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Guide to the Records of the I.L. Peretz Yiddish Writers' Union, 1903-1973, RG 701

Processed by YIVO Archivist Marek Web, 1970s. Additional processing by Rachel Harrison as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
Email: archives@yivo.cjh.org
URL: http://www.yivo.org

©2009 YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. All rights reserved.

Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Rachel S. Harrison in June 2009.  EAD finding aid customized in ARCHON in 2014. Description is in English.

Collection Overview

Title: Guide to the Records of the I.L. Peretz Yiddish Writers' Union, 1903-1973, RG 701

ID: RG 701 FA

Extent: 20.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: The collection was originally processed by Marek Web circa 1975. Additional processing was completed in June 2009.The collection is arranged in 8 series. In general, the collection was maintained as much as possible in its original order, in accordance with archival principles. Some reorganization of the early correspondence files appears to have taken place during the original processing and routine financial documents, such as paid bills and check stubs, were discarded. The minutes and financial files are arranged chronologically, while the correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, topic or format. This order has been standardized in the finding aid, although the folders themselves have not been moved. The names of the miscellaneous correspondents in Series VIII have been transliterated and intellectually rearranged in Latin alphabetical order. Yiddish names have been transliterated according to YIVO standards except when the individual is known in English by another spelling. Additionally, if the name appeared in Latin letters anywhere within the folder, that spelling was used rather than a standard transliteration. Organizations and periodicals have been translated and, when not generally known by its English name, the Yiddish name follows in parentheses. The materials were originally divided into eight series and a four-part addendum, consisting of folders 721-748. The materials from that addendum have been intellectually integrated into the original series. The addendum materials integrated into Series I and Series II have been incorporated chronologically, while those in Series VIII have been incorporated alphabetically.

Languages: English, Yiddish, Russian, German, Hebrew, Polish, Spanish


This collection contains the minutes, correspondence and financial records of the I.L. Peretz Yiddish Writers’ Union from its founding in 1915 until 1973. Among the correspondence is a fair amount concerning the Fund for Jewish Refugee Writers, unions and union grievances, requests for aid from Jewish writers and activists in New York and abroad, and labor disputes and strikes.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains meeting minutes, financial reports 1929-1972, dues ledgers and other bookkeeping books, correspondence with individuals, organizations and publishers, salary lists, financial statements, newspaper clippings, press releases, scrapbooks, photographs of members, account statements from companies, banks and brokers, and manuscripts and questionnaires from various countries for a YWU yearbook.

Some of the topics in this collection include the Fund for Jewish Refugee Writers, various Works Progress Administration projects, fundraising campaigns, requests for aid for individual refugees in Europe, Cuba, Japan, Shanghai, England, and Palestine, complaints and charges of members, contract and labor disputes, strikes, and Union reports.

Among the organizations represented are the National Refugee Service, Jewish Welfare Federations, Newspaper Guild, United Jewish Appeal, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, World Federation of Journalists, New York State Department of Labor, Conference of Jewish Journalists, Jewish Labor Bund, Central Yiddish Culture Organization, Tog, Jewish Daily Forward, Freie Arbeiter Stimme, HIAS, Keneder Odler, Jewish Labor Committee, Morgn Zhurnal, Jewish National Workers’ Alliance, Yidishe Velt (Philadelphia), Fund for Jewish Refugee Writers, Kinder Zhurnal, Morgn Freiheit, ORT, Workmen’s Circle, and YIVO. Correspondents include: Baal Makhshoves (Isidor Eliashev), Shlomo Bickel, Menahem Boraisha, Reuben Brainin, Abraham Cahan, Simon Dubnow, Ossip Dymow, Alexander Harkavy, David Ignatoff, H. Leivick, Kalman Marmor, Alexander Mukdoni, Shmuel Niger, David Pinski, Melech Ravitch, Abraham Reisen, Zalman Reisen, Zalman Shneur, Lamed Shapiro, Jacob Shatzky, Baruch Vladeck, Max Weinreich, and Chaim Zhitlowsky. These papers constitute the complete archive of the Yiddish Writers Union from its founding until 1973, including a 1903 minute book of the Jewish Press Club, a predecessor organization.

Historical Note

The I.L. Peretz Yiddish Writers’ Union (YWU), also sometimes called the Jewish Writers’ Union, was founded in New York in 1915 as a labor and mutual aid organization for Yiddish journalists. Its first president was Hillel Rogoff, of Forverts, and its first secretary was Joseph Margoshes, of Tog. The Union represented all Yiddish writers and journalists at the three major New York City Yiddish papers, Tog, Morgn Zhurnal and Forverts. The Yiddish Writers’ Union was a member of the United Hebrew Trades, an association of Jewish labor unions in New York City. The Union participated in strikes and labor disputes and fought for job security, severance pay benefits and a minimum wage for Yiddish journalists. In November 1939, together with the Jewish Labor Committee, the Union decided to found a Fund for Jewish Refugee Writers, a relief fund for Yiddish writers in Europe as well as for American members in financial need. The Fund was ultimately established in January 1940. This Fund conducted a one-time emergency appeal among Yiddish writers in America and their supporters and readers. Through the efforts of this Fund, the Union was able to sponsor the immigration of several thousand writers and political and cultural activists and also to send money to those writers whom they were unable to bring over. In 1929 the Union had 200 members. Although the Union continued to be active in labor disputes after World War II, its membership declined steadily. While still in existence in the 1980s, the Yiddish Writers’ Union had relinquished much of its role as a labor union and functioned primarily as a literary association.

Subject/Index Terms

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: The collection is open to researchers with the permission of the YIVO Archivist. Permission to access the collection can be obtained by writing to archives@yivo.cjh.org.  Permission to publish part or parts of the collection must be obtained from the YIVO Archives.

Use Restrictions: There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 email: archives@yivo.cjh.org

Acquisition Method: Given to YIVO by the Yiddish Writer’s Union in a series of installments in 1974.

Separated Materials: Photographs have been removed to the YIVO Photo Archive.

Related Materials: The YIVO Archives has the collections of many of the members of the Yiddish Writers’ Union, including the Papers of Leon Feinberg, RG 601; the Papers of Shmuel Niger, RG 360; The Papers of Mendel Osherowitch, RG 725; and the Papers of Alexander Seldin, RG 433. The American Jewish Historical Society Archives has the Papers of Boris Smolar, P-588 (AJHS). The YIVO library also has several books published by the Yiddish Writers’ Union, including Jewish Families and Family Circles of New York, The Communist Conspiracy Against the Jewish Press: The Case of the Jewish Writers’ Union Against the New York Newspaper Guild, and Seventy-Five Years Yiddish Press in the United States of America, edited by Jacob Glatstein, Shmuel Niger and Hillel Rogoff.

Preferred Citation: Published citations should take the following form:Identification of item, date (if known); I.L. Peretz Yiddish Writers Union Records; RG 701; box number; folder number; YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

Series 1: Series I: Minutes, 1903, 1919-1972,
Series 2: Series II: Finances, 1917-1972,
Series 3: Series III: Correspondence, 1911-1941,
Series 4: Series IV: Fund for Jewish Refugee Writers – Correspondence, 1939-1946,
Series 5: Series V: Correspondence (yellow series), 1935-1946,
Series 6: Series VI: Correspondence (blue series), 1941-1958,
Series 7: Series VII: Correspondence, 1946-1973,
Series 8: Series VIII: Financial Correspondence, Current Matters and Miscellaneous, 1909-1973,

Series VII: Correspondence
The correspondence in this series relates to labor questions, information about the Tog – Morgn Zhurnal merger, World Federation of Journalists, Congress for Jewish Culture, the fiftieth anniversary of the YWU, the one hundredth anniversary of the Yiddish press in America, union reports from the New York State Department of Labor, and materials from the Conference of Jewish Journalists.
Arrangement: This series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, topic or document type.
Box 30
Folder 530: Ackerman, H.
correspondence, newspaper article
Folder 531: (South) Africa
Folder 532: Aid to members
Folder 533: Aid to writers
Folder 534: American Jewish Committee
correspondence, mailing list, press release, newspaper clipping about a dispute with AJC
Folder 535: American Jewish Congress
correspondence concerning rumored liquidation of the AJC's Yiddish section
Folder 536: Argentina
correspondence, copies of cables, newspaper clippings, program of inaugeration of Dubnow House
Folder 537: Auerbach, Ephraim
correspondence, etc. in connection with his 80th birthday
Folder 538: Bagrisungen (greetings)
letters of congratulation to S.J. Agnon, Nelly sachs and Jacob Glatstein, news releases
Folder 539: Bank, Joseph
Folder 540: Ben-Israel, Shlomo
one letter
Folder 541: Bickel, Dr. Alexander
Folder 542: Broderson, Moshe
fund for his reburial in Israel, correspondence, memorandum, check receipts, etc.
Folder 543: Bund
correspondence, receipts
Folder 545: Congress for Jewish Culture
correspondence, invitations, account of a reception
Folder 546: Congress for Jewish Culture
Delegation Affair Dec. 11, 1969, invitation, press release, correspondence, receipt
Folder 544: Congress for Jewish Culture and CYCO
correspondence, invitations, order blank, etc.
Folder 547: Contributions
letters of thanks, receipts. appeals for aid, letters accompanying contributions
Folder 548: Day
correspondence and newspaper clippings
Folder 549: Day-Morning Journal (Tog-Morgn Zhurnal)
calls for meetings, telegrams, correspondence with management about labor questions and other matters
Folder 550: Deceased
texts of obituaries, balance of gains and losses of membership, lists of deceased members, newspaper clippings, letter accompanying dues payment
Folder 551: Delinquent in dues
warning letters, lists of members in arrears
Folder 552: Einhorn, David
80th anniversary, letter and press releases
Folder 553: Epstein, David
three letters from him
Folder 554: Farband (Jewish National Workers Alliance) and Poalei Zion (Marxist Zionist Jewish Workers Party)
Folder 561: Fiftieth anniversary of Yiddish Writers' Union
newspaper clippings, correspondence about tickets, lists of ticket purchasers, etc.
Folder 557: Fiftieth anniversary of Yiddish Writers' Union
publicity, newspaper clippings, summary of journal contents, invitations
Folder 559: Fiftieth anniversary of Yiddish Writers' Union
publicity, newspaper clippings, invitations
Folder 558: Fiftieth anniversary of Yiddish Writers' Union
publicity, Israel, newspaper clippings
Folder 562: Fiftieth anniversary of Yiddish Writers' Union
tickets, correspondence, invitations, letters accompanying ticket purchases
Folder 555: Fiftieth anniversary of Yiddish Writers' Union
correspondence, lists of ticket recipients, material for Korot (world office of Jewish journalists' publications), issue dedicated to the anniversary, invitations, texts of speeches or articles, lists of membership with short biographies, press releases
Folder 556: Fiftieth anniversary of Yiddish Writers' Union
Statler Hilton hotel, tickets, correspondence, invitations, greetings
Folder 560: Fiftieth anniversary of Yiddish Writers' Union
publicity, JTA dispatch, newspaper clippings
Box 31
Folder 563: Forward staff
list of amounts and names, announcements and invitations to meeting by Forward staff committee, invitations to YWU meetings
Folder 564: Fox, Chaim Leib
Folder 565: Freie Arbeiter Stimme
receipts for contributions, letters
Folder 566: Gersten-Fenn, Bertha
letters of thanks for her contributions, correspondence
Folder 567: Ginzburg, M.
correspondence about dues, etc.
Folder 568: Glanz-Leyeles, A.
two letters
Folder 569: Goldman, Dr. Nahum
two letters
Folder 570: Greenberg, Eliezer
letter and bills about dues
Folder 571: Grinbaum, Itzchak
telegram for his 90th birthday, press release, newspaper clippings
Folder 572: Harendorf-Dorfson, Nelly
correspondence with Nelly Harendorf of London
Folder 573: Habimah (Hebrew theater company)
press release in answer ro attack by Habimah, newspaper clippings, correspondence
Folder 574: HIAS
letters about J.I. Friedman, a HIAS employee
Folder 575: HIAS
certificate and flyers, correspondence, invitations, including letters about HIAS employee B. Weinstein
Folder 576: Hotel New Yorker
reception for Moshe Ron, mailing lists, replies, invitations, correspondence
Folder 577: Hunter College
correspondence with Hunter College about use of their Hall for 50th anniversary celebration, applications for use
Folder 578: Israel Mail
invitation, correspondence mainly with World Federation of Jewish Journalists, newspaper clippings
Folder 579: Israel
correspondence with World Federation of Jewish Journalists, etc.
Folder 581: Israel
World Federation of Jewish Journalists, filled-out forms, questionnaire, accompanying letters
Folder 582: Israel
World Federation of Jewish Journalists, newspaper clippings
Folder 580: Israel
World Federation of Jewish Journalists, correspondence
Folder 583: Israeli Consulate
David Rivlin and others, correspondence, copy of cable, invitations
Folder 584: Jewish Agency
Folder 585: Jewish Book Council
Moshe Starkman, correspondence concerning Starkman, the YWU representative to Book Council, flyers, form letters
Folder 586: Jewish Daily Forward
Adolph Held, letters from Held and to him, copies of letters, calls for strikes, newspaper clipping, invitation, advertisement
Folder 587: Jewish Labor Committee
invitations, correspondence
Folder 588: Jewish National Fund
appeals for contributions and letters of thanks
Folder 589: Jewish Telegraphic Agency
correspondence about salaries and dues, hiring of Yiddish writer for JTA
Folder 590: Joint Distribution Committee
correspondence concerning JDC employees, filling vacancies, etc., newspaper clipping
Folder 591: Judson, S.
two letters to him
Folder 592: Kahn, Malke
correspondence about dispute with Day-Morning Journal
Folder 593: Katz, Morris (Alef)
one letter to him
Folder 594: Kerstein, Solomon
correspondence about his application for membership
Folder 595: Kinder Zhurnal
appeals, correspondence
Folder 599: Lebedige Zeitung (Living Newspaper)
financial calculations, newspaper clippings, correspondence, news releases
Folder 600: Lebedige Zeitung
correspondence, newspaper clippings, news release
Folder 601: Lebedige Zeitung
newspaper clippings, press releases
Folder 602: Lebedige Zeitung
newspaper clippings
Folder 603: Lebedige Zeitung
newspaper clippings, press releases
Folder 604: Lebedige Zeitung
newspaper clippings, press releases
Folder 607: Lebedige Zeitung
thank you letters for contributions
Folder 605: Lebedige Zeitung
newspaper clippings, press releases
Folder 606: Lebedige Zeitung
newspaper clippings, schedule, news releases, correspondence
Folder 596: Lebedige Zeitung
newspaper clippings, news releases about Lebedige Zeitung programs, correspondence about hall for program, etc.
Folder 597: Lebedige Zeitung
lecture fee check stubs, press releases, correspondence
Folder 598: Lebedige Zeitung
newspaper clippings, schedule, letter
Folder 608: Leivick Fund
thank you letters, letters accompanying contributions, receipts, correspondence with building committee of Leivick House in Tel Aviv, newspaper clippings, lists of contributors, form letters, greeting for inaugeration of Leivick House, telegram
Folder 609: Lexicon of Yiddish Literature
Uveeler, letters to Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture
Folder 610: Manger, Itzik
memorial announcement
Folder 611: Meetings
invitations to meetings
Box 32
Folder 613: Meetings
also correspondence of the executive committee with members, invitations to meetings
Folder 615: Meetings
Zalman Shazar, Moshe Ron, etc., announcements of meetings, press releases
Folder 614: Meetings
announcements of meetings, news releases
Folder 612: Meetings
invitations to meetings, etc.
Folder 616: Membership
for retirement dues, form letter
Folder 617: Membership requests
mainly applications for membership with answers
Folder 618: Menes, A.
two letters
Folder 619: Millman, S.
one letter and accomonaying material
Folder 622: Miscellaneous
1958, 1967-1970
copies of letters sent, incoming letters, one letterf rom Polish-Yiddish publishing house "Yiddish Buch" dated 1958, press releases
Folder 620: Miscellaneous
correspondence, form letters received, announcements, incoming letters, some outgoing letters, questionnaire, letters of reference
Folder 621: Miscellaneous
letters received, announcement of meetings sent out, list of dues owed, membership mailing list
Folder 623: Miscellaneous requests
requests for information with replies, other letters, invitations, announcements received, requests for donations
Folder 624: New members
applications for membership, answers, correspondence concerning dues
Folder 625: New York State Department of Labor
union reports, correspondence with state government, official reports to government, report on finances
Folder 626: One Hundred Years Yiddish Press in America
greetings, letters received, etc.
Folder 627: One Hundred Years Yiddish Press in America
tickets, form letters sent
Folder 628: One Hundred Years Yiddish Press in America
articles to Moshe Ron, cuts, etc., manuscripts, correspondence with Moshe Ron, other correspondence
Folder 629: One Hundred Years Yiddish Press in America
tickets count, lists of tickets purchased, letters about tickets
Folder 630: One Hundred Years Yiddish Press in America
Statler Hilton, invitations, replies etc., many letters to prominent people
Folder 631: One Hundred Years Yiddish Press in America
Statler Hilton, correspondence with the hotel, press releases, newspaper clippings, etc.
Folder 632: One Hundred Years Yiddish Press in America
publicity, correspondence, invitations to guests, press releases, newspaper clippings
Folder 633: One Hundred Years Yiddish Press in America
publicity, clippings from Israel press, photos
Box 33
Folder 634: Osherowitch, Mendel
correspondence etc. with Osherowitch Anniversary Committee
Folder 635: Papiernikoff, J.
correspondence and copies of telegram, invitation
Folder 636: Patt, Dr. E.
correspondence, addresses, obituary
Folder 637: Penn, Asher
correspondence concerning dispute
Folder 638: Piccadilly Hotel
Dr. N. Goldman, etc., reservations list, bill, correspondence with hotel, invitations, other correspondence, newspaper clippings, etc.
Folder 639: Polish Embassy
text of protest telegram
Folder 640: Publicity
new executive committee, newspaper clippings
Folder 641: Publicity sent out to different publications
press releases, mailing lists, newspaper clipping, accompanying letters
Folder 642: Ravitch, Melech
Folder 643: Relief to writers
letters accompanying subsidies, letters of thanks, letters on behalf of writers needing aid, pleas for aid, press release, correspondence
Folder 644: Resolutions
Conference of Jewish Journalists, March 28, 1968, letters accompanying resolution, mailing list, letters, text of resolutions
Folder 645: Rich, J. and William Wolpert
exchange of letters about a dispute
Folder 646: Rivlin, M.
press release, newspaper clipping, correspondence, invitation to event in his honor
Folder 647: Rogoff, Hillel
letter and bill for dues, copy of newspaper article
Folder 648: Ron, Moshe
invitations to reception in his honor, mailing list, correspondence with him and others, newspaper article, one letter dated 1956, mainly 1960-1969
Folder 649: Ron, Moshe
Israel, correspondence with Ron and other Israeli journalists and Associations of Israeli Journalists, text of telegram, memorandum, etc.
Folder 650: Rubin, S.N.
correspondence with and about him
Folder 651: Schoenfeld, A.
Folder 652: Serdatzky, Yente
letters from her
Folder 653: Setzer, S.H.
letters about him and on his behalf, invitation to memorial, news release and mailing list, correspondence with Setzer, telegram
Folder 654: Sher, Z.
letter and manuscript
Folder 655: Shoshkes, Dr. Chaim
telegrams on his death
Folder 656: Beth Sholem Aleichem
correspondence, also an invitation from Sholem Aleichem Folk Institute
Folder 657: Smolar, B.
one letter to him
Folder 658: Spizman, L.
two letters to him or about him
Folder 660: Starkman, Moshe
correspondence, press release
Folder 659: State of Israel bonds
letters asking for contributions
Folder 661: Suspension letters
to members overdue in payment of bills
Folder 662: Sztejnwaks, P.
Folder 663: Tenenbaum, S.
two letters from him
Folder 664: ThermoFax
Minnesota Mining Machines, sent to Israel, M. Ron, invoices, etc.
Folder 665: Tolush, I.
correspondence with him and on his behalf
Folder 666: Treasury Department
lists of matured bonds
Folder 667: United Hebrew Trades
correspondence, invitations, receipts for dues
Folder 668: United Israel Appeal
Asher Wolk, correspondence about his employment
Folder 669: United Jewish Appeal
correspondence, etc.
Folder 670: Weinreich, Dr. Max
correspondence, two letters
Folder 671: Winograd, M.
Folder 672: Wolk, Asher
correspondence concerning his employment for American Zionist Council
Folder 673: Workmen's Circle
correspondence, mainly dealing with contributions, invitations
Folder 674: World Federation of Jewish Journalists
letter accompanying WJFF questionnaire, blank questionnaire
Folder 675: World Jewish Congress
Memorial Foundation, Uveeler, Dr. N. Goldman, letters to Goldman
Folder 676: Yearbook
correspondence about proposed yearbook "Yiddish Lebn"
Folder 678: Yiddish Dictionary Committee
correspondence, receipts for contributions, form letters about contributions
Folder 677: YIVO
correspondence, invitations, correspondence about YWU archives
Folder 679: Zukunft (Future)
correspondence, bills, receipts, form letters
Folder 680: Zylbercweig, Zalmen

Browse by Series:

Series 1: Series I: Minutes, 1903, 1919-1972,
Series 2: Series II: Finances, 1917-1972,
Series 3: Series III: Correspondence, 1911-1941,
Series 4: Series IV: Fund for Jewish Refugee Writers – Correspondence, 1939-1946,
Series 5: Series V: Correspondence (yellow series), 1935-1946,
Series 6: Series VI: Correspondence (blue series), 1941-1958,
Series 7: Series VII: Correspondence, 1946-1973,
Series 8: Series VIII: Financial Correspondence, Current Matters and Miscellaneous, 1909-1973,
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