Abraham Cahan

Abraham Cahan

Abraham Cahan (July 7, 1860 - August 31 1951) [http://www.britannica.com/eb/question-88375/51/Abraham-Cahan-died] . ] was a Russian-American novelist and labor leader.

He was born in Podberezhye, Lithuania, into a Jewish Orthodox family. His grandfather was a rabbi and preacher in Vidz, Vitebsk; and his father was a teacher of Hebrew and Talmud. The family, which was devoutly Orthodox, moved in 1866 to Wilna (Vilnius); there young Cahan received the usual Jewish preparatory education for the rabbinate. He, however, was attracted by secular knowledge and clandestinely studied the Russian language, ultimately prevailing on his parents to allow him to enter the Teachers Institute of Wilna, from which he was graduated in 1881. He was appointed teacher in a Jewish government school in Velizh, Vitebsk, in the same year; but a domiciliary visit by the police, resulting from his connection with the revolutionary movement, caused him to flee the country.

In 1881 he emigrated to the United States to escape the mass roundups of revolutionaries following the assassination of Russia's Tsar Alexander II. After many vicissitudes, he arrived in New York City in June, 1882. Having become an ardent socialist while in Russia, he devoted all the time he could spare from work and study to spread his favorite ideas among the Jewish working men of New York. He thus became the pioneer socialist labor leader among them, and was the first in the United States to deliver socialist speeches in Yiddish. Cahan was either originator, collaborator, or editor of almost all the earlier socialist periodicals published in that language. He occupied various positions in labor organizations, from walking delegate to representative at the International Socialist Congress at Brussels. He was the founder-editor of the Yiddish newspaper, "Forverts". By 1924 "Forverts" had over a quarter of a million readers, making it the most successful non-English-language newspaper in the U.S. and the leading Yiddish paper in the world.

Cahan quickly mastered the English language, and four years after his arrival in New York taught immigrants in one of the evening schools. Later he began to contribute articles to the "Sun" and other newspapers printed in English, and was for several years employed in a literary capacity by the "Commercial Advertiser," where we was a regular contributor. While his Yiddish writings are mostly confined to propaganda, his literary work in English is mainly descriptive; and he has few, if any, equals in the United States in depicting the life of the so-called "ghetto," where he lived and worked for more than twenty years. "A Providential Match" was the first of Cahan's tales to be published (in "Short Stories," 1895).

His first novel, "Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto", was published in 1896. (In 1975 it would be released as the film, "Hester Street"). The graphic story of an Americanized Russo-Jewish immigrant, it attracted much attention and was favorably commented on by the press both in America and in England. W. D. Howells compared Cahan's work to that of Stephen Crane, and prophesied for him a successful literary future ("The World," New York, July 26, 1896). Cahan's next work of fiction, "The Imported Bridegroom, and Other Stories", published in 1898, was also well received and favorably noticed by the general press. Of his shorter publications, the article on the Russian Jews in the United States, which appeared in the "Atlantic Monthly," July, 1898, deserves to be specially mentioned. His other important work, "The Rise of David Levinsky", was published in 1917.

Cahan also wrote a 5-volume Yiddish-language autobiography, "Bleter fun mayn Leben", the first three volumes of which were translated into English as "The Education of Abraham Cahan".


External links

* [http://www.myjewishlearning.com/culture/literature/Overview_Jewish_American_Literature/Immigrant_Literature/Literature_Cahan_Norton.htm Biography at myjewishlearninf.com]
* [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/cahan.html Biography at jewishvirtuallibrary.org]
* [http://college.hmco.com/english/lauter/heath/4e/students/author_pages/late_nineteenth/cahan_ab.html Biography at Houghton Mifflin]
* [http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=690 Literary Encyclopedia] (in-progress)
*gutenberg author|id=Abraham_Cahan|name=Abraham Cahan
* [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0128605/ Abraham Cahan] at the Internet Movie Database

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Abraham Cahan — (1937) Abraham Cahan (* 7. Juli 1860 in Podberesy, heute im Rajon Smarhon in Weißrussland; † 31. August 1951 in New York City) war ein amerikanischer Journalist, Publizist und Schriftsteller. In Litauen beteiligte er sich in seiner Studienzeit an …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • CAHAN, ABRAHAM — (1860–1951), editor, author, and socialist leader. Cahan, who was born in the town of Pabrade (Podberezye) near Vilna, seemed in many ways to incarnate the epic Jewish migration from Eastern Europe to America. Driven by a rare blend of common… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • Cahan, Abraham — ▪ American writer born July 7, 1860, Vilna, Russian Empire [now Vilnius, Lithuania] died Aug. 31, 1951, New York, N.Y., U.S.       journalist, reformer, and novelist who for more than 40 years served as editor of the New York Yiddish language… …   Universalium

  • Cahan — Cahan,   1) [ kʌhʌn], Abraham, amerikanischer Schriftsteller und Journalist, * Podberezy (bei Vilnius) 6. 6. 1860, ✝ New York 31. 8. 1951; kam 1882 in die USA; leitete den »Jewish Daily Forward«, eine Zeitung, die sich auf Jiddisch an die… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Cahan, Abraham — (1860–1951)    US Yiddish editor. Cahan arrived in New York from Vilna in 1882. For nearly fifty years he edited the famous Yiddish paper, Jewish Daily Forward, that at its height had a quarter million circulation. It was the mouthpiece of the… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Cahan — /kah hahn/, n. Abraham, (Abe), 1860 1951, U.S. novelist and journalist, born in Russia. * * * …   Universalium

  • Cahan — /kah hahn/, n. Abraham, (Abe), 1860 1951, U.S. novelist and journalist, born in Russia …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cahan, Abraham — (1860 1951)    American Yiddish journalist and author. He was born in Lithuania and settled in the US in 1882. He organized the first Jewish tailors union and founded Yiddish periodicals to propagate his theories of socialism and Americanization …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Forward (Zeitung) — Abraham Cahan, Gründer und bis 1945 Herausgeber des Forward …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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