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Short biography
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Black, later Mrs. Kander, was born to a Jewish family in Wisconsin, possibly in Green Bay. Her parents were John Black, of English descent, and his wife Mary Pereles Black, of German or Austrian birth. When Lizzie was a small child, the family moved to Milwaukee, where her father owned a prosperous dry goods store. Lizzie was the valedictorian of her high school class and in 1878, she married Simon Kander, a businessman. In 1898, she began volunteering at the Milwaukee Jewish Mission, which merged with another organization two years later to become The Settlement House of Milwaukee, a place to help European Jewish immigrants assimilate more easily into American life. Mrs. Kander served as president of The Settlement for 18 years. There she taught classes for women on how to be economical housewives. She decided that requiring her students to copy down recipes wasted valuable time in cooking class, so she raised money to print 1,000 copies of what became the first edition of The Settlement Cook Book. The first run, published in 1901, sold out locally within a year, and after the third edition in 1907, The Settlement Cook Book went national, carried to all corners of the country by midwestern Jews. Mrs. Kander personally supervised edits and updates to every subsequent edition of the cookbook until her death in 1940. Afterwards, others took over, but her name and picture remained on the book. In 1995, the Settlement Foundation turned the book and its assets over to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, where it continues to support donations to women’s and children’s groups.
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