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Hurst, Fannie


HURST, FANNIE (1889–1968), U.S. novelist. Born in Hamilton, Ohio, she was raised in St. Louis, in an assimilated, middle-class home. After a brief stage career, Fannie became a writer. She gathered material for her early short stories about New York's ordinary people by living in slum areas, attending night courts, and working in sweatshops and department stores. Her first collection of stories, Just Around the Corner (1914), was followed by six other volumes which were translated into many languages, including Hebrew, Russian, and Japanese. Humoresque (1919) contains stories of Jewish life in New York. Fannie's many novels, several of which were made into plays and motion pictures, include Stardust (1921); Lummox (1923); A President Is Born (1928); Back Street (1931), generally considered her best work; Great Laughter (1936); Hallelujah (1944); Anywoman (1950); Family! (1960); and God Must be Sad (1961). These reflect her interest in music and the theater and her vigorous support for women's rights. Despite her upbringing, Hurst became increasingly conscious of her Jewishness. She publicly emphasized her Judaism after the rise of Nazism. From the early 1930s Hurst was a leading figure in several organizations working for social reform, including the New York Urban League. She was president of the Authors' Guild of America, 1936–37. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the State of Israel. Her autobiography, Anatomy of Me, appeared in 1958.

add. bibliography:

W. Graham, "Hurst, Fannie," in: P.E. Hyman and D.D. Moore (eds.), Jewish Women in America, 1 (1997), 662–64; B. Kroeger, Fannie (1969).

[Sol Liptzin]

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