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Litvin, A.


LITVIN, A. (pseudonym of Shmuel Hurwitz ; 1862–1943) Yiddish journalist, poet, editor, and folklorist. Born in Minsk, he was self-educated. Believing in "redemption through physical labor," he tried to earn a living as street paver, carpenter, and typesetter, while contributing articles on miscellaneous subjects to Russian, Hebrew, and Yiddish periodicals. In 1901 he immigrated to the U.S., where he worked in a shoe factory and wrote for Yiddish journals. During the 1905 Revolution, he returned to Russia, edited the Vilna monthly Lebn un Visnshaft (1909–12), and published studies on *Shomer (1910) and I.M. *Dik (1911). Returning to New York in 1914, he wrote for radical and Labor Zionist organs, as well as for the dailies, the Forverts and Morgn-Zhurnal. During travels through the Polish, Lithuanian, and Galician Jewish communities (1905–14) he accumulated vast material on Yiddish folklore, folk characters, and half-forgotten villages, part of which he utilized in his main work Yidishe Neshomes ("Jewish Souls," 6 vols., 1916–17), a panorama of exotic, picturesque Jewish life in preceding generations. Selections from these volumes were translated into Hebrew by A. *Kariv and published in 1943. The greater part of Litvin's collection of Yiddish folk songs, folktales, and folk humor was deposited in the archives of *yivo in New York and forms a rich source for scholarly research.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 2 (1927), 142–6; lnyl, 5 (1963), 94–7; B.I. Bialostotsky, In Kholem un Vor (1956), 409–16; Kressel, Leksikon, 2 (1967), 263. add. bibliography: D. Charney, Barg Aruf (1935), 226–29; Sh. Levin, Untererdishe Kemfer (1946), 323–25; Tolush, Yidishe Shrayber (1955), 179–84.

[Sol Liptzin]

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