Page 84 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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J EW I S H BOOK A N N U A L
78
subject. Moreover, some historical magazines include in their
title not only the word
History
but
Biography
as well.3
We have endeavored to present here by way of introduction to
American-Jewish bio-bibliography a selected list, briefly annotated,
of biographies and autobiographies of one hundred personalities
of Jewish descent and/or profession, whose lives reflect the many
facets of American-Jewish experiences here in the New World.
Only works in English4 that may be readily available at libraries
or through publishers5 are listed. No effort has been made at
evaluating these books in the light of the aforementioned tenets
of good biography,— this is a task that properly speaking should
be left to the reader. One may find in these books a variegated
pattern of American-Jewish life, of the immigrant and of the
native-born, of rich and poor, of European backgrounds, of
adjustment to the American scene, of processes of assimilation, of
orthodoxy, conservatism and reform, of acculturation, of participa-
tion in the realms of public service, philanthropy, education,
religion, science, art, music, literature, theater, business and
labor. This list reveals in minuscule some of the contributions
of the individuals mentioned to the manifold fields of human
enterprise that form the warp and woof of life’s texture on the
American continent.6
3 For example,
The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
, published
since 1877 by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
4 In a survey of American-Jewish biographies one must be aware of books
written in Hebrew and Yiddish, of necrologies, memorial or anniversary publica-
tions as well as of collective biographies.
6 A number of these are not so readily accessible or are out of print. For example
the autobiography of August Bondi, 1848 revolutionist, Kansas pioneer, opponent
of slavery, friend of John Brown, Civil War veteran and public official, entitled
Autobiography of August Bondi
,
1833-1907
, published by his sons and daughters
for its preservation and arranged by Miss Amanda M. Dooley (Galesburg, 111.,
Wagner Printing Co. 1910), 178 p.; and the folkloristic biography of Felix Moses
(1827-1886), Confederate soldier, Jewish huckster of Boone [Stringtown] County,
Kentucky, by John Uri Lloyd,
Felix Moses !the Beloved Jew of Stringtown on the Pike
/
Pages from the life experiences of a unique/ character a man whose romantic/ record
challenges imagination
, illustrated by J. Augustus Knapp (Cincinnati, Ohio, The
Caxton Press, 1930), 354 p. In the preparation of this list the resources of the
libraries of the American Jewish Historical Society, the Jewish Theological Semi-
nary of America and the New York Public Library have been utilized.
6 Such autobiographical writings as those of Chaim Weizmann and of Shmarya
Levin, because of their frequent visits to America, obviously throw light on the
American-Jewish scene. There is certainly a need for competent, definitive bio-
graphies of representative American Jews. The preliminary materials necessary
for the writing of such biographies in many instances remain to be collected and
collated.