Glückel of Hameln

(c. 1646 - 1724)

Glückel of Hameln wrote the earliest-known autobiography by a Jewish woman; it was first published in 1896, when scholar David Kaufmann translated a copy of the original Yiddish-Hebrew manuscript into German. Glückel began writing her story in 1689, at the age of forty-three, “to while away the long and melancholy nights” after the death of Chaim, her first husband. “My business prospered,” she wrote of her time as a widow. “I never spared myself; summer and winter I was out on my travels, and I ran about the city the livelong day.”

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