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 Fannie Hurst

Fannie Hurst

Birth
Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio, USA
Death 23 Feb 1968 (aged 82)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Affton, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Plot Section I, Lot 161
Memorial ID 22806 · View Source
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American Novelist and Social Activist. She is probably best known for her novels "Stardust: The Story of an American Girl" (1921), "Lummox" (1923), "A President is Born" (1928), "Back Street" (1931), and "Imitation of Life" (1933). She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri as an only child of a well-to-do Jewish family. Her father, a Bavarian immigrant, was a successful shoe manufacturer who came to St. Louis from Mississippi. While in high school she began writing and submitting stories to popular national magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and to a St. Louis weekly publication called Reedy's Mirror. Her first literary success came with the publication of a story entitled "Ain't Life Wonderful" by Reedy's Mirror, while she was in college. In 1909, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, and travelled to New York City in 1910 under the pretense of attending Columbia University to pursue a graduate degree, which she never did. Instead, she took on odd jobs while living there, working as a nursemaid, waitress, sales clerk and factory worker in order to study people. She also attended night court, poked around in tenement districts and landed small bit roles in stage productions. In 1912, The Saturday Evening Post bought her short story "Power and Horse Power," earning her $30. In 1915, she secretly married Russian pianist Jacque Danielson, but did not announce it publicly until 1920. All the while, she maintained her maiden name and the couple maintained separate residences. By 1925, with five collections of short stories and two novels under her belt, she was one the highest paid writers in the United States. Her work continued to focus on raising social awareness. Although criticized for her sentimental subjects and style, she was nevertheless recognized as a master of sympathetic and accessible prose. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, she was a frequent White House visitor. As a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, she became involved in the politics of President Roosevelt's New Deal program. She was appointed chair of the National Housing Commission in 1936 through 1937 and member of the Committee on Workmen's Compensation in 1940 through 1941. She was also involved with the Friendly Visitors, a group of women who volunteered in a New York women's prison. During World War II, she raised funds to help Jewish refugees escape from Nazi Germany. In 1958, the same year her autobiography "Anatomy of Me: A Wonderer in Search of Herself" was published, she took to television with her own public affairs program called 'Showcase' where she interviewed public figures and expressed opinions on social issues. It became a venue for one of the earliest well-rounded discussions of homosexuality on which gay men spoke for themselves. She canceled the show after one year, saying that the amount of time used to produce the show "gave me a guilt feeling." During her lifetime, she wrote a total of eight story collections and eighteen novels, which were turned into nearly 30 movies between 1918 and 1961. Her books have been translated into eighteen languages and reissued in many paperback editions.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 25 Jun 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22806
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Fannie Hurst (19 Oct 1885–23 Feb 1968), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22806, citing New Mount Sinai Cemetery & Mausoleum, Affton, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .