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Subsubseries A: Playbills and Fliers by Performer, 1902 - 1939


Scope and Content Note

From the Sub-Series:

This subseries contains approximately 2,700 printed items that were processed by Jonas Turkow at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York, in the late 1950s to mid 1960s. It includes playbills and theater notices advertising performances of plays, as well as fliers advertising other types of live performances, including dramatic and musical revues, recitations, and concerts. It also contains many fliers advertising films. Some of these items would have been intended for posting; some smaller items, often printed on both sides, might have been distributed as handbills. Also included are scattered invitations, tickets, clippings, promotional brochures, and programs. (Programs, which may be in the form of a single sheet, a folded flier, or a booklet of multiple pages, and typically contain a complete cast list and other details of the production, are otherwise found in Subseries I.2.)

This subseries, which Turkow organized under the Yiddish heading "afishn" (meaning "posters, playbills"), originally also included some 1,300 oversize posters that were integrated with the smaller items. For purposes of preservation, the oversize items were separated from the smaller items and stored in map drawers. They are now grouped separately, in Subseries I.4.

Similar to the method he used in processing the programs (Subseries I.2), Turkow cataloged the items in the current subseries by creating an index card for each item, on which he recorded (by hand, in Yiddish) basic information, including the title of the work performed; the author's name, if given; the name and location of the theater, if given; and the most salient information conveyed on the item, typically the names of featured performers, the director, and/or the troupe. (These index cards continue to be preserved at YIVO.)

Reflecting the system in place at YIVO at that time, the items within each folder were stamped with consecutive page numbers. Just as is the case in the "Programs" subseries, the items in this subseries each received only a single stamped (or, on occasion, handwritten) number, regardless of whether the item is a single sheet (as most of them are) or multiple pages. The "page numbers" (effectively, item numbers) in this subseries extend from no. 177694 to no. 180089. When items needed to be inserted, Turkow created additional page numbers by appending letters to the numbers (using both the Roman and the Yiddish alphabet).

Following Jonas Turkow's original arrangement, the subseries has been arranged in three subsubseries:

Subsubseries A: Playbills and Fliers by Actor/Performer contains just over 1,200 items, under 159 different name headings. Some items advertise other types of live performances besides plays, especially recitations, or spoken-word concerts, musical concerts, and solo shows combining music and drama. Occasionally fliers for films in which the actor appeared are also included.

Approximately one third of the performers are represented with at least 10 items. The following performers are represented with 25 items or more: Julius Adler, Rachel Holzer, Joseph Winogradoff, Yokheved Zilberg, Zygmunt Turkow, Jonas Turkow and Diana Blumenfeld, Noach Nachbush, Ajzyk Samberg, Regine Zuker, Maurice Schwartz, and the team of K. Kadish (Kadish Chasz), Joseph Chasz, and Nekhama Chasz. A few of the performers included here are not associated with Yiddish theater per se but are known for musical and dramatic performances more generally: the actor Al Jolson (the items pertain to the film The Jazz Singer); the singers Vittorio Weinberg and Lev Sibiryakov; singer and actor Victor Chenkin; dancers Dvora Lapson and Lillian Shapero; composer and conductor Izrael Fajwiszys; and the cantors Misha Alexandrovitch, Gershon Sirota, Moshe Koussevitzky, and Josef (Yosele) Rosenblatt.

Subsubseries B: Playbills and Film Fliers by Geographic Location contains just over 1,300 items. This subsubseries is further divided into the following subsubsubseries: 1. Europe (except Poland), 2. Poland, 3. United States, 4. Latin America (except Cuba), and 5. Other Countries/Regions.

The subsubsubseries "Poland" has two groupings, one according to locality (A. Poland by City/Town), and the other with headings for theater groups (B. Poland by Theater Group), including the Vilna Troupe, the Varshever Yidisher Kunst-Teater (VYKT), Yung-Teater, the revue theaters "Azazel" and "Ararat," and others. The subsubsubseries "United States" also has two groupings, the first specifically for New York (A. New York City), with headings for individual theaters, of which "Artef" (Arbeter Teater Farband) and the puppet theater "Modicut" are represented with the most items, and the other theaters with not more than a few items each. In the second grouping (B. Other American Cities), the best represented cities are Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Subsubseries B generally contains the same types of items as found in the first subseries, but includes a far greater number of fliers for films.

Subsubseries C: Concert Fliers contains approximately 170 items, divided into the following categories: 1. United States, 2. Other countries, 3. Cantors (Hazonim), and 4. Reciters. (As noted above, fliers advertising concerts of cantors, as well as recitations, can also be found in Subsubseries A, under individual name headings.)


  • 1902 - 1939

Language of Materials

From the Sub-Series:

Predominantly in Yiddish, English, Polish, Russian, and German, with occasional items in or using Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, French, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Czech, Finnish, Ukrainian, Dutch, Danish, and Arabic.

Access Restrictions

The collection has been digitized and is available online without restrictions. The physical collection is closed.


1.9 Linear Feet (4.5 boxes; 159 folders)


Arranged alphabetically by Yiddish name of actor/performer.

Repository Details

Part of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States