Arthur Szyk, a “Soldier in Art”

by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH ARTHUR SZYK (1894-1951) is best known today for his Illuminated Hagaddah (1940), still widely used at Passover seders, he was in many ways a political artist, a self-described “soldier in art,” who used his talents to attack fascism, call for the rescue to European Jewry from Nazi-occupied Europe, promote the American war effort and make […]

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Spy vs. Spy: Anti-Nazi Undercover Work in L.A.

by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots against Hollywood and America, by Steven J. Ross. Bloomsbury Books, 2017, 432 pages.   ADOLF HITLER’S determination to wipe out the planet’s Jews was aimed at America as well, according to Steven J. Ross, professor of history at the University of […]

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Argosy Books

Louis Cohen, a bibliophile and rare book collector who founded Argosy Books in Manhattan, died at 87 on this date in 1991. Cohen stocked the White House libraries of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, established libraries for the University of Texas and the University of Kansas, and donated thousands of Hebrew books to Bar-Ilan University […]

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Ellis Island

On this date in 1892, a federal immigration depot opened at Ellis Island in New York harbor, replacing the Castle Garden immigration center, which had processed eight million immigrants during the previous thirty-five years. In Ellis Island’s busiest year, 1907, more than a million immigrants were processed. It became known as the “Island of Tears,” but only […]

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STAT$: Guess How Much Museum Guards Are Earning

THE WORKING POOR AND THEIR FUTURE by Allan Lichtenstein   I HAVE BEEN READING Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here. Early in the book, Doremus Jessop, the lead character, stops for gasoline at a garage at which Karl Pascal works. Pascal remarks: “[W]hat burns me up is the fact that even before this Depression, in what you folks called […]

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David Lilienthal and the Tennessee Valley Authority

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed New Deal legislation creating the Tennessee Valley Authority on this date in 1933. Its mission was to provide flood control, generate electricity, and develop the economy of the Tennessee Valley, a region comprising Tennessee and portions of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Thirty percent of the population […]

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The Anti-Semitic Congressman

On this date in 1934, Louis T. McFadden, nineteen years in the House of Representatives as a Republican from Pennsylvania, made one of his several speeches on the floor of the House that were filled with anti-Semitism. In these speeches, and in newsletters to his constituents, McFadden cited the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of […]

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February 17: The First Jewish Woman in Congress

Florence Prag Kahn, at age 58, became the first Jewish woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on this date in 1925. She beat two other candidates in her San Francisco district to succeed her husband, Representative Julius Kahn, who had died after being reelected to his 13th term. Florence Kahn would herself be […]

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Photographing the Thirties and Forties

by Marvin Zuckerman All photographs by Katherine Joseph, © Richard Hertzberg and Suzanne Hertzberg, courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Discussed in this essay: Katherine Joseph: Photographing an Era of Social Significance by Suzanne Hertzberg. Bergamot Press, 2016, 149 pages. Sing me a song of social significance,/ There’s nothing […]

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