Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Emily Hahn


Emily Hahn was called “a forgotten American literary treasure” by The New Yorker magazine.  In her life time she wrote 52 books and over a hundred articles.  She was born in St. Louis Missouri on January 14, 1905 and died February 18, 1997.  She came from a working class family, where she and her five brother and sisters were encourage to think for themselves, to push social boundaries and so it was that in a time where working class women were not expected to have professional careers, Emily set about doing just the opposite.


Emily was the first women to graduate with a degree in Mining Engineering.  It is said that she changed her major from English to Engineering when she was discouraged from taking a chemistry course because women did not understand math and complex chemical equations, and this set the course for the rest of her life – Emily Hahn was an early feminist and adventurer.  She lived life to the fullest with pride in herself and her accomplishments.

In 1930 inspired by Charles Lindbergh, Emily Hahn set out once again to push the boundaries as she embarked on an exploration of  the African continent,  She worked in a hospital and lived with a local tribe during this adventure and it is said that she walked across Africa in her quest for freedom and adventure.


Emily also lived in China during the Communist revolution and much of her writing is focused on this period of her life.  She is frequently credited with introducing the western world to China and Asian culture.   

 ''My younger daughter once rebuked me for not being the kind of mother one reads about,'' Ms. Hahn once told an interviewer. ''I asked her what kind that was, and she said, the kind who sits home and bakes cakes. I told her to go and find anybody who sits at home and bakes cakes.''  Emily Hahn Source of this quote

Ken Cuthbertson has written of Emily Hahn’s life in “Nobody Said Not to Go: The Life, Loves and Adventures of Emily Hahn” a book well worth finding at your local library and reading.

Emily Hahn's granddaughter had this to say about her grandmother

"Chances are, your grandmother didn't smoke cigars and let you hold wild role-playing parties in her apartment.  Chances are that she didn't teach you Swahili obscenities. Chances are that when she took you to the zoo, she didn't start whooping passionately at the top her lungs as you passed the gibbon cage. Sadly for you ... your grandmother was not Emily Hahn." Alfia Vecchio Wallace
 To read more about Emily Hahn please click on the links below


 Grandma Snyder

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