It took until she was eighty-two for Marie Grunfeld Jastrow to find a publisher for her autobiographies, but her two compelling memoirs of coming of age as a Jewish immigrant in New York touched audiences deeply. Jastrow moved to New York with her family at age ten. While she began writing in childhood, her work was rejected by magazines. In 1921 she married and settled down to raise a family. In 1979 she published her first book, A Time to Remember: Growing Up in New York before the Great War, followed in 1986 by Looking Back: The American Dream through Immigrant Eyes, 1907–1918. A Time to Remember used a more traditional memoir structure, following Jastrow through her childhood, while Looking Back was comprised of a series of vignettes and character portraits that breathed life into her melting-pot neighborhood. In the books, Jastrow discussed the rough journey to America, her family’s fears of being rejected at Ellis Island and sent back to Europe, her father’s desperate struggles to find work and support the family, and her mother’s forays into feminism and new-found self-worth in America.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Marie Grunfeld Jastrow." (Viewed on August 7, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/jastrow-marie>.