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Fannie Hurst Papers

Identifier: MS-MS-ms058

The Hurst Papers consist of a small quantity of correspondence (most of it between Hurst and her school friend Lois Toensfeldt), the manuscript for her novel Quiet Street, some diary material, and a group of clippings and memorabilia. Special Collections also holds Hurst's personal collection of her published work which includes a complete set of first and variant editions, translations, and other copies of her books.


  • 1909-1968


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)


5.00 boxes

Biographical Information

Fannie Hurst was an American novelist who was also very prominent in philanthropic and civic affairs. Raised in St. Louis, she received her B.A. from Washington University in 1909, and then went to New York to do graduate work at Columbia University. Hurst began writing short stories for popular magazines in 1914, and went on to produce many best-selling novels, the best known of which are Back Street (1931), and Imitation of Life (1933). Many of her novels were made into films, and she herself wrote 12 filmscripts, including “Humoresque” and “Symphony of Six Million.” Hurst was also a frequent contributor to magazines and regularly appeared on radio and television programs.

Hurst was an active philanthropist and leader in civic affairs. She served on many boards and committees, particularly during Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. She was chairman of the National Housing Commission (1936-1937), a member of the National Committee to The Works Progress Administration (1940-1941), and, later, a delegate to the World Health Organization Assembly (1952). Upon Hurst's death a large part of her estate came in a bequest to Washington University, a portion of which was used to create the Hurst Professorship in the Department of English for visiting writers.

Source of Acquisition

Accession number 1025, 1969: February 5. Purchase from the Hurst Estate

Accession number 1045, 1969: May 1. Gift of Brandeis University

Accession number 1050, 1969: June 5. Gift of Thomas Eliot from Grace Naismith

Accession number 1066, 1969: July 15. Gift of Brandeis University

Accession number 1139, 1970: January 28. Purchase from the Hurst Estate

Accession number 1141, 1970: February 5. Purchase from the Hurst Estate

Accession number 1451, 1976: January 2. Unknown

Accession number 1568, 1983: January 18. Gift of Margaret Johnson

Accession number 1569, 1983: January 18. Gift of Lois Toensfeldt

Accession number 1782, 1989: January 24. Purchase from the Hurst Estate

Accession number 1783, 1989: January 24. Purchase from the Hurst Estate

Accession number 1791, 1989: March 17. Purchase from the Hurst Estate

Accession number 22992. Unknown

Accession number 22993. Unknown


Fannie Hurst Papers
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 April 22: Resource record updated in ArchiveSpace by Sarah Schnuriger.

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collecting Area

Joel Minor
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495