Judaic Treasures of the
Library of Congress:
A variety of publications
were issued to help Americanize new immigrants.
Bilingual Yiddish-English versions of the
Constitution and the Declaration of Independence
were published for the new Americans, as
were phrase books in Yiddish,
— all intended to help the immigrants
function in their new environment. Alexander
Harkavy's English-Yiddish letter writing
guides were especially popular, selling thousands
of copies in multiple editions. Shown here
American Letter Writer, opened to a
sample letter “From
a Lady to a Gentleman, Complaining of Faithlossness
fun di Fereynigte Shtaten
und Deklereyshon of Indipendens
[Constitution of the United States
and the Declaration of Independence].
New York: Sarasohn and Son, Pub., 1892.
Moise S. Gadol (1874-1941).
Embezar, The Book to Learn How to Speak,
Read and Write from Spanish-Jewish Language
in English and Yiddish.
New York: 1937.
Hirsh Vand (b.1847).
Warsaw: Gebruder Shuldberg, 1891.
Alexander Harkavy (1863-1939).
Harkavy's Amerikanisher Briefenshteler
[Harkavy's American Letter Writer].
New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1902.
Pictured on the sheet music cover below
are two scenes: a father and son parting
in the Old World, and the same pair meeting
at Ellis Island. Solomon Smulewitz's lyrics
recount a familiar tale of woe: “Mother
has died in loneliness and poverty. Write
a letter to father and send money for him
to come to America. Alas, father is too ill
to be admitted here. He is permitted to see
his son at the gate of Ellis Island, and
then will be sent back to Europe.”
and J.M. Rumshisky (1879-1956).
A Brievele dem Taten
[A little letter to my father].
New York: Hebrew Publishing Co., 1911.
Sheet music cover.
The Immigration Assistance
Section of the National Council of Jewish
Women issued the citizenship guide below
for women in both English and Yiddish. Founded
in 1893, the Council focused on helping unmarried
women immigrants learn English, secure citizenship,
and find employment.
Cecilia Razovsky (1891-1968).
Froy Darf Visen Vegen Birgershaft, What Every
Woman Should Know about Citizenship.
New York: Department of Immigrant Aid,
National Council of Jewish Women, 1926.
Written in Yiddish, the
language understood by the majority of newly
arriving Jewish immigrants, the cookbook
below served as an introduction to American
as well as traditional Jewish cuisine. The
recipes, which are based on Hinde Amchanitzki's
forty-five years of experience in European
and American kitchens, include traditional
Jewish dishes as well as American fare. In
her introduction, the author promises that
using her recipes will prevent stomach aches
and other food-related maladies in children.
This first American Yiddish cookbook pictures
the author on the cover. Displayed on the
accompanying page are recipes in Yiddish
for two desserts, “Snowballs” and
Lehr-bukh vi azoy tsu kokhen un baken
[Textbook on How to Cook and Bake].
New York: ca. 1901.
The Federal Theater Project
produced a Yiddish language
version of Clifford Odets's groundbreaking
depiction of a Jewish family living in
the Bronx during the Depression years.
Burdened with financial difficulties, the
family struggles to survive. In the play's
climax, the socialist grandfather delivers
the central message of the play, calling
his family to action and urging them to “Go out and fight
so life shouldn't be printed on dollar bills.” The
title is from Isaiah (26:19): “Awake
and sing, ye that dwell in the dust.”
Clifford Odets (1906-1963).
Federal Theatre, New York City.
Offset lithograph poster.
Federal Theatre Project Collection.
Source: Library of Congress