Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hobson wrote Gentleman's Agreement

Laura Z. Hobson
It is the birthday of writer Laura Z. Hobson (1900), whose best-selling novel Gentleman's Agreement (1947) examined antisemitism in New York City and the affluent Connecticut suburbs. It was a controversial book and a sensation throughout the country. Hobson's parents, Michael and Adella Zametkin, were Russian Jewish immigrants who fled their homeland after her father was tortured and imprisoned for being a socialist. He became a labor organizer and editor of a prominent Jewish newspaper In New York. Hobson was educated at Cornell University and became an advertising copywriter. He married a fellow student and divorced after five years, producing no children. She adopted a son then became pregnant and had her second son under an assumed name, then formally adopted him so both sons would be adopted. She raised them as a single parent at a time when that was not socially acceptable. She kept the circumstances from her children until they were grown. Hobson also wrote The Tenth Month (1970), about an unwed mother; Consenting Adult (1975), about a mother's discovery that her son is gay; and other books based on various aspects of her life. Gentleman's Agreement tells the story of a gentile magazine writer who decides to tell people he is Jewish to do research on an article about antisemitism. It was adapted for a movie starring Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, and John Garfield in 1947.

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