Laura Zametkin Hobson’s unconventional life became fuel for her remarkable novels, including the highly popular Gentleman’s Agreement in 1947. Hobson’s father had been tortured for his socialist beliefs before he fled Russia and became editor of the Forverts, and her mother wrote for Der Yidisher Tog. Hobson studied at Cornell and briefly married Thayer Hobson in 1930, co-writing two Westerns with him before divorcing in 1935. She then adopted one child and had a second out of wedlock, raising both as a single mother while writing ad copy to support them, and later served as an editor of crossword puzzles. She began writing novels including 1943’s The Trespassers, about refugees from Nazism, and Gentleman’s Agreement, which explored anti-Semitism in America and which was swiftly turned into a film starring Gregory Peck. Hobson refused the Jewish Book Council’s award for Gentleman’s Agreement, insisting that the book was an American novel, not a Jewish one. Many of her novels were semi-autobiographical, including 1970’s The Tenth Month, about a single mother by choice, and 1975’s Consenting Adult, about a mother grappling with her son’s homosexuality. At age eighty-three, she was still writing, publishing Laura Z: A Life, the first volume of her autobiography.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Laura Z. Hobson." (Viewed on July 3, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/hobson-laura>.