Author Side Raised and educated in St. Louis, author Fannie Hurst (1885-1968) was born in Hamilton at 918 Central Avenue, the home of her maternal grandparents. She was the daughter of Rose Koppel and Samuel Hurst. Already a writer as a student at Washington University (Class of 1909), Fannie moved to New York in 1910 to begin her career. Success came after repeated rejection. Stories for popular magazines brought her attention in the mid-1910s; by the mid-1920s she had become a best-selling, highly-regarded, and well-paid author. Between 1912 and 1964, Hurst wrote 18 novels, eight short story collections, and many other pieces. Hurst's short story "Humoresque" (1919) and the novels Back Street (1931) and Imitation of Life (1933) were three of 32 films based on her writings. The film adaption of Imitation of Life received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture in 1934. (Continued on other side)
Humanitarian and Advocate Side
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Hurst married Russian émigré pianist Jacques S. Danielson (1875-1952) in 1915. The couple maintained separate households and did not reveal the marriage until 1920, sparking controversy. A member of the feminist groups Heterodoxy and the Lucy Stone League, Hurst kept her maiden name. She used her fame on behalf of many causes, including
women's rights and civil rights, and help for those escaping Nazi Germany. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration appointed her to serve on commissions for workers' rights. Returning to Hamilton with her mother for visits, Fannie called it her "summer palace" and wrote of the city in her autobiography, Anatomy of Me (1958). In 1938, Hamilton residents Homer and Ethelyne Gard hosted Hurst at their home at 133 South D Street, and she said of the city "I was born here, I belong here."