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Shiplacoff, Abraham Isaac


SHIPLACOFF, ABRAHAM ISAAC (1877–1934), U.S. labor and Socialist leader. Shiplacoff, who was born in Chernigov, Russia, immigrated to the United States in 1891. He worked under sweatshop conditions as a sewing-machine operator for seven years, and then taught at Brooklyn Public School 84. During this period he founded the William Morris Educational Club, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, later part of the Socialist Party. He was a clerk in the customs service for a time.

An "old Socialist" devoted to the union movement, Shiplacoff held several union posts and served on the national executive committee of the Socialist Party, but due to his lack of skill as a tactician he did not establish himself in any one labor organization. He served as secretary to United Hebrew Trades for some years after 1910. As manager of the New York Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, he organized the tailors' general strike in 1920–21. He was president of the International Leather Goods Workers Union from 1927 to 1930. A magnetic speaker and a political aspirant who remained close to his community's feelings and needs, Shiplacoff was the first Socialist elected to the New York State Assembly. He represented his Brownsville (Brooklyn) district in Albany for two terms, 1915–18; in his second term he served as party leader. He was one of the Socialist leaders indicted for sedition under the Espionage Act in 1919, but the indictment against him was dismissed. Shiplacoff represented the 49th Aldermanic District in Brooklyn on the New York Board of Aldermen from 1919 to 1921. In 1929 he campaigned unsuccessfully for the post of Brooklyn Borough president. A park and playground in Brownsville were named for him in 1938.


M. Epstein, Jewish Labor in the U.S.A., 2 (1953), index; A.F. Landesman, Brownsville: The Birth, Development and Passing of a Jewish Community in New York (1969), 114–5, 119.

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