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Eve in the renegade city: elite Jewish women’s philanthropy in Chicago, 1890–1900

Eve in the renegade city: elite Jewish women’s philanthropy in Chicago, 1890–1900
Eve in the renegade city: elite Jewish women’s philanthropy in Chicago, 1890–1900
This thesis examines the philanthropic organisations and projects with which elite Jewish women in Chicago were concerned during the years 1890–1900. It concentrates on the National Council of Jewish Women, which was founded by a group of Chicago women in 1893 after the Jewish Women’s Congress at the World’s Columbian Exposition. The NCJW was this community’s highest-profile philanthropic organisation, bringing them local, national and international attention.

The 1890s were a turbulent decade—politically, socially and economically. Against this backdrop, Chicago’s philanthropists were pioneers of the Progressive Movement. The NCJW showed early interest in Progressivism, but came from a Jewish community with set notions of appropriate roles for women. The NCJW's leaders encouraged philanthropic innovation, but presented themselves themselves very traditionally, as ‘model’ American women. Previous scholarship has emphasised the conservative character of the NCJW, suggesting that it was only different from contemporaries by having a Jewish membership. This thesis will show that this was not the case.

Beginning with an introduction to Chicago and Chicago’s Jewish community, this thesis contextualises these women’s philanthropic work. It then moves on to examine—in greater detail than can be found in existing scholarship—the foundation and early years of the NCJW. Its final two chapters address the other philanthropic organisations and projects with which elite Jewish women were associated, within and outside of the Jewish community, showing that they were intimately involved in Progressive philanthropy.

The philanthropic activities of this group show them to have been far more radically-minded than has generally been thought. Their work with the NCJW brought them influence and acclaim which has been forgotten. This thesis seeks to provide a deeper understanding of this group and their work, placing them within the context of the time and place in which they lived.
Farmer, Hannah
af65f5e7-03c7-4ad6-ad1d-0d8ed165a647
Farmer, Hannah
af65f5e7-03c7-4ad6-ad1d-0d8ed165a647
Schloer, Joachim
bb73c4ae-2ef4-44ba-b889-b319afb40b03
Kushner, Antony
958c42e3-4290-4cc4-9d7e-85c1cdff143b
Brinkmann, Tobias
b4dc0f29-6037-4cb7-be4f-7dbc461c6e6d

(2012) Eve in the renegade city: elite Jewish women’s philanthropy in Chicago, 1890–1900. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 283pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis examines the philanthropic organisations and projects with which elite Jewish women in Chicago were concerned during the years 1890–1900. It concentrates on the National Council of Jewish Women, which was founded by a group of Chicago women in 1893 after the Jewish Women’s Congress at the World’s Columbian Exposition. The NCJW was this community’s highest-profile philanthropic organisation, bringing them local, national and international attention.

The 1890s were a turbulent decade—politically, socially and economically. Against this backdrop, Chicago’s philanthropists were pioneers of the Progressive Movement. The NCJW showed early interest in Progressivism, but came from a Jewish community with set notions of appropriate roles for women. The NCJW's leaders encouraged philanthropic innovation, but presented themselves themselves very traditionally, as ‘model’ American women. Previous scholarship has emphasised the conservative character of the NCJW, suggesting that it was only different from contemporaries by having a Jewish membership. This thesis will show that this was not the case.

Beginning with an introduction to Chicago and Chicago’s Jewish community, this thesis contextualises these women’s philanthropic work. It then moves on to examine—in greater detail than can be found in existing scholarship—the foundation and early years of the NCJW. Its final two chapters address the other philanthropic organisations and projects with which elite Jewish women were associated, within and outside of the Jewish community, showing that they were intimately involved in Progressive philanthropy.

The philanthropic activities of this group show them to have been far more radically-minded than has generally been thought. Their work with the NCJW brought them influence and acclaim which has been forgotten. This thesis seeks to provide a deeper understanding of this group and their work, placing them within the context of the time and place in which they lived.

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Published date: 1 September 2012
Organisations: University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367067
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367067
PURE UUID: 04d40908-b90b-46cc-b03a-c9980f32994d

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Date deposited: 22 Oct 2014 12:04
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 02:04

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Contributors

Author: Hannah Farmer
Thesis advisor: Joachim Schloer
Thesis advisor: Antony Kushner
Thesis advisor: Tobias Brinkmann

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