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Jul 1, 2019

Two of Connecticut’s most influential women, Beatrice Fox Auerbach, the owner of G. Fox, the largest privately-owned department store in the United States at the time and U.S. Congresswoman Chase Going Woodhouse, the second woman to be elected to the US Congress from Connecticut, spent seven weeks travelling through 10 countries in the Middle East and Europe in 1949. Only four years after the end of WWII and one year after the founding of the new nation of Israel, Auerbach and Woodhouse were shown battlefields, refugee camps, and the ruins of German cities. Auerbach’s diary entries reveal what she saw and experienced-civil war in Greece, Arab refugee camps in Transjordan, the value of using Hebrew in Israel, and the fear of rising anti-Semitism and communism in Germany. In this episode, edited from a lecture given at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, Dr. Tracey Wilson comments on Auerbach and Woodhouse’s contribution to the development of women in leadership roles in Connecticut and reads from Mrs. Auerbach’s travel diaries. Both women are in the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.


Dr. Wilson received her Ph. D in history from Brown University and serves as the West Hartford Town Historian. To listen to the full lecture or view the videotape, contact the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford. The Auerbach diaries are in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, and the papers of Chase Going Woodhouse are in the collection of the Dodd Center, University of Connecticut at Storrs. To hear more about G. Fox Dept Store, listen to Episode 73 of Grating the Nutmeg, “Dept Stores, G. Fox and the Black Freedom Movement”. 

This episode was produced by Mary Donohue and engineered by Patrick O’Sullivan.

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