August 8, 2012 Library of Congress Hosts September Symposium on Yiddish Radio
Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302
Public Contact: American Folklife Center (202) 707-5510
Much has been written on mainstream American radio during the height of its influence in the mid-20th century; however, documenting the history and development of non-English-language broadcasting in the United States during this period has been severely hampered by the scarcity of contemporary primary-source materials.
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress will present a symposium on “The Stations That Spoke Your Language: Radio and the Yiddish-American Cultural Renaissance” Sept. 6-7. Leading Yiddish language and culture experts will join media scholars and Library of Congress specialists to address Yiddish radio in America, its history and cultural impact, its continuing influence on American media, and its multifaceted legacy. The symposium marks the center’s recent acquisition of the Henry Sapoznik Collection of more than 1,000 historic Yiddish radio broadcasts from the 1920s through the 1950s.
The symposium will take place on Thursday, Sept. 6 beginning at 2 p.m. and on Friday, Sept. 7 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington D.C. Presented in collaboration with the Hebraic Section of the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, the symposium is free of charge, but reservations are recommended. For reservations, email [email protected] and put “Symposium Reservation” in the subject line. For a complete schedule, visit www.loc.gov/folklife/Symposia/yiddishradio/index.html.
With the acquisition of the Sapoznik Collection, Library researchers will now have access to more than 1,145 discs and images, correspondence and a wealth of related materials documenting some 212 Yiddish radio programs, which preserve genres as diverse as news, drama, musical comedy, man-on-the-street interviews, quiz shows, mediation programs, advertising, poetry and religious discussions. The collection was the basis for the 2002 Peabody-Award-winning NPR series “The Yiddish Radio Project,” which reached 13 million listeners a week and was co-produced by Henry Sapoznik and David Isay.
The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs, and training. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/folklife/.
The beginnings of the Hebraic Section may be traced to a gift in 1912 from Jacob H. Schiff of nearly 10,000 books and pamphlets from the collection of well-known bibliographer and bookseller Ephraim Deinard. The Library is celebrating the centennial of this gift with an exhibition titled “Words Like Sapphires: 100 Years of Hebraica at the Library of Congress, 1912-2012.” The exhibition will be on view Oct. 25, 2012, through March 16, 2013, in the South Gallery of the Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. For more information on the Hebraic Section and its collections, visit www.loc.gov/rr/amed/hs/hshome.html.