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Jennie Franklin Purvin

Of her many efforts to improve Chicago, the legacy that still stands as Jennie Franklin Purvin’s most visible accomplishment is the beachfronts on Lake Michigan for swimming and recreation. Purvin graduated high school in 1891 and immediately began helping her father with his cigar-manufacturing business. In 1899 she married Moses L. Purvin, a local businessman, and had two daughters. Purvin volunteered with a variety of women’s groups and chaired various women’s committees to support mayoral candidates. She campaigned to clean up the beaches of Lake Michigan and ensure public access. She served as president of the local section of the National Council of Jewish Women from 1920–1922 and of the sisterhood of Chicago’s Sinai Congregation from 1925–1927. In 1933 she became the sole female member of the board for the city’s public library. Towards the end of her life, she worked with Mandel Brothers’ Department Store to create the Club Women’s Bureau, an exhibition space for local artists.

Jennie Purvin
Full image

Communal activist Jennie Purvin was one of the essential people without whom the striking beachfront of Chicago would not exist.

Institution: The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH, www.americanjewisharchives.org and Florence M. Henderson

Date of Birth
August 23, 1873
Place of Birth
Chicago, Illinois
Date of Death
November 1, 1958

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jennie Franklin Purvin." (Viewed on March 25, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/purvin-jennie>.


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