Friday, January 14, 2011

"Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" Museum Transliteration Project Complete

The Museum has now completed the transliteration from Yiddish to English of all names listed within the six volumes of Zalmen Zylbercweig's "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre."

On this database is included the following information (all when available):

Surname, given name, alterate names, date of birth, date of death, and town and country of birth (usually the name of the town at the time they were born--most were born in the second half of the nineteenth century or first decade of the twentieth).

Also listed is the page on which each name appears in these six volumes, not only the original book page number, but also the page number on the pdf version that's online--this is a very helpful finding aid when trying to locate a specific page. In addition, there are also thirty Yiddish theatre organizations included within this master list.

YIVO orthographic (name spelling) standards have been used most often in compiling this database, though this was a daunting task.

There are more than 2,700 individual names listed within this master list. The most often represented town/city of individual births is not unexpectedly Warszawa; the number is 213, more than double the number of the second most frequent, Lodz; then farther down the list but close behind comes Odessa, Lemberg, Vilna and Iasi.

These six volumes of the Lexicon were published in either New York City, Warsaw or Mexico City between 1931 and 1969. The entire six volumes are in Yiddish, so while transliterating the names was a very time-consuming task, it was doable even for a non-Yiddish speaker.

There is much good information biographically for most of those individuals listed. It is hoped that fluent Yiddish speakers will come forth and volunteer to translate some of these passages into English. If you'd like to volunteer to translate--perhaps you have a town of interest and would like to add a translated biography to your own town webpage--please contact the Museum.

It should be noted that not all Yiddish actors and actresses that ever lived are included within these six volumes, but there is more than enough names and information about individuals and organizations and theatre groups to maintain one's interest, assuming one's interest lies in the Yiddish theatre.

Within these six volumes, there are also many photos of scenes of plays, of actors in their roles and many illustrations.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. Where can I find this transliteration? I believe my great-aunt may be in it. Thanks.

    Jeff Branzburg