Gertrud Franke-Schievelbein was the oldest daughter born to the well-known sculptor Hermann Schievelbein (Senat der Akademie der Künste) Senate of the Academy of the Arts, on February 26, 1851, in Berlin. She developed a love of art and science as a young child and her favorite outlet was painting. After the death of her father, she attended and graduated from an art school. At the Kullakschen institute she became educated in piano performance and singing by great masters. She went back to studying painting and spent time the studios of Lulvès and Karl Gussow before her marriage to Dr. Johannes Franke, a librarian for the University of Göttingen. Her first appearance as a writer was in 1890. In 1893 she received first place in a writing competition for the University of Dresden for her novel Der Menschenkenner. Franke-Schievelbein and her husband left Göttingen in 1895 for Wiesbaden where he became Director of the Royal National Library in Wiesbaden.