Collection on Yiddish theater, 1883-2005 (bulk dates 1910-1965)

Extent: 25.5 linear feet
The current Collection on Yiddish theater began in the mid 1960s through the collecting efforts of a volunteer at the Museum. The Collection on Yiddish theater is the product of over 220 individual donations from 1965 to 1987.  Files related to Yiddish theater were incorporated into the Museum’s larger collections on theatrical productions and related personalities, and the collection did not exist as a physically or intellectually unified whole. New materials were brought to light during renovations to the Museum’s third floor. These new materials as well as the majority of the collection are in Yiddish.  In 2011, the Museum received funds from the David Berg Foundation and the Lemberg Foundation to translate, process, and re-house the collection.  Alyssa Masor, a recent Ph.D. recipient from Columbia University’s Yiddish Studies program, was engaged to translate from Yiddish to English providing spelling consistency for key object identifiers.

Scope and Content
In the context of this collection, Yiddish theater is defined as theatrical production performed or originated in Yiddish. This includes works translated into Yiddish and performances of works originally written in Yiddish but translated into English. The collection focuses on Yiddish theatrical production in New York but includes information on performances around the United States, in Europe, and in South America. It is divided according to material type into the following six series:

Series I: Productions
Series II: Personalities and organizations
Series III: Photographs
Series IV: Prints and posters
Series V: Drawings and works-on-paper
Series VI: Phonograph records

Click here to view the full finding aid for the Collection on Yiddish theater.