Early Chicago: Anna Elizabeth Lewis Hudlun

Anna Elizabeth Lewis Hudlun

Anna Elizabeth Lewis Hudlun (Source: Chicago History Museum)

As the fire of 1871 raged through Chicago, Anna Elizabeth Hudlun went out into the streets to find those in need of aid and comfort. In addition to the many who received assistance, five families, both black and white, found long-term refuge, food, and water under her roof. Hudlun's kindness, nurturing, and generous contribution to the social welfare of the African American community were well known, and those who knew her affectionately called her "Mother Hudlun." After the fire, she was given a new title: "Fire Angel." When a second fire broke out in 1874, destroying most of the homes in the African American neighborhood, Hudlun once again provided shelter, clothing, food, and compassion.