Jenny Hirsch devoted years to a society for women’s employment, but when the organization ironically refused to pay her, she reinvented herself as a mystery writer. The daughter of a peddler, Hirsch left school at fifteen to help her father, but retained her love of reading despite her family’s criticism of her intellectual pursuits. After her father’s death in 1856 she tried founding an interreligious school, and from 1860–1864 edited the literary section of the fashion journal Bazar. After attending the first women’s congress in Leipzig in 1865, she joined the Society for the Promotion of the Gainful Employment of the Female Sex. When various German organizations for women’s work joined forces in 1869 as the Lette Society, Hirsch became the new organization’s unpaid secretary and only female board member. In that role she translated John Stuart Mill’s The Subjugation of Women and composed the society’s petition for women to be admitted to Germany’s rail, postal, and telegraph professions. From 1870–1881 she also served as editor for the monthly journal Frauenanwalt (Women’s Advocate). But when the journal went bankrupt and the Lette Society proved unwilling to pay for her work as secretary, Hirsch quit in 1883 and became a writer of novels and crime fiction under the pseudonym Fritz Arnefeldt.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Jenny Hirsch." (Viewed on May 20, 2018) <https://jwa.org/people/hirsch-jenny>.