Anzia Yezierska was born in Poland when it was part of the Russian Empire in 1885, the daughter of Bernard and Pearl Yezierska. She knew from firsthand experience the factories and sweatshops which later entered into her stories. She began to write stories about East Side life in 1918, and in 1919 she was the author of a long story, "Fat of the Land," which Edward J. O'Brien, the well-known anthologist of that day, chose as the best story published that year in the United States. In 1920, a group of her stories was collected and published under the title Hungry Hearts. The autobiography itself was published in 1950 under the title Red Ribbon on a White Horse, with an Introduction by the poet W. H. Auden. She never became more than almost famous, and then the result had been achieved less by her own talents than by the relentless grinding of Hollywood publicity mills over a number of years.