Fanny Goldstein

Fanny Goldstein’s belief in the importance of ethnic and immigrant pride led to her creation of National Jewish Book Week. Goldstein studied at Simmons College, Boston University and Harvard before becoming a librarian at the Boston Public Library. Working with immigrant children there, she became convinced that understanding and taking pride in one’s own culture was as important to success as knowledge of American culture and job skills. In 1914, she organized the Saturday Evening Girls Club, where immigrant girls learned about their own and each other’s ethnic backgrounds. The group’s success spurred Goldstein to publish collections of ethnic literature, create library exhibitions on immigrant cultures, and create festivals like Negro History Week, Jewish Music Month, and Brotherhood Week. She founded Jewish Book Week in 1925, which became a national celebration of Jewish literature, as well as the National Jewish Book Council. Her efforts gave the Boston Public Library the second-largest collection of Judaica in the state, after Harvard University. After retiring from the library, she became editor of The Jewish Advocate, a Boston newspaper, and wrote and lectured on Jewish literature and library administration.

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I am so honored by the wonderful tribute the Jewish Women's Archives has prepared on the life of the first Jewish woman librarian, my great Aunt, Fanny Goldstein. I would like to explore the possibilities of pairing her with a modern day Jewish power player that your site is presently highlighting. My email is I am also contemplating writing a children's book on the life of Fanny Goldstein as being her eldest grand niece I have many personal remembrances of her growing up and would like to share them with others. Please respond to my comments. Thank you, Linda Lewis Cowen 1-7-2015

Fanny Goldstein (1895-1961) was the first female Judaica librarian, and the first woman to direct a branch library in Massachusetts, the West End Branch Library. She is best known as the founder of Jewish Book Week, which later evolved into National Jewish Book Month.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Fanny Goldstein." (Viewed on April 10, 2021) <>.


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