Guide to the Abraham Ellstein Papers, undated, 1925-1965

P-32

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161

Email: reference@ajhs.org

URL: http://www.ajhs.org

© 2018  American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid was converted from a MARC record with marc2ead_ajhs.xsl in 2009. Finding aid written in English.
2016-09-14 PDF box list converted to dsc. Finding aid encoding revised. Biographical Note and Related Material added. Rachel S. Harrison

Descriptive Summary

Creator:Ellstein, Abraham
Creator:Ellstein, Sylvia Regan
Title:Abraham Ellstein (1907-1963) Papers
Dates:undated, 1925-1965
Abstract:This collection contains Hebrew, Yiddish and English sheet music compositions, programs, playbills, and reviews, with extensive files relating to the operas "The Golem" and "The Thief and the Hangman" and the musical "Great to Be Alive." There are also some photographs and correspondence.
Languages: The collection is in Hebrew, English, and Yiddish.
Quantity:2 manuscript boxes
Quantity:1 linear foot
Identification: P-32
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS New York, NY
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Biographical Note
Portrait of Abraham Ellstein (1907-1963)

Portrait of Abraham Ellstein (1907-1963)

Abraham Ellstein, songwriter, composer, conductor, and director of the American Yiddish theater, was born on the Lower East Side of New York City on July 7, 1907. He sang at a local synagogue as a chorister and at the Metropolitan Opera Children's chorus. At age 18, he was awarded a scholarship to The Julliard School. He was a well-known accompaniest to numerous stars of the Yiddish theater, including Molly Picon, Dave Lubritsky, Dina Goldberg, Yossele Rosenblatt, and many others. He was the resident composer and music director at Ludwig Satz’s Folk Theater during the 1929-1930 season and the resident composer and director of the Public Theatre for the 1930–31 season. He composed over thirty scores for the Yiddish theater and film and more than 500 songs and was known as one of the “big four of Second Avenue,” along with Shalom Secunda, Joseph Rumshinsky, and Alexander Olshanetsky. In addition to composing music for Molly Picon's roles in Shmendrik and Oy iz dos a meydl (O, What a Girl!), two of his most famous film scores are for Mamele and Yidl Mitn Fidl, both starring Molly Picon, which were among the most successful Yiddish movies of all time.

Ellstein was also involved in Yiddish radio, hosting several regular programs on WEVD, including Yiddish folk music, theatrical music and cantorial and liturgical music. Additionally, he wrote and arranged English music for Broadway, radio, telelvision, popular music concerts, and films. His opera The Golem, based on the Jewish legend as well as on H. Leivick's work, was commissioned by the Ford Foundation and premiered at the New York City Opera in 1962. Ellstein died suddenly on March 22, 1963 in New York City.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains Hebrew, Yiddish and English sheet music compositions, programs, playbills, and reviews, with extensive files relating to the operas "The Golem" and "The Thief and the Hangman" and the musical "Great to Be Alive." There are also some photographs and correspondence.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to fragility or as required by the agreement between Hadassah and AJHS.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011
email: reference@ajhs.org

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Related Material

The American Jewish Historical Society Archives has some sound recordings of Abraham Ellstein's music and the YIVO Library and Archives have copies of sheet music for Ellstein compositions. The American Jewish Historical Society Archives also has the Ludwig Satz Papers, P-844, which contains some sheet music by Ellstein, and the Theater and Film Poster Collection of Abram Kanof, P-978, which contains three Yiddish theater posters for plays and films with Ellstein's music. The YIVO Archives, in addition to numerous Yiddish theater collections, has an Abraham Ellstein collection, RG 522, and the Papers of Molly Picon, RG 738, as well as the Records of the Hebrew Actors Union, RG 1843, which contains some of Ellstein’s correspondence and the Papers of Vladimir Heifetz, RG 1259, which contains some sheet music by Ellstein, as well as copies of several films for which Ellstein wrote the score, including Yidl Mitn Fidl and A Brivele der Mamen.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Abraham Ellstein (1907-1963) Papers; P-32; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY.

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Access Points

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Click the box in the request column to open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.

 

Abraham Ellstein Papers, undated, 1925-1965

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
11Miscellaneousundated, 1940-1966request_box
  

Includes Molly Picon playbill

 
12Programs and Reviews undated, 1958-1965 request_box
13"Great to be Alive" Program, Reviews undated, 1952-1955 request_box
14"The Thief and the Hangman", Manuscript, Libretto, Reviews and Correspondenceundated, 1958-1962 request_box
15"The Golem-Playbill, Reviews and Letters of Commendation undated, 1961-1962 request_box
16Sylvia Regan Ellsteinundated, 1940-1964 request_box
17Photographsundated request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
21Sheet Musicundated, 1925-1960request_box
22Sheet Musicundatedrequest_box
23Sheet Musicundatedrequest_box
24Sheet Musicundatedrequest_box
25Sheet Music "Ima-Mother in Israel" Cantataundatedrequest_box
26Sheet Musicundatedrequest_box
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