A New Yiddish Recording (Nearly) Every Day

We’re excited about the opportunities our new website presents, especially when it comes to sharing materials from the Mayrent Collection of Yiddish Recordings. While designing the site, we focused on creating innovative features that would allow visitors to more easily explore the 6000+ recordings from the Collection.

Label image for P. Vejnberg, "A Brivele Der Mame" (Syrena Grand 9683).

Today, we’re thrilled to launch a new project that allows us to present a new recording from the Mayrent Collection nearly every day of the year. Check it out over at our Collection page, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see all of our latest posts. 

Here’s how it works: drawing on original genealogical and historical research conducted by Institute staff and utilizing Zalmen Zylbercweig’s seven-volume Lexicon of the Yiddish Theater, we’ve identified and confirmed (as best we can) birth dates for over 70 performers featured in the Collection. On these dates, we’ll provide a brief biography and a recording from the performer’s career. For the remaining posts, we’ll feature a performance recorded on that day in history with discographic information provided by Richard Spottswood’s invaluable Ethnic Music on Record.

Our goal with this project is to feature the full breadth of the Mayrent Collection, from early klezmer and theater recordings to cantorial hymns and comedic sketches. With that in mind, we’ve selected recordings from world-famous singers like Molly Picon and Yoselle Rosenblatt to less heralded performers like actor Morris Tuchband (born March 15, 1885), who recorded only two sides for Victor in 1918 before retiring from the stage.

The Mayrent Collection of Yiddish Recordings is an ongoing project, and we still have several hundred recordings yet to be digitized. Cataloging is nearly complete, and we currently host 2200+ recordings—complete with discographic information and metadata—at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections website.

The Mayrent Institute would like to thank Jeanette Casey, Matt Appleby, Ron Wiecki (now retired), the entire Mills Music Library staff, and UW Digital Collections Center staff for helping get this project off the ground.