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October 1920: The Women Who Led the Way: Jewish Women

The assassination of the Russian Tsar, Alexander II, in 1881 unleashed a new round of anti-Semitic violence in Russia.  In the following 40 years, many Russian and East European Jews fled, and a good number of them made their way to Hartford, where there was an established community of German Jews.  The Russian Jews immediately established their own supportive community through synagogues, mutual aid societies, political groups and charitable organizations.  Through this network of religious and civic organizations, they took responsibility for supporting one another and created a rich cultural life. In 1915 the Hartford Courant wrote:

The Jews who have made Hartford their home have become useful citizens, a force for good in the body politic and upholders of American ideals. The growth of the Jewish community in the last fifty years has been on a large scale. At the close of the Civil War about 150 Jewish families lived here. Today there are over 3,000 families of that race, and they an important element in the city’s life. Representatives of the race are found in practically every branch of mercantile and manufacturing activity in the city, and many also are found in the professions and trades. Hartford Jews have held, and do hold, positions of honor in civic affairs ("The Jewish People Who Live in Hartford," Hartford Courant, November 28, 1915).

Below are a number of cards of Jewish women born in Russia and Eastern Europe, who joined their new neighbors in registering to vote in October 1920. 

Annie Fisher

Annie Fisher, 1900 (Photo courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford)

Annie Fisher came to Hartford with her family in the late 1800’s, escaping Jewish persecution in Russia.  In 1900, Annie graduated from Hartford Public High School.  She received a scholarship to study at Wesleyan University.  After graduating, she tried to find a teaching job but found it difficult to get hired because she was Jewish.  Annie was finally hired as an English teacher for adult evening classes in Hartford.  This was the beginning of a 40 year career in the Hartford Public School system.  She was a teacher at the Henry Barnard School. Eventually she became the school’s principal, making her the first female principal in Hartford’s history.  Later Annie would go on to become the city’s first female district superintendent of schools.  She is credited with early experiments with early childhood intervention, curriculum for mentally disabled children, special classes for foreign born children, and hygiene.  The Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School on Plainfield Street is named in her honor.

Etta Feingold

Etta Rufkess Feingold (Photo from Hartford Jews, © Connecticut Historical Society. Reproduced with permission.)

Etta Flora Ruffkess Feingold was born in Russia in 1890.  Her family came to Hartford when Etta was one year old.  She attended Hartford Public Schools and was a member of Hartford Public High School’s graduating class of 1907.  She married Gustave Feingold, who was also born in Russia, and who served as Principal of Bulkeley High School from 1927 until 1948.  Etta was very active in civic and religious organizations. Among many other positions, she was the corresponding secretary for the Hartford League of Women Voters and a trustee of Temple Beth Israel.

Rose Hatchberg Hoffman

Fannie Horowitz

Irene Cohen Jess

Sofia Jacobs Krichavsky

Ethel W. Kurzmack

Sarah Suisman

Sarah Suisman (Photo from Hartford Jews, ©Connecticut Historical Society. Reproduced with permission.)

Sarah P. Suisman was born in Riga, Latvia in 1874, the daughter of Louis and Rose Friedman.  The Friedmans came to Hartford in 1893.  Active in civic and religious organizations, Sarah was one of the founders of the Hebrew Home for the Aged, the Hebrew Home for Children, and a charter board member of Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Gertrude Garback Caplan

Theresa Fox

Theresa S. Fox  (Photo from Hartford Jews, © Connecticut Historical Society. Reproduced with permission.)

Theresa Stern Fox was born in New York in 1865.  She was married to Moses Fox, the President of G. Fox & Co.  Theresa was active in the Hartford Chapter of the Council of Jewish Women. The later address on her card was the home of her daughter, Beatrice Fox Auerbach. Her family remains active in the Greater Hartford Jewish community.


Anna Kaufman Horn

Annie Katz Jainchill

Pauline Abrams Juster

Pauline Juster, Hartford, 1924 (Photo and biographical information courtesy of Susan Juster Viner)

Pauline Juster (1881-1959) was born in the Romanian shtetl (village) of Podu Iloaiei.  Her family emigrated to Zichron Yaacov, Palestine, to work for the Baron Edmond de Rothschild, founder of Carmel Wine.  There she met and married her husband, Morris Juster, who had emigrated from Iasi, Romania.  They emigrated to the United States at the very end of the 19th century, and settled in Hartford for the rest of their lives. Morris and Pauline's descendants remain in the area.


Rose G. Kronfeld

Celia Levy

Celia K. Levy (Photo from Hartford Jews, © Connecticut Historical Society. Reproduced with permission.)

Celia Knoek Levy was born in Hartford in 1861 to Joseph and Hannah Blodes Knoek.  She was the wife of Hyman P. Levy and mother of Joseph and Pauline.  She was one of the founders of the Hartford Chapter, National Council of Jewish Women and board member of the Hartford Democratic Women’s Club.

Annie Zeman

Annie Saxe Zeman (Photo from Hartford Jews, ©Connecticut Historical Society. Reproduced with permission.)

Annie Saxe Zeman was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1872.  She came to Hartford in 1909, when she married Dr. Burnhardt Zeman.  In addition to being the mother of two sons, Annie was active in many civic and religious organizations.  She was a founder and served as the first president of the Hartford Chapter of Hadassah, served as president of the Hartford Chapter of the Council of Jewish Women, and was an organizer of the Women’s Auxiliary of Mt. Sinai Hospital.  The Annie Saxe Zeman Scholarship at the University of Connecticut, School of Social Work was established to honor all of her years of service to the Greater Hartford Community. Annie died in 1957 at the age of 85.

Esther Goldberg Cohen

Tillie M Hoffson

Anna Rifkin Horowitz

Sarah Baker Jainchill

Amie Rose Kreger

Beckie Cohen Kruh

Sophia Braginsky Richman

Minnie K. Samuels

Minnie K. Samuels (Photo from Hartford Jews, © Connecticut Historical Society. Reproduced with permission.)

Minnie Krotoshiner Samuels (1865-1932) was born in Toronto, Canada in 1865.  During her more than  55 years living in Hartford, she was involved with many social welfare organizations.  Minnie was a Director of the Hartford Visiting Nurses Association, the Girl Scouts and the Big Sister movement.  

Rose H. Weinstein

Rose Hershenow Weinstein (Photo from Hartford Jews, © Connecticut Historical Society. Reproduced with permission.)

Rose Hershenow Weinstein was born in Russia in 1894 to Shalom and Bessie Hershenow.  Her family came to Harford when Rose was a child.  She worked with her husband in his firm, Maurice the Jeweler, which was located on Asylum Avenue for over 40 years.  Additionally, she served as President of the Hebrew Home for the Aged, as an officer for Emanuel Synagogue Sisterhood, the Jewish Children’s Service Organization and the Mt Sinai Hospital Auxiliary.  Rose died in May, 1961.

Sally Tischler Zwillinger

Alphabetically, Mrs. Zwillinger was the last woman on the October 1920 registration list.

Return to October 1920

Hartford Courant, September 27, 1920

Marion Scharr, pictured, a native of Schenectady, NY,  moved to Hartford with her family in the early 1910s. Following her graduation from Smith College, and prior to her work with the YWHA, Marion taught at the New Park School. She registered to vote in Hartford in March 1914. Her great-niece designed these pages. (Photo courtesy of Lynn Scharr Sharp)

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Hartford Courant, September 27, 1920

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Hartford Courant, September 27, 1920

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Hartford Courant, September 27, 1920

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Hartford Courant, September 27, 1920

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Hartford Courant, September 27, 1920

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Hartford Courant, September 27, 1920

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