Monday, January 1, 2007

Cry For Help

It's about to get harder for me to spend as much time as I'd like on research for this project. That's why I'm calling on you, my legions of readers -- and make no mistake, your numbers are so vast that to keep count takes almost all of my fingers -- for research help.

The following list contains the many people, places, organizations, musical references, events and details of New York life that appear in Papa's diary. If you know about or are interested in any of these subjects, please write to me at papasdiary 'at' or post comments about them. If you’d really like to dig in to a subject that might require ongoing research or collaboration, let me know and I'll set up a collaborative document for us to work on.

Note: If you want to delve into anything under a "some information already collected" heading, please let me know and I'll share with you what I've got.





Total mysteries:

  • David Wolpohn Club
  • Downtown Zionist Club
  • Holland Belgium Club
  • Jewish Students Club
  • Judea Insurance Company
  • Kessler Zion Club
  • Kinereth Camp (probably a B'nai Zion camp in Borough Park)
Some information already collected:
  • B'nai Zion (a.k.a. Order Sons of Zion)
  • Bar Kochba camp of B'nai Zion
  • Hebrew Free Loan Society
  • Keren Hayesod
  • Montefiore Home (later hospital)
  • Tikwaith Yehuda club
  • Zionist Organization of America
  • Information or artifacts and photos relating to Jewish fraternal organizations in general
People (many names are incomplete in the diary, but most of these people would be affiliated with B'nai Zion, Keren Hayesod or the Zionist Organization of America):

Total mysteries:

  • "Mr. Graf"
  • Rabbi David Horowitz
  • Leibel Krebs (described as "a legendary figure from the old country")
  • "Dr. Schecter"
  • "Dr. Thon"
  • And a ZOA organizer mysteriously named "Blitz"
  • I.S. Hurwich
Some information already collected:
  • "Rabbi Cook"
  • Joseph Bluestone
  • David Blaustien
  • Abraham Goldberg
  • Arthur Ruppin
  • "Judge Strahl"
  • Maurice Samuel
  • "Mr. Zeldin"
  • Eisig (Isaac) Roth
  • David Yelies or Yellis, a Zionist who lived in Palestine and visited New York in 1924
President Calvin Coolidge
  • Relationships with Zionism and labor
  • February 12 speech on radio
  • February 22 speech on radio
  • Radio announcement of reelection on November 4

Total mysteries:
  • Boisy (?) Hotel
  • Malick's Restaurant
  • Regina Mansion
  • Snyatyn Synagogue
Some information already collected:
  • Pennsylvania Hotel
  • Café Royal
  • Spring Valley, New York -- Jewish summer colonies or other Jewish presence
Movies and Movie Theaters

Total mysteries:
  • Lists of releases playing in New York for each month of 1924
Some information already collected:
  • Capitol Theatre
  • Clinton Theatre
  • "Woman of Paris"
  • Academy of Music
  • "Song of Love"
  • "White Sister"

Some information already collected:
  • Abe Goldstein (a professional boxer; won a title fight in 1924)
  • 1924 New York Yankees
  • 1924 New York Giants
  • 1924 Brooklyn Robins (a.k.a. "Dodgers")

General and specific information needed:
  • Central Park in the 20's, esp. scenes of people rowing
  • Coney Island of the 20's (overall experience, transportation, summer rental lockers)
Music (history, clips, general background, 1924 prevailing opinion, reviews or performances and recordings):
  • "Drigo's Serendade"
  • Eastern European Folk tunes that would have been played in immigrant-oriented Radio in 1924
  • Gypsy String Orchestra (particularly their radio presence in the 1920's)
  • "Gypsy Chardash"
  • "Indian Love Lyrics" (?)
  • Kessler's Theater
  • "Kreuzer Sonata" (at Kessler's theater on 10/9/24)
  • "Rubenstein's Romance"
  • "Shubert's Waltz op 64#2"
  • "Sleeping Beauty
  • "Straus's Waltz, Artist's Dream"
  • "Tosca"
Opera (history, clips, general background, 1924 prevailing opinion, reviews or performances and recordings):
  • "Cavalleria rusticana" (March 8th Performance)
  • "Carmen" (December 4th performance at the Met)
  • "Le Roi de Lahore" (March 26th at the Met)
  • L'Cock D'or (heard on radio march 30)
  • L'Oracolo" (heard on radio march 30)
  • Madame Butterfly" (November 22nd performance)
  • "Martha" (December 5th performance)
  • "Mefistofele" (with Chaliapin, November 24 performance)
  • "Pagliacci (March 8th Performance)
  • "Tannhauser" (November 5th at the Met) would also love an English translation of Heine's Elementargeister, on which this opera is partly based
  • General History of the Met, the New York Opera scene, and what the Opera experience would have been like for cash-strapped immigrants
Radio events and history:
  • 1924 Democratic convention coverage radio coverage
  • November 4 Election returns coverage
  • November 5 Coolidge reelection announcement
  • 1924 Democratic convention coverage, esp. June 26, June 30, July 8
  • April 14 Daughters of the American Revolution ceremony
  • Radio Station WEAF
  • WNYC history esp. early broadcasts in July and August
  • Cars (Photos and information regarding cars available to immigrants in the 1920's)
  • Writing instruments (Photos of pens and pencils used in the 1920's)
  • Telephones (usage and technology in 1924, images of private phones in 1920's)
  • Public transportation (trolley and subway history, maps, fare information, usage in 1920's)

Update 6/18/07:

Reader Ben writes:

In your "Notes on Usage" article, you remark that your grandfather began quotations with quote marks at the bottom of the line. This is the typographic standard for German and, I think, Polish. In computer typography (Unicode especially), they're referred to as "low-nine quotes"
Ben is working on some software to facilitate manuscript transcription. You can read about it at his blog,


  1. spring valley, new york is part of suburban rockland county which is 30 minutes northwest of new york city. currently spring valley and its neighboring town monsey are home to one of the country's largest concentration of orthodox jews. (the rest of rockland county is also densely populated with jews of all denominations)probably in the 1920's it was more rural and used as a summertime retreat for urban dwellers such as papa and other LES jews. since people began to move out of the city and populate suburbs such as rockland and westchester counties in the 1940's and 1950's, people began moving further north for such summertime family retreats. for example the catskill mountain region.

  2. 'Rabbi Cook' is Rav Avraham Isaac Kook (1864-1935), first rabbi of the British Mandate for Palestine, legendary Torah scholar and important influence on religious Zionism.
    See his entry on Wikipedia.

  3. About Arthur Ruppin you can see:

  4. Something about WEAF:

  5. B'nai Zion Detail:

  6. "White Sister" refers to The White Sister, a drama made in 1922 starring Lillian Gish. There is a Wikipedia page on the 1933 remake:

    "Indian Love lyrics" probably refer to a popular song of the era called "Indian Love Call". Once you hear it you'll know it - it's a common standard that's been recorded numerous times, and was even used to save the Earth in "Mars Attacks!"

    The lyrics (by Rudolf Frimi):
    I am calling you
    I will answer too
    That means I offer my love to you
    If you refuse it I will be blue
    And waiting all alone
    But if when you hear my love call ringing clear
    And I hear your love call echoing so near
    Then I know our love will come true
    You'll belong to me
    I'll belong to you
    When I will call our love will come true
    You'll belong to me
    I'll belong to you

    Here's a YouTube link to the Slim Whitman version from the 1950s:

    and finally, here's a great website I found that sells restored antique and reproduction 1920s phones:

    You have a wonderful project going and I will stop by to read often!

    Jennifer ^_^

  7. "A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate" came out in 1923; it starred Edna Purviance in the title role (Marie), Carl Miller as the unfortunate boyfriend, Clarence Geldart as Marie's father, and the great Adophe Menjou as her lover. It was written and directed by Charlie Chaplin, and is very different from most of his early stuff. Some people hate it, others love it. Plot synopsis: Marie St. Clair believes she has been jilted by her artist fiance Jean when he fails to meet her at the railway station. She goes off to Paris alone. A year later, mistress of wealthy Pierre Revel, she meets Jean again. Misinterpreting events she bounces back and forth between apparent security and true love. Also misinterpreting, Jean commits suicide.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Forgot to credit IMDB for the synopsis:

    where you can find out much, much more

    Also IMDB page for the 1923 Lilian Gish version of "The White Sister"

  10. "The Indian Love Lyrics" was a 1923 film based very loosely on a poem in Laurence Hope's collection *The Garden of Kama." Amy Woodforde-Finden set four of those poems to music, of which the most famous is certainly "Pale Hands I Loved Beside the Shalimar." They were very popular parlour performance pieces--exotic, artsy, a little vampy.

  11. Do you keep a diary of your own?

    Written letters and paper journals seem to be a fading memory of our generation. What will our grandkids and great-grandkids have to ready of ours? Surely, our Youtube or Flickr accounts won't be intact in 80-100 years.