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Anzia Yezierska

(1885 - 1970)

An immigrant from a town near Warsaw, Yezierska grew up on New York's Lower East Side with her father, a talmudic scholar, her mother, who supported the family through menial jobs, and her eight siblings.  She worked at a young age and earned a scholarship to Columbia University's Teacher's College.  In 1913, after teaching for several years, she began to write fiction. She divorced twice, had one daughter and had a romantic relationship with a philosopher John Dewey. In the 1930's, after refusing a lucrative screen contract because of the distance from home block her writing, Yezierska worked for the Works Progress Administration's Writers Project in Manhattan.  In the last decades of her life, she documented the plight of Puerto Rican immigrants in New York.

Sources: Jewish Women's Archive