“PAYING HOMAGE TO THE BEST-LOVED YIDDISH WRITER OF HIS TIME”
(ALEICHEM, Sholom) RABINOWITZ, Olga. Photographic Funeral Album. [New York]: (Olga Rabinowitz, 1916). Slim oblong quarto, original stiff paper wrappers, cord-tied as issued; pp. 26. $1200.
First edition of this scarce photographic album commemorating the legacy of Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem,with black-and-white photogravure plates, most showing his 1916 funeral procession through New York City streets crowded with mourners, published shortly after the funeral by his wife Olga Rabinovitz.
On his death in May 1916, a generation mourned the passing of the Russian-born Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem, who remains one of the most popular Jewish authors, “both in the original and in translation, though it is quite impossible to convey his rich, idiomatic, colorful and variegated style” in anything other than Yiddish (Encyclopaedia Judaica, 811). Aleichem’s New York City funeral was the largest yet seen there. “As the funeral cortege passed, thousands upon thousands of Jews lined the streets, paying homage to the best-loved Yiddish writer of his time” (Gassner, 784). This fragile album follows the horse-drawn hearse carrying Aleichem’s body as mourners line the streets and the procession moves from Harlem across the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn. One Yiddish newspaper described the sad day as “a meeting-place for the children of the entire Diaspora.” Text in Yiddish. With frontispiece portrait, facsimiles of Aleichem’s writing and photogravure plates captioned in Yiddish.
Plates generally fresh with light soiling, endpapers renewed, text block and original wrappers expertly restored. A very good copy.