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Introduction

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, 1858 - 1942

"Who is this new woman?...She is the woman who dares to go into the world and do what her convictions demand. She is the woman who stays at home in the smallest, narrowest circle, foregoing all the world may offer to her, if there her duty lies..."

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon dared to go out into the world and establish the first national association of Jewish women. A superb organizer, Solomon emphasized unity, and orchestrated agreements among Jewish, gentile, and government groups on local, national, and international levels.

Solomon was not only the celebrated founder of the National Council of Jewish Women, but also an important force for reform in turn-of-the-century Chicago. Her work grew out of her sense that "woman's sphere is the whole wide world." But at the same time she believed a woman's primary responsibility was to her family. For Solomon, there was no more powerful role than that of the Jewish mother.

Above all, Solomon's commitment and energy were legendary. As one sister quipped, "We know that it is useless to attempt to stop you in your mad career, that ere the winter has passed, the only field of your activity will be a spot marked by a marble slab bearing the inscription, 'Gone to another meeting. Locality uncertain. Return indefinite!'"

Notes: 
  1. "Who is this new woman..." quote from Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, A Sheaf of Leaves (Chicago: private printing, 1911) 146.
  2. "women's sphere is the whole wide world..." quote from "American Jewish Women in 1890 and 1920: An Interview with Mrs. Hannah G.Solomon." American Hebrew, April 23, 1920: 748-9.
  3. "We know that it is useless..." quoted by Solomon in Sheaf 86.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Hannah Greenebaum Solomon - Introduction." (Viewed on April 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/node/10533/media>.