Here’s to the Schvesters who Lunch!

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Schvesters have lunch with “Rebecca Rubin” at American Girl Place in honor of Illinois’ third annual “Jane Addams Day.”

Excerpted from Tzivi’s Feb ’07 Spotlight in Chicago’s JUF News:

On May 21, 2006, Governor Blagojevich signed HB 5243 making December 10 “Jane Addams Day” in Illinois. The legislation became effective on January 1, so December 10, 2007 will be the first “official” day (in fact, it will be the first day officially commemorating a woman in the entire United States). To prepare for this auspicious occasion, I met with Peter Ascoli, the author of Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sear, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South, to learn more about “the Jewish connection.”

Peter Ascoli Biography

As the book jacket (which shows JR with Booker T. Washington) makes clear, Ascoli’s mammoth 2006 biography focuses primarily on his grandfather’s contributions to African-American history, but feminist threads are woven through-out the text. JR and his wife Gussie support many feminist causes, and when they lived in Washington, D.C. (during World War I) Gussie became “heavily involved in the suffrage movement.”

You will be hearing a great deal more about Jane Addams in the next few months, but for now suffice it to say that JR served as a member of the Hull-House board of directors for over twenty years, contributing significant funds to a full spectrum of activities from underwriting new buildings to paying for new band uniforms. When the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom needed allies in their drive to secure a Nobel Peace Prize for Addams, they turned to JR, who wrote letters to numerous business and academic leaders from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. to James Angell (the president of Yale) personally asking for their support. In due time, Addams became the first American woman to receive the prize, awarded seventy-five years ago on December 10, 1031…

Excerpted from Tzivi’s Dec ’07 Spotlight in Chicago’s JUF News:

Way back in February, I told you that Illinois would celebrate its first annual Jane Addams Day on December 10, and December is now here. According to Gioia Diliberto’s highly-readable account A Useful Woman: The Early Life of Jane Addams: “Of the 19th Ward’s approximately 10,00 voters, 2,500 were Irish, 1,000 were German, 3,000 were Jews, and 2,000 were Italians. Native Americans, Bohemians, and French made up the rest.” In other words, Jews were Jane Addams’ largest group of neighbors.

Hilda Satt Polacheck Memoir

In 1989, University of Chicago musicologist Dena Epstein (now retired) published her mother’s memoir I Came a Stranger: The Story of a Hull-House Girl, a wonderful first-person account of how Jane Addams directly influenced the life of one ordinary Jewish woman.

Learn more about the life and times of Jane Addams at a special program on Saturday December 8 from 10 AM to 1 PM at the Chicago History Museum on Clark Street. The keynote speaker will be Charles J. Masters, author of Governor Henry Horner, Chicago Politics, and The Great Depression. (Horner was the first Jewish governor in the United States.)

Click HERE to read more about “Rebecca Rubin.”  Click HERE to read about American Girl trips to Hull-House in conjunction with their “Rebecca Rubin” roll-out.

Jan Lisa Huttner (aka Tzivi) writes a montly column on Arts & Culture for Chicago’s JUF News, & also serves as a member of the Chicago YIVO Board.  Click HERE to read Jan’s 2009 presentation “The History of Jane Addams Day.”

Photo from Left: Rabbi Batsheva Appel (KAM Isaiah Israel), Roz Lettvin, Suzanne Fraker, Jan Lisa Huttner, Rebecca Rubin, Eileen Kaplan & Elisa Steinberg.

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