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Yiddish Phonograph Record Collection

 Collection
Identifier: I-590

Scope and Content Note

The Yiddish Phonograph Record Collection consists of forty-six 10-inch 78s and eleven 12-inch 33s, or LPs, for a total of fifty-seven phonograph records. Nine of these are part of three named albums: Chanukah in Song, with vocals by Gladys Gewirtz and narration by Eve Lippman (Menorah Records, 1948); Cantorial Jewels, sung by Cantor Richard Tucker (Columbia, 1948); and Cantorial Chants, sung by the Cantor of Warsaw, Moshe Kusevitsky (RCA Victor, undated). Additionally, two 10-inch and one 12-inch albums hold a combined nineteen records. The remainder of the records are individually sleeved and organized alphabetically.

The records contain a variety of types of music, including classical, instrumental, folk songs, opera, cantorial music, and Yiddish interpretations of popular songs of the day. A few records also contain Yiddish storytelling and monologues from theater performances. A few recordings are in Hebrew and English, and one is in Russian. The record companies represented include Banner Records, RCA Victor, Columbia, Capitol, Apollo, De Luxe, Brunswick, and Menorah Records.

Dates

  • undated, 1948

Language of Materials

The collection is in Yiddish, Hebrew, English, and Russian.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Historical Note

The third wave of Jewish immigration to the United States at the end of the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century coincided with the rise of disc records as a medium for storing sound recordings. Millions of Jews came to America, mostly from Eastern Europe, and brought a rich culture of music, theater, and storytelling, primarily in Yiddish. They represented a new market, and Yiddish theater productions, newspapers, books, and music were produced to cater to their interests.

Companies such as Columbia, RCA Victor, Brunswick, Banner Records, and, later, Capitol Records, recorded everything from cantorial music, traditional folk songs, and contemporary music, to storytelling, monologues, and comedic performances. Popular Yiddish music often came from Yiddish theater, and many records contained individual songs from favorite musical theater productions. Additionally, record companies produced collections of liturgical music by popular cantors in Europe and the United States, housed in special albums for different occasions.

Particularly well represented in this collection is music by Mickey Katz and his orchestra. Katz was born in Cleveland in 1909 and made a name for himself by converting popular tunes of the day to Klezmer music and adding often comedic Yiddish lyrics that spoke of Jewish-American life. Also included in the collection are Yiddish theater actress and singer Molly Picon, soprano Isa Kremer, composer and bandleader Joseph Cherniavsky and his Yiddish-American Jazz Band, comedian and storyteller Myron Cohen, actor Maurice Schwartz, and others.

References

  1. Pfeffer, Murray L. “Mickey Katz & His Orchestra,” American Band’s Alphabetical Index. Accessed May 21, 2016. /bbdb.us/k1.html>
  2. Temkin, Matt. “Chapter 2. The Diaspora and Evolution of Yiddish Music in America, 1900-1945,” in American Yiddish Instrumental Fusion Music in the 1950s and 1960s. Master’s thesis, Brooklyn College, December 2008. Accessed May 21, 2016. /www.matttemkin.info/american-yiddish-instrument/chapter-2-the-diaspora-and.html>

Extent

1.5 linear feet (1 phonograph record box, 1 document box)

Abstract

The Yiddish Phonograph Record Collection consists of 57 records, including three named compilation albums of cantorial and holiday music. The records contain a variety of types of music, including classical, instrumental, folk songs, opera, cantorial music, and Yiddish interpretations of popular songs of the day. A few records also contain Yiddish storytelling and monologues from theater performances, and some are in languages other than Yiddish, including Hebrew, English, and Russian.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Leonard Sigel, 1996, and Beatrice Morse, 2011.

Separated Material

The following records were broken and were therefore removed from the collection. A digital copy of the recordings can be found at the Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive via the links provided:

"A Chazen a Shiker, Parts 1 and 2," by Maurice Schwartz /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/26289>

"Doodle Doo Doo," by Mickey Katz and His Orchestra /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/26856>

"The Draidel Song," by Mickey Katz and His Kosher-Jammers /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/27175>

"I’m a Schlemiel of Fortune," by Mickey Katz and His Orchestra /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/27461>

"Kiss of Meyer," by Mickey Katz and His Orchestra /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/26876>

"The Little White Knish That Cried," by Mickey Katz and His Orchestra /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/26903>

"My Yiddishe Momme (English)," by Sophie Tucker /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/39450>

"My Yiddishe Momme (Yiddish)," by Sophie Tucker /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/39449>

"Schvitzburgh, Pennsylvania," by Mickey Katz and His Orchestra /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/27343>

"Tiger Rag," by Mickey Katz and His Orchestra /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/26855>

"Tzatski Kozatski," by Mickey Katz and His Kosher-Jammers /djsa.dartmouth.edu/tracks/27176>

Also removed from the collection is the book Jewish Cooking Made Slim by Marjorie Weiner, published in 1983 by Triad Publishing Co.

Processing Information

Processed by Shannon Struble, 2016
Title
Guide to the Yiddish Phonograph Record Collection, I-590
Author
Processed by Shannon Struble
Date
2016
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245