DOVID LAZARZOHN-LASSON (b. 1857)
He was born in Grodno, Russian Poland. He studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva, and later he became a laborer. In 1889 he immigrated to the United States and settled in Philadelphia. He was for a time a worker at the Magin publishing house; later, he was a musician, an actor-reciter, and a merchant. He was active among the Jewish anarchists, later in the Zionist socialist movement. He contributed work to Pensilveyner shtaat-tsaytung (Pennsylvania state newspaper) in Philadelphia (1897), in which he published: Di velt, oder di vegen fun der alter ekonomye, a roman fun besere tsayten (The world or the ways to the old economy, a novel from better times) which appeared in four sections (Philadelphia, 1898), 32 pp. and 48 pp. (with poetry drawn from personal life at the beginning and end of each section). It was a sort of futuristic novel in which he preached participation of workers and office employees in the profits of the businesses in which they were employed. From 1898 he wrote for Y. Vagman’s daily newspapers, Der telegraf (The telegraph) and Filadelfyer post (Philadelphia mail). He published proletarian and ethnic poetry, sketches, recreational novels, and articles in: Di yudishe gazetten (The Jewish gazette), Folks-advokat (People’s advocate), and Arbayter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper)—in New York (1904-1908). He also contributed work to: Forverts (Forward) in New York; Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia; and Idishe kuryer (Jewish courier) in Chicago; among others. He was in addition the author of the melodramas: Di heylige shvester oder di falshe mame (The divine sister or the false mother) (Philadelphia, 1907), 64 pp., with poetry and musical numbers written by him; Di klog-muter (The mourning mother) (Philadelphia, 1908), 64 pp.; the novella Dos geburt (The birth), in which he deals with the problem of birth control (Philadelphia, 1909), 48 pp.; the melodrama Tsvishen menshen oder der gayst fun der tsayt (Among men or the spirit of the times), “dedicated to the world peace” (Philadelphia, 1909), 38 pp. (in the booklet he explains as well why he changed the name Lazarzohn to Lasson). On his sixtieth birthday, he published Di velt in lieder (The world in songs), “songs and poetry that were published at various times, in various newspapers and languages, and songs that have as yet not been published” (Philadelphia, 1927), 106 pp. A portion of his melodramas were performed on the Yiddish stage in America. He also wrote under the name “Rabotnik.”
Source: D. B. Tirkel, in Pinkes fun amopteyl fun yivo (Records of the American division of YIVO) (New York) (1929), p. 261.
Khayim Leyb Fuks