Saturday, October 18, 2003

Ohio Moments

Writer, social activist used words as weapon

On Oct. 18, 1889, Fannie Hurst - social activist and one of the highest-paid writers in the country in the 1920s - was born in Hamilton.

She grew up in St. Louis but spent summers in Hamilton with her grandparents. She once said that one of the things she loved best about America was Ohio.

Hurst wrote 17 novels, nine volumes of short stories, three plays and many articles. Several movies were based on her books.

She was preoccupied with social issues, such as equal pay for equal work, the right of women to retain their names after marriage and the relief of oppressed Jews in Eastern Europe.

She became a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt and supported the New Deal, working as chair of a national commission and a committee on workmen's compensation. She also raised money for refugees from Nazi Germany and was a staunch supporter of Israel.

She was known for her acerbic tongue - especially in regards to women's issues. When Justice Arthur Goldberg said in 1962 that it was time to evaluate women on merit and fitness for a job, she replied, "Time, sir! You are a half-century too late."

Hurst died at 78 in 1968.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call (513) 768-8361

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