Guide to the Sidney Franklin (1903-1976) Collection,
1922-1976, 1986, 2001-2010 (bulk 1922-1958)


Processed by Rachel Miller as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160



© 2019  American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Finding aid was created by Rachel Miller in MS Word and Excel 2000 and was converted to EAD 2002 in May 2010. Description is in English.
2010, 2013, 2015 Revisions: Finding aid was updated by Rachel Miller. May 5, 2017 Tanya Elder added links to objects in the Museum Collection to finding aid.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Frumkin Family
Title: Sidney Franklin Collection
Dates:1922-1976, 1986, 2001-2010 (bulk 1922-1958)
Abstract: This collection is comprised of materials related to the Brooklyn-born, gay, Jewish bullfighter, Sidney Franklin (1903-1976), who is also known for his close friendship with Ernest Hemingway. The bulk of the collection are photographs of Franklin performing in the bullring, or posing with Spanish and Latin American matadors or famous Americans such as Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Paulette Goddard, Jack Dempsey and Eddie Cantor. There are also audio recordings of Franklin, a film proposal, clippings and a copy of Franklin’s autobiography.
Languages: The collection is in English and Spanish. One clipping is in Yiddish.
Quantity: 1 oversized box, 1 oversized folder (Museum Collection), and 5 objects (Museum Collection)
Quantity:1.7 linear feet + 1 OS1F Folder + five objects (Museum Collection)
Accession number: P-894
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS New York, NY
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Biographical Note
The Kid from Spain with Eddie Cantor, 1932

Sidney Franklin, 1932

Sidney Franklin was born on July 11, 1903 and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn, by Russian Orthodox Jewish parents, Abram and Lubba Frumkin. His father was a patrolman for the New York Police Department. Sidney attended P.S. 10 and three years at Commercial High School in Brooklyn, before dropping out. While in school he was attracted to visual and performance arts. He dabbled in acting and took on the last name Franklin, after Benjamin Franklin, as his stage name, allegedly in order to skirt his disapproving father’s attention.

In 1922, after a violent dispute with his father, Franklin ran away to Mexico City, where within a year the well-known Mexican matador, Rodolfo Gaona, was grooming Franklin for the bullring. Franklin’s debut bullfight was in September 1923 in Mexico City. His Spanish debut was in June 1929. Franklin, known as “El Yanqui,” was at the height of his bullfighting career in the early 1930s and in the years following World War II, making appearances at bullrings in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia and Panama. He survived a number of gorings; the last goring, in Juarez, Mexico, in 1959, brought his ring performances to an end.

Ernest Hemingway and Franklin met in August 1929, quickly developing a close friendship which would last until a falling out in 1937 while they traveled in Spain as correspondents for the North American News Alliance during the Spanish Civil War. Franklin was a subject in and source for Hemingway's non-fiction book on bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon.

In the 1950s Franklin led a bullfighting school outside of Seville and managed a café in Seville. After an automobile registration violation which landed him in jail for nine months, he returned to the United States in 1958. As far as his personal life is concerned, according to his biographer, Bart Paul, Franklin led a closeted gay life. Following 1958 he resided in Texas and Mexico, until spending the last seven years of his life in the Village Nursing Home in Manhattan, where he died on April 26, 1976.


Ivry, Benjamin. "‘Ai No Corrida’ Sidney Franklin, the Brooklyn Bullfighter." The Forward. February 17, 2010. Accessed May 10, 2010 from:

Paul, Bart. Double-Edged Sword: The Many Lives of Hemingway's Friend, the American Matador Sidney Franklin. University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln, 2009.

Ross, Lillian. “El Unico Matador III.” The New Yorker. March 26, 1949, p. 32-56.

“Sidney Franklin, 72, Dies; Matador from Brooklyn.” New York Times. May 2, 1976. Box 1, Folder 3.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection documents most richly in photographs Franklin’s bullfighting career from 1929 through the 1950s. There are photographs of Franklin performing in bullrings in Madrid, Seville and Valencia; posing with Spanish and Latin American matadors such as Julian Sainz, Luciano Contreras, and Cayetano Ordonez, who was the inspiration for the matador in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises; and recovering in the hospital after a goring.

There are no photos of Hemingway, but there is a photo of Franklin that Hemingway likely took, as well as a photo of an inscribed rhinoceros foot memento Hemingway gave to Franklin in 1933 (Folder 11). Many photos are of Franklin with famous personalities: Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., during the filming of The Black Pirate in 1926; Paulette Goddard in 1932; Eddie Cantor on the set of The Kid from Spain with copies of Death in the Afternoon in 1932; Franklin Roosevelt, Jr. in Paris, 1933; Jack Dempsey and a crowd of men in a restaurant in 1936.

The audio recordings include Franklin talking with his mother about music and singing together with several family members in 1946.

The 2001 film proposal by Franklin’s niece, Eve Frumkin, and Allan Corwin, focuses on questions of Franklin’s sexuality and his relationship with Hemingway.

In addition there are clippings about Franklin’s accomplishments and a copy of his 1952 autobiography, Bullfighter from Brooklyn: The Amazing Autobiography of Sidney Franklin.

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This collection has been arranged in three sections: General, Photographs and Museum.

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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. One original photograph suffering from vinegar syndrome is restricted.

All items located in the Museum Collection do not circulate to the reading room. For museum exhibition loans, please contact the Director of Library and Archives for more information.

This collection contains audiovisual or electronic media that requires special equipment to access. Please notify reference staff at 24 hours in advance of needing access.

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

Correspondence from Sidney Franklin and photographs of Franklin can be found in the Ernest Hemingway Papers at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives and Records Administration, Boston, MA.

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Digitization Note

Box 1 Folders 4-5, 7-8, 10 and 12-19 have been digitized as part of an ongoing digitization-on-demand program at the Center for Jewish History.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Sidney Franklin Collection; P-894; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY.

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Acquisition Information

This collection was originally received by AJHS in two accessions. The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) donated the first accession to AJHS on May 7, 2009 (accession #2010.012). MCNY does not have a record of who originally donated the collection, but they received it some time prior to 2006. The creators of the first accession were likely Sidney Franklin’s elder brother Milton Frumkin, and his other brother Henry’s daughter, Evalyn (Eve) Frumkin-Ehrlich, who died in 2003. The second accession (#2010.027) was donated to AJHS on September 20, 2010 by DorisAnn Kolodny-Markowitz, the daughter of Franklin’s sister, Helen Frumkin-Kolodny. A third accession was added June 13, 2013 when DorisAnn Kolodny-Markowitz donated two original drawings (one by Sidney Franklin of a matador and bull and one by Barnaby Conrad of Franklin, signed by Conrad in 1944 and autographed by Conrad to Kolodny-Markowitz in 1986) and five hangers used by Franklin for his bullfighting outfits. Accessions 2013.010.01 to 2013.010.03.

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Processing Information

In May 2010, the first accession was processed by Rachel Miller, an archivist on the Center for Jewish History's Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative. In November 2010, Miller integrated the second accession into the collection and revised the arrangement and finding aid. In November 2013 the third accession was added to the Museum Collection by Senior Archivist at the American Jewish Historical Society, Tanya Elder.

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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 section 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.


Sidney Franklin Collection, 1923-1976, 2001-2010

Box 1, OS1F (Museum Collection), 5 objects (Museum Collection).

All items located in the Museum Collection do not circulate to the reading room. For museum exhibition loans, please contact the Director of Library and Archives for more information.


1 1 Bullfighter from Brooklyn by Sidney Franklin [book] 1952 request_box
1 2 Film Proposal by Eve Frumkin and Allan Corwin and Photocopied Clippings 2001 request_box
1 3 Newspaper Clippings and Alcala de Guadaira Municipal Court Document 1929, 1958, 1968, 1976 request_box
1 21 Portrait of Sidney Franklin by Barnaby Conrad [photocopy] 2010 request_box
1 20 Recordings of Sidney Franklin singing and talking with family [3 vinyl records; 1 compact disc containing WAV audio file copies of the 3 vinyl records and PDF descriptions of the record contents] 1946, 2010 request_box
1 22 Watercolor by Sidney Franklin [photocopy] 2010 request_box


1 4 Ceuta (Spain) 1930
  View the folder 
1 5 Fairbanks, Douglas, Sr. 1926
  View the folder 
1 7 Gaona, Rodolfo undated
  View the folder 
1 8 Goddard, Paulette 1932
  View the folder 
1 9 Group Shot with Jack Dempsey [signed by Dempsey] RESTRICTED 1936
  View the item 
1 10 Group Shot with Matadors [1930]
  View the folder 
1 11 Hemingway, Ernest [1929-1937], 2010
  View the folder 
1 6 The Kid from Spain with Eddie Cantor 1932
  View the item 
1 12 Madrid (Spain) undated, 1929-1931
  View the folder 
1 13 Mexico City (Mexico) undated, 1922-1923
  View the folder 
1 14 Miscellaneous [1922-1958]
  View the folder 
1 15 Roosevelt, Franklin, Jr. 1933
  View the folder 
1 16 San Sebastian (Spain) [1930]
  View the folder 
1 17 Seville (Spain) 1929-1930, 1958
  View the folder 
1 18 Valencia (Spain) undated
  View the folder 
1 19 Zaragoza (Spain) 1930, 1976
  View the folder 


OS1F (Museum) 2013.010.001 Matador and Bull, pen and ink, by Sidney Franklin 20th century
  View the object 
OS1F (Museum) 2013.010.002 Portrait of Sidney Franklin by Conrad Barnaby, autographed by Barnaby 1944, 1986
  View the object 
(Museum) 2013.010.003 Clothing hangers (5 hangers) undated
  View the object 
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