Guide to the Jacob Fishman (1888-1962) Theater Collection,
undated, 1898-1939


Processed by Rachel S. Harrison

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



© 2018, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Rachel S. Harrison in February, 2016. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jacob Fishman
Title: Jacob Fishman (1888-1962) Theater Collection
Dates:undated, 1898-1939
Abstract: This collection contains the prompt-books for numerous plays, both those originally written in Yiddish as well as Yiddish translations of well-known authors. There is also an original play by Boaz Young and notes for a study on female Jewish writers.
Languages: The collection is in Yiddish.
Quantity: 1 linear foot (2 manuscript boxes)
Identification: P-37
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS New York, NY
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Biographical Note

It seems likely that this collection belonged to the Jacob Fishman who founded the Folksbiene Theater in 1915 under the auspices of the Workman’s Circle, and was an actor and the director of the Folksbiene from 1915-1940. Prior to that, he was involved with the Progressive Dramatic Club and the Hebrew Dramatic League, where he was also the director.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the prompt-books for Yiddish plays by, among others, Avrom Goldfaden, Jacob Gordin, David Pinski, Moisey Ghitzis, Avrom Reyzen, Shomer (Nahum Meyer Shaykevich), Karl Gutzkow, and Abraham Veviorke. These prompt-books also contain Yiddish translations of plays by writers such as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Maxim Gorky, Gerhart Hauptmann, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Octave Mirbeau, Hermann Sudermann, and Stanislaw Przybyszewski. There is an original play by Boaz Young as well as notes for a study on female Jewish writers that Jacob Fishman appears to have started. Yiddish play titles have been given in the original Yiddish spelling and in an English translation. Plays that were translated into Yiddish are just given in English translation. The dates given sometimes refer to when the play was originally published or performed in Yiddish and sometimes to the date when the play was first translated into Yiddish.

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The bound prompt-books and manuscripts are in the first box and have been arranged alphabetically according to the English title of the first play in each book. Individual unbound plays are in the second box and have been arranged alphabetically according to the English title. The collection has been arranged in one series.

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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 their fragility.

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

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Related Material

Both YIVO and the American Jewish Historical Society have numerous collections on Yiddish theater. These include the Theater and Film Poster Collection of Abram Kanof, P-978; the Ludwig Satz Papers, P-844; the Adler Family Papers, P-890; and the Records of the Hebrew Actors Union, RG 1843.

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Separated Material

There is no information about materials that are associated by provenance to the described materials that have been physically separated or removed.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Jacob Fishman (1888-1962) Theater Collection; P-37; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

There is no information about the provenance of this collection.

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Processing information

Processed by Rachel S. Harrison as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation. Loose items were put into folders.

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Access Points

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.


Jacob Fishman Theater Collection, undated, 1898-1939

1 Business is Business by Octave Mirbeau, 1903; The Thief (Scruples) by Octave Mirbeau, 1904; Elisha ben Abuyah [אלישע בן אבויה] by Jacob Gordin, 1907; Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, 1907; Isaac Sheftel [אייזיק שעפטעל] by David Pinski, 1907 1903-1907 request_box

1 Confidence [בטחון] by Moisey Ghitzis 1939 request_box

1 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky undated request_box

1 Fires of St. John by Hermann Sudermann 1900 request_box

two copies

1 The Golden Fleece by Stanisław Przybyszewski undated request_box

only the second notebook

1 The Reconciliation by Gerhart Hauptmann undated request_box

1 The Stranger [דער אונבעקאנטער] by Jacob Gordin, 1907; Pictures and Ideas [בילדער און געדאנקען] by Joseph Bovshover, 1907; Poems of the Time [צייט-ליעדער] by Avrom Reyzen, 1901; Kreutzer Sonata [קרייצער סאנאטא] by Jacob Gordin, 1907; Gd, Man and Devil [גאט מענש און טייפעל] by Jacob Gordin, 1900; Songs of Exile [גלות-ליעדער] by A.M. Sharkansky, 1905 1900-1907 request_box

1 The Wild Princess or Medea's Youth [דיא ווילדע פרינצעסין אדער מעדעא'ס יוגענד] by Jacob Gordin, 1898; The Orphan [די יתומה] by Jacob Gordin, 1903 [incomplete]; The Jews by Evgeny Chirikov, 1906; The Hunger by Semyon Yushkevich, 1906; The Siege of Tulchin by Nikolai Maksimovich Minskii, undated [missing]; In the Darkness [אין דער פינסטערניש] by F.H. Maley, 1898; The Weavers by Gerhart Hauptmann, 1906 1898-1906 request_box

1 Uriel Acosta [אוריאל אקאסטא] by Karl Gutzkow, 1903; Jean and Madeleine (The Bad Shepherds) by Octave Mirbeau, 1906; King Herod [קעניג הורדוס] by Londy, undated; The Spanish Inquisition [דיא שפאנישע אינקוויזיציאן] by Nahum Meyer Shaykevich (Shomer), 1900; Coquettish Ladies [דיא קאקעטע דאמען] by Nahum Meyer Shaykevich (Shomer), 1900 1900-1906 request_box

2 1 A Din Torah [א דין-תורה] by Boaz (Bernard) Young undated request_box

2 2 A Dream of an Old Actor [א חלום פון אן אלטען אקטיאר] by Boaz (Bernard) Young undated request_box

multiple copies

2 3 Comrades by August Strindberg undated request_box

two copies

2 4 Drayman Henschel by Gerhart Hauptmann 1910 request_box

2 5 Jewish Women Writers undated request_box

notes for a study

2 6 Lonely People by Gerhart Hauptmann 1909 request_box

2 7 On the Border [אף דער גרעניץ] by Abraham Veviorke 1928 request_box

2 8 Sambatyon [סאמבאטיון] by Avrom Goldfaden undated request_box

2 9 Snow by Stanisław Przybyszewski undated request_box

2 10 Stage set drawings undated request_box

2 11 The Mother by Maxim Gorky undated request_box

2 12 Unidentified play undated request_box

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