Jacob Mikhailovich Gordin (1853 - 1909)

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Nicknames: "Ivan Koliuchy", "Jacob Gordin", "Jakov Mikhailovich", "Jakov Mikhailovitch"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Myrhorod, Poltavs'ka oblast, Ukraine
Death: Died in Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA
Managed by: Uri Goren
Last Updated:

About Jacob Mikhailovich Gordin

Jewish Encyclopedia; GORDIN, JACOB (JAKOV MIKHAILOVICH): Yiddish playwright and reformer; born May 1, 1853, in Mirgorod, government of Poltava. He received a good education and acquired a thorough knowledge of Hebrew. In 1870 he began to contribute articles to various Russian periodicals. His first sketches appeared in "Zarya," the organ of the Liberals of South Russia. In 1880 he wrote for "Nedyelya" a series of short stories of Jewish life, and also a novel entitled "Liberal-Narodnik." For a time Gordin was unofficially the editor of "Yelisavetgradski Vyestnik" and "Odesskiya Novosti," to which he contributed weeky feuilletons under the pseudonym "Ivan Koliuchy." In 1879 Gordin founded in Yelisavetgrad the rational sect of the Bibleitzy ("Bible Brotherhood"), which broke away from dogmatic Judaism. He remained the moving spirit of the fraternity throughout its short career. In 1890 he emigrated to New York. In America Gordin entered a new field of literature, becoming a Yiddish playwright. In this capacity he has done much to improve the Jewish stage, which, largely through his efforts, has attained a reputable position. Gordin is a prolific writer, and, since his first play, "Siberia," was produced in 1891, has composed about sixty Jewish dramas and vaudevilles. While some of these belong to the poorest kind of literature, others have scarcely their equal on the Jewish stage, and may justly be ranked among the higher productions of dramatic art. Gordin's best plays are: "The Yiddish King Lear," "Mirele Effros," "Shechite," "Sappho," "Gott, Mensch un Taiwel," "Kreutzer Sonata," "Yetomoh."

Gordin has also written in Yiddish a number of sketches, some of which are pathetic, and some grotesquely humorous 1900 census:

Name:	Jacob W Gordin
[Jacob Gardin] 
Age:	48
Birth Date:	May 1852
Birthplace:	Russia
Home in 1900:	Brooklyn Ward 22, Kings, New York [Kings] 
Race:	White
Gender:	Male
Immigration Year:	1891
Relation to Head of House:	Head
Marital Status:	Married
Spouse's Name:	Anna Gordin
Marriage Year:	1872
Years Married:	28
Father's Birthplace:	Russia
Mother's Birthplace:	Russia

Household Members:

Name	Age
Jacob W Gordin	48
Anna Gordin	28
Lizzie Gordin	22
Samuel Gordin	21
Alexander Gordin	18
Werra Gordin	15
Jacob Gordin	13
Michael ( James) Gordin	11
Nettie Gordin	9
George Gordin	8
Leo Gordin	6
Helen Gordin	3

The family of the well known Yiddish play writer; Jacob Gordin (died in New York in 1909)----

I found his wife; Anna Gordin, living with daughter, Nettie and and son Leon in the 1920 census.

Name:    Anna Gordin
Age:    57 years ( Beth, her great granddaughter,  told me that she was born in 1859)------
Estimated birth year:    abt 1863---
Birthplace:    Russia-------
Race:    White------
Home in 1920:    Bronx, Bronx, New York------
Home owned:    rented----
Marital status:    widow---
Year of immigration:    1890--
Able to read & write:-----
Roll:    T625_1141
Page:    7A
ED:    418------

They wrote that the family spoke German ( most likely Yiddish)--

She lived with son Leon, age 24, accountant ( Commercial?) and daughter Nettie, age 26, Secretary ( Commercial?)----

They wrote that she came to the country in 1890 and was Na in 1902

-------------------------

In the 1910 census

Name:    Anna J Gordin  a widow-
Age in 1910:    50-
Estimated birth year:    abt 1860-
Home in 1910:    23-Wd Brooklyn, Kings, New York--
Race:    White--
Gender:    Female--
Series:    T624-
Roll:    972-
Part:    2-
Page:    97A-
Year:    1910-

living with her were seven children. Sons Samuel? age 29, Alexander? age 28, James?, age 24 and George?, age 18 were born in Russia, daughter Nettie, age 19 also born in Russia;

They arrived to the country from Russia in 1893 and then Anna had a son age Leon age 15, and a daughter Hellen, age 13, both born in New York

----

Jewish Encyclopedia

GORDIN, JACOB (JAKOV MIKHAILOVICH):

Yiddish playwright and reformer; born May 1, 1853, in Mirgorod, government of Poltava. He received a good education and acquired a thorough knowledge of Hebrew. In 1870 he began to contribute articles to various Russian periodicals. His first sketches appeared in "Zarya," the organ of the Liberals of South Russia. In 1880 he wrote for "Nedyelya" a series of short stories of Jewish life, and also a novel entitled "Liberal-Narodnik." For a time Gordin was unofficially the editor of "Yelisavetgradski Vyestnik" and "Odesskiya Novosti," to which he contributed weeky feuilletons under the pseudonym "Ivan Koliuchy."

In 1879 Gordin founded in Yelisavetgrad the rational sect of the Bibleitzy ("Bible Brotherhood"), which broke away from dogmatic Judaism. He remained the moving spirit of the fraternity throughout its short career. In 1890 he emigrated to New York.

In America Gordin entered a new field of literature, becoming a Yiddish playwright. In this capacity he has done much to improve the Jewish stage, which, largely through his efforts, has attained a reputable position. Gordin is a prolific writer, and, since his first play, "Siberia," was produced in 1891, has composed about sixty Jewish dramas and vaudevilles. While some of these belong to the poorest kind of literature, others have scarcely their equal on the Jewish stage, and may justly be ranked among the higher productions of dramatic art. Gordin's best plays are: "The Yiddish King Lear," "Mirele Effros," "Shechite," "Sappho," "Gott, Mensch un Taiwel," "Kreutzer Sonata," "Yetomoh."

Gordin has also written in Yiddish a number of sketches, some of which are pathetic, and some grotesquely humorous.

Wikipedia

Jacob Michailovitch Gordin (May 1, 1853–June 11, 1909) was a Russian-born American playwright active in the early years of Yiddish theater. He is known for introducing realism and naturalism into Yiddish theater.

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature characterizes him as "the acknowledged reformer of the Yiddish stage". At the time of his rise, professional Yiddish theater was still dominated by the spirit of the early (1886–1888) plays of its founder, Abraham Goldfaden, which derived in no small measure from Purim plays, often spectacles more than dramas; Goldfaden's later works were generally operettas on more serious subjects, perhaps edifying, but not naturalistic. Again quoting the Cambridge History, after his 1892 arrival in New York City, "Gordin took the Yiddish drama in America from the realm of the preposterous and put a living soul into it", bringing it up to the level of "realistic melodrama".

Life and career

Born in Mirgorod (also known as Novomirgorod), Ukraine, Russian Empire, Gordin received a liberal though irregular education at home. When he came to New York in July, 1891, he was already a reformer and a fairly well recognized Russian writer. He had also been a farmer, a journalist, a shipyard worker in Odessa, and, reportedly, an actor. When he first arrived in New York, he tried to scratch out a living writing for Russian-language newspapers and the socialist Arbayter Tsaytung (precursor to The Forward), but his acquaintanceship with the noted Jewish actors Jacob Adler and Sigmund Mogulesko prompted him to try his hand at play-writing. His first play, Siberia was based on a true story about a man sent as a prisoner to Siberia who escaped, lived out a normal life for many years, and was then exiled again. Although initially it met a rocky reception (as did his second play, Two Worlds), it was critical success. His third play, Der yidisher kenig lir (The Jewish King Lear) loosely adapted from Shakespeare and the Russian writer Nikolai Leskov's "King Lear of the Steppe", and set in 19th century Russia, laid the foundation of his career as Yiddish playwright. The play drew a new audience of Russian-Jewish intellectuals to the Yiddish theater; it constituted a defining moment in Adler's career as well as Gordin's, and is widely seen as ushering in the first "Golden Age" of Yiddish theater in New York. [Rosenfeld, 1977]

To some extent he had to compromise his modernist vision with the theatrical conventions of the time. As in the plays of Goldfaden, Hurwitch, and Lateiner, dancing and songs unrelated to the plot still occupied a prominent part in the play, but Gordin's plots were naturalistic and the characters were living persons. Under the influence of his plays, Jewish actors began to regard their profession as one which calls for study and an earnest attitude.

Gordin is noted more for bringing naturalism and realism into the Yiddish theater than as an intrinsically great dramatist. Again quoting the Cambridge History, "With all the realism of his situations, with all the genuineness of his characters, he was rather a producer of plays for a particular theatrical troupe than a writer of drama. That his comic characters generally stand in organic relation to the play is one of his chief merits. Of his many pieces (about 70 or 80) only a score or so have been published." They single out as some of his best Mirele Efros, Got, Mentsh un Tayvl (God, Man, and Devil, based on Goethe's Faust), and Der Umbakanter (The Unknown).

--------------------

Yacov Gordin was a playwright active in the early years of Yiddish theater. He is known for introducing realism and naturalism into Yiddish theater.Among his plays "Mirele Efros", "Der yidisher kenig lir" (The Jewish King Lear), "Di litvishe brider lurie (The Lurie Brothers from Lithuania) and many more.

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Jacob Gordin's Timeline

1853
May 1, 1853
Myrhorod, Poltavs'ka oblast, Ukraine
1882
1882
Age 28
Odesa, Odes'ka oblast, Ukraine
1882
Age 28
Odessa, Odes'ka, Ukraine
1887
1887
Age 33
Russian Federation
1889
1889
Age 35
1891
August 31, 1891
Age 38
Russian Federation
1895
March, 1895
Age 41
New York, New York, New York, United States
1899
1899
Age 45
New York, New York, NY, USA
1909
June 11, 1909
Age 56
Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA
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