Shatzky, Jacob

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SHATZKY, JACOB (1893–1956), historian. Born in Warsaw, Shatzky received his doctorate in 1922 for a dissertation on 19th-century Polish-Jewish history. During World War i he served as an officer in the Polish Legion. From 1913 on he wrote Polish articles and reviews on Jewish literary and historical subjects. He came to write mainly in Yiddish after 1922, the year he settled in the U.S., where he was one of the founders of the U.S. section of *yivo. From 1929 until his death he was librarian of the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Shatzky's range was extraordinarily wide: Spinoza, psychiatry, theater, music, folklore, literature, language, and other areas. His principal field, however, was Eastern European Jewish history, and his major work was his history of Warsaw Jewry. He was an indefatigable and often querulous reviewer of scholarly works. The quality and accuracy of his own historical scholarship has often been questioned.


M. Kosover and M. Unger, in: Annual of the Yiddish Scientific Institute, 2 (1939), 249–329 (Yid.), list of works 1913–39; Malachi, in: Shatsky Bukh (1958), 325–68, list of works 1940–56; Rejzen, Leksikon, 4 (1929), 489–94.

[Leonard Prager]