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Hilda Polacheck (1882–1967)

Author of I Came a Stranger: The Story of a Hull-House Girl

Includes the names: Hilda Satt Polacheck

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Hinda Satt was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in a small village in Russian-owned Poland. In 1892, her family joined hundreds of thousands of other Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe for opportunity and tolerance in the USA. They settled in Chicago. Hinda was renamed Hilda and left school at age 12 to work long hours in a knitting factory. She discovered the many educational programs offered by Hull-House, founded by Jane Addams. With a scholarship from Hull-House, Hilda was able to attend some classes at the University of Chicago in 1904 and develop her writing skils. Hilda credited Jane Addams with for her successful assimilation into American life and the two women developed a close friendship. Hilda became a writer and published essays, plays, and theater reviews, including some for the WPA. She also became involved in social and political causes, including civil rights, women's suffrage, and the peace movement. She married, and as Hilda Satt Polacheck wrote her autobiography, I Came a Stranger: The Story of a Hull-House Girl, the only description of Hull-House written by a woman from the neighborhood. The book serves as a valuable historical document of urban life and progressive politics during the Industrial Age, an era of great change in American history.
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