The Fannie Hurst Papers.
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Biographical / Historical Note

Fannie Hurst was an American novelist who was also very prominent in philanthropic and civic affairs. Raised in St. Louis, she received her B.A. from Washington University in 1909, and then went to New York to do graduate work at Columbia University. Hurst began writing short stories for popular magazines in 1914, and went on to produce many best-selling novels, the best known of which are Back Street (1931), and Imitation of Life (1933). Many of her novels were made into films, and she herself wrote 12 filmscripts, including “Humoresque” and “Symphony of Six Million.” Hurst was also a frequent contributor to magazines and regularly appeared on radio and television programs.

Hurst was an active philanthropist and leader in civic affairs. She served on many boards and committees, particularly during Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. She was chairman of the National Housing Commission (1936-1937), a member of the National Committee to The Works Progress Administration (1940-1941), and, later, a delegate to the World Health Organization Assembly (1952). Upon Hurst's death a large part of her estate came in a bequest to Washington University, a portion of which was used to create the Hurst Professorship in the Department of English for visiting writers.