Judah Leib Cahan

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Judah Leib Cahan (1881 in Vilna, Lithuania – 1937 in New York City) was a Yiddish folklorist.[1]

Born in Vilna, Cahan moved as a youth to Warsaw, where he frequently attended Saturday night folksong recitals at the home of writer I. L. Peretz.[2] After a brief stint in London,[3] he moved to New York in 1904, and continued collecting folklore among the Yiddish-speaking Jews of New York.[4] In 1925, Cahan helped organize the American branch of the YIVO, and was selected to lead its Folklore Committee.[5] He was instrumental in expanding the folklore collection efforts of YIVO, and in 1930 returned to Vilna to train young scholars.[3] After his death, YIVO planned to publish all of his works (collections of folk songs and folktales, and theoretical works), but only the folktales volume was published before the remaining material was destroyed during World War II.[5]


  1. ^ Marcus, Jacob Rader; Daniel, Judith M. (1994), Concise Dictionary of American Jewish Biography (PDF), p. 85, retrieved 2013-06-28
  2. ^ David G. Roskies (1996). A Bridge of Longing: The Lost Art of Yiddish Storytelling. Harvard University Press. pp. 12, 114. ISBN 978-0-674-08140-6. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  3. ^ a b Dan Ben-Amos; Dov Noy (7 May 2007). Folktales of the Jews, Volume 2: Tales from Eastern Europe. Jewish Publication Society. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-8276-0830-6. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  4. ^ Jenna Weissman Joselit (1 May 2002). The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture 1880-1950. Picador. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-8050-7002-6. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  5. ^ a b Mlotek, Chana (2010), "Cahan, Yehudah Leib", The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, retrieved 2013-06-28

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