Fannie Hurst

Fannie Hurst

Fannie Hurst (October 18, 1889 – February 23, 1968) spent her earlier years studying people in order to be a great writer, and it paid off. Her writings were infused with political and personal issues that put her in the spotlight and gave her the courage to speak out on controversial matters.

Starting her career off, she contributed to the Saturday Evening Post, the Century magazine and Cosmopolitan. Hurst’s novels and short stories were translated into many languages and adapted into movies from which she made a lot of money.

Early life and marriage

Hurst grew up in Ohio, an only child of Jewish parents with German heritage. After her sister died young of diphtheria, Hurst’s parents made sure to provide her with many opportunities to encourage her talents and hobbies. She studied at Washington University after and graduating in 1909, she worked many odd-jobs such as in a shoe factory, as a waitress, a salesperson and an actor. Married to a Russian emigre named Jacques Danielson who died young, Hurst remained childless.

Imitation of Life

Hurst spoke openly and did not think of repercussions, only of those she could help with her words. Her concerns for human rights spanned across class, race and gender, religious orientation, etc.. Her best known work is Imitation of Life, which was twice adapted to film. In addition, she earned a great deal of money from her writing, becoming one of the most highly paid and sought after female authors of the 1920s and 1930s.

fannie hurst at her desk

You might also like: Conscious Quotes by Fannie Hurst

Famous friends and social activism

Her work became known and praised by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky whom she visited. Her literary connections expanded during the Harlem Renaissance as a member of the Urban League, working with other authors like Zora Neale Hurston.

Hurst worked in the activist field as well, advocating and raising money for the relief of Jewish people in Eastern Europe, refugees from Nazi Germany and on the boards of the Committee on Workman’s Compensation (1940) and the National Housing Commission (1936-1937).

More about Fannie Hurst on this site

Major Works

Biographies about Fannie Hurst

More Information

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