Nyu York [New York]: Der "Frayhayt" 1926. Item #42630

8vo; 1st edition. Original Color Wrappers with illustration by William Gropper. 4to, 64 pages. 29 cm. Includes illustrations. In Yiddish. Yiddish title translates as, "Communist Monthly Magazine."
Monthly magazine, running from Merts (March) 1926 to October 1939, published by the Frayhat, the Yiddish Communist daily run by the Jewish branch of the International Workers Order and closely aligned (but not identical, especially on Palestine) with the Communist Party. Here an issue from the first year (with no volume indicated). Volume 7 was repeated in numbering (for 1933 and 1934).
Jewish Communists founded an “earnest theoretical journal for Marxism-Leninism,” Der Hamer, under the editorship of Leon Talmy (original name, Leyzer Talmonovitsky) in 1926 (“Yidishe Prese in Amerika,”Icor yor-bukh - ICOR Year Book 1932, 193 [Yiddish section]). Israel Ber Bailin became editor of Der Hamer, taking over from Talmy when the latter left for the Soviet Union, and remaining as editor until that journal was discontinued in 1939.
Eitan Kensky, now the Curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections at Stanford University, noted that “Among the highlights” of YIVO’s “Shades of Red: Yiddish Left-Wing Press in America” exhibition “is a series of arresting covers for the Communist monthly Der Hammer, many of them by William Gropper (1897-1977), one of America’s most significant social realist illustrators and painters.”Kensky continued, suggesting that “Gropper’s is a classic Jewish American story. His immigrant parents settled on the Lower East Side and worked in the garment industry. He lost an aunt in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which some scholars cite as the reason for his politics….
Gropper studied art in public school and a portfolio of his work led Frank Parsons to admit him to the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts (now Parsons The New School For Design). Gropper worked as an illustrator for Yiddish and English publications including The New York Tribune, The Liberator, The Masses, The New Masses, Vanity Fair and, of course, Der Hammer.The Der Hammer covers….can be exalting (as in August, 1927), or brutally savage. His October, 1934 cover shows a fat, cigar-smoking capitalist mixing together bottles of ‘Democratic party’ and ‘Republican party’ to make a poison of ‘Hunger/War/Fascism’....Gropper’s covers are a testament both the internationalism of the Yiddish press, and to the integration of Yiddish and English-speaking Communists in the 1920s and ‘30s” (Forward, May 15, 2012)
Indeed, “The Yiddish-speaking community played a prominent role in leftist political activism in the U.S. during the early twentieth century. Der Hammer (The Hammer) was a Yiddish-language monthly magazine associated with Morgen Freiheit (Morning Freedom), a communist daily established in New York City in 1922. During the late 1920s and 1930s, prominent artists, most of whom were Jewish, contributed cover illustrations and political cartoons to Der Hammer, including William Gropper, its most frequent contributor. By contributing illustrations to communist periodicals with a broad circulation, artists with leftist political leanings were able to circulate their art and ideas to a large audience.” ( "Art for the Millions: American Culture and Politics in the 1930s," Sept.–Dec. 2023, which included issues of Der Hamer).
For a good introduction to this period of American Jewish Communist history, see Henry Felix Srebrnik’s “Introduction: American Jews, Communism, The Icor And Birobidzhan,” from his larger work, DREAMS OF NATIONHOOD (Academic Studies Press 2010,
SUBJECT(S ): Communism -- Periodicals. Yiddish literature -- Periodicals. Litte´rature yiddish -- Pe´riodiques. Communism. OCLC: 18933132.
Spine notched for binding, small chip to lower outside corner of corner, paper toning, Good+ Condition. Dramatic cover. (YID-44-28-PEXFFIINNQQUU).