1915) was born. Her husband selflessly handed over the surname to the extramarital child. In his relationship with Otto Gross, Else Jaffé's greatest rival was not Otto Gross's wife, "but her own sister Frieda ... With it there were dramatic scenes of jealousy".  From the winter of 1909/1910 she had a relationship with Alfred Weber, separated from Edgar Jaffé in 1911 and moved to Munich. After Jaffé's death, she moved to Heidelberg in 1925, where she lived together with Alfred Weber at Bachstraße 24 until his death in 1958. From 1924 she became involved in the reform-educational land education home School on the Sea on the North Sea island of Juist, where she formed the board of trustees of the Foundation Schule am Meer together with school founder Martin Luserke, Paul Reiner, Rudolf Aeschlimann, Alfred Hess and Fritz Hafner.  Since 1895, she formed a close friendship with Max Weber and his wife Marianne, which was only tarnished between 1910 and 1915 because of their relationship with Alfred. Max Weber was the godfather of his son Peter, whose godmother was the actress Claere Schmid. When Max Weber taught in Munich in the last years of his life, she also had an intimate love affair with him since autumn 1918. Else Jaffé had never said a single word about her love affair with Max Weber for more than five decades, so as not to betray his wife and her friend beyond death. When Max Weber fell seriously ill, he died on June 14, 1920, his wife and his mistress cared for him together. The friendship between Else and Marianne Weber remained until Marianne Weber's death in 1954.
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