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Aug 30, 2020

Sophie Tucker was one of the 20th century's most successful and highest paid performers. A singer and humorist, she transitioned successfully through vaudeville, recordings, Broadway, radio, movies, nightclubs and finally television. Born into a Jewish family that immigrated from Eastern Europe, her parents ran a kosher restaurant in Hartford’s Front Street district. Many of the threads that run through her life resonant with women now including body positivity, female agency, an artist’s control of their own work and career as well as a rags to riches immigrant success story. This episode includes snippets from three of her most famous songs-“One of These Days” by African American composer Sheldon Brooks; “I’m the Last of the Red Hot Mama’s” by Milton Agar and Jack Yellen, and “My Yiddishe Momme” by Jack Yellen. Tucker never forgot Hartford and contributed to numerous local charities. She left almost 400 scrapbooks documenting her full career to the New York Public Library. She was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

For more information and photos go to the website of Connecticut Explored at

Tor read more about her mother and the “Handkerchief Brigade” go to

Look for a new online exhibition in late Sept, 2020 on the website of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford at

Mary M. Donohue is the Asst. Publisher of Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history.  She has documented Connecticut’s architecture, built environment and pop culture for over 30 years.

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

To hear more episodes of Grating the Nutmeg subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio or at And for more great Connecticut history stories, subscribe to Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history, at