1880 – 1953
Reina Kate Goldstein, the daughter of Simon and Kate (Mayer) Goldstein, was born in Chicago on February 2, 1880, and lived in the Chicago area her entire life. She became an integral member of the community by devoting her life to organizations that served Chicago’s women.
On September 29, 1902, she married Hugo Hartmann, an employee of the Hartmann Trunk Company. He went on to become a successful businessman and executive of the company. The Hartmanns had three children, Dorothy, James, and Hugo, Jr. Members of the wealthy Reform Jewish community in Chicago, the Hartmanns were active in many Jewish welfare organizations.
In 1917, once Hugo, Jr. was in school, Hartmann became the president of the Mothers Aid of the Chicago Lying-In Hospital and Dispensary organization. Her commitment to Mothers Aid can be traced to her own mother’s involvement in this organization; Kate Goldstein was one of nine charter members when Mothers Aid incorporated in 1906. The organization was dedicated to improving the conditions of women in the obstetrics ward of the Chicago Lying-In Hospital, and succeeded in raising enough funds for lectures, supplies, and an $85,000 annex to the hospital, which was named the Mothers Aid Pavilion. Hartmann remained president from 1917 to 1921, and under her leadership Mothers Aid became one of the largest Jewish women’s organizations in Chicago. After her term as president, Hartmann remained an active member of Mothers Aid and served as its director from 1929 to 1931.
The Chicago Jewish Community Blue Book of 1917–1918 lists Hartmann’s additional affiliations with the Chicago Hebrew Institute Women’s Auxiliary, Ruth Club, Jochannal Lodge, Sinai Temple Sisterhood, the National Council of Jewish Women, as well as the Chicago Women’s Aid and Mothers Aid, in which she was most extensively involved. In 1925–1926, Hartmann served in the civics and philanthropy department of Chicago Women’s Aid, and occupied a number of leadership positions until 1938. Hartmann was also active in the women’s division of Jewish Charities of Chicago.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Hartmann redirected her energy to synagogue organizations and Jewish education, but maintained her dedication to women’s concerns, serving several terms as the president of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. In addition, she was a member of the Department of Synagogue and School Extension Board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the umbrella organization for Reform congregations. In the 1930s, Hartmann was also involved in Chicago’s Board of Jewish Education.
On May 8, 1953, at age seventy-three, Reina Hartmann died in her home, in Highland Park, Illinois. Most of her adult life was devoted to improving the lives of Jewish women in the Chicago area. The greatest evidence of her enduring work is that women continue to give birth at the Mothers Aid Pavilion, and Jewish voluntarism continues to thrive in Chicago eighty years after she began her service to the community.
Hartman, Reina. Archives. Chicago Jewish Historical Society; Meites, Hyman L. History of the Jews of Chicago (1924); Obituary. Chicago Tribune, May 11, 1953; Who’s Who in Chicago (1931): 426; WWIAJ (1938): 420; WWWIA 6.