YANKEV MAGIDOV (JACOB MAGIDOFF) (June 22, 1869-August 26, 1943)
He was born in Odessa, Russia. He studied in religious primary school and in a Russian school, and he later graduated from a high school in Odessa. In 1886 he came to the United States, settled in New York, and worked the first years in sweatshops as a shirt stitcher and in the evenings studied. He was a leader in the Jewish labor movement, an initiator and cofounder of the Fareynikte yidishe geverkshaftn (United Hebrew Trades) (October 1888), and an active member of the Socialist Labor Party (S. L. P.). For a time he worked as a teacher of English, while studying law at New York University, and in 1904 he was accepted into the New York bar association. He only practiced his profession for a few years, before devoting himself completely to Yiddish journalism. He began his writing activities in 1894 in Arbayter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in New York, for which he wrote articles on American politics. He also wrote for the monthly journals Di tsukunft (The future) and Di naye tsayt (The new times) in 1898-1899. In those years, he was news editor for the daily Dos abend blatt (The evening newspaper), later for a time a contributor to Forverts (Forward), and later still (in 1900) a contributor to Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) and Abend post (Evening mail)—in New York. In 1901 he joined Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), where he remained one of the most important contributors until the end of his life, news editor, and editorial writer, and where he ran a daily column entitled “Kurts un sharf” (Short and sharp). Over the years 1925-1928, he edited the weekly Der amerikaner (The American) in New York, in which he published articles on Yiddish writers. In 1928 Magidov made a trip through Soviet Russia, and in a series of article he depicted life under the Soviet regime. He published in book form: Der shpigl fun der ist said (The mirror of the East Side) (New York, 1923), 218 pp.—a volume of characterizations of Jewish personalities in New York. “As a journalist Yankev Magidov personified the synthesis,” wrote Y. Fishman, “of an educated, well-informed, American newspaperman and a Jewish man of the people.” He died in Brooklyn, New York.
Sources: Hertz Burgin, Di geshikhte fun der yidisher arbayter-bavegung in amerike, rusland un england (The history of the Jewish labor movement in America, Russia, and England) (New York, 1915), see index; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928); B. Vaynshteyn, Yidishe yunyons in amerike (Jewish unions in America) (New York, 1929), see index; Y. Fishman, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (August 29, 1943); Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter bavegung in di fareynikte shtatn (History of the Jewish labor movement in the United States), vol. 2 (New York: YIVO, 1945), see index; materials in the YIVO archives in New York; obituary articles in the Yiddish press; Who’s Who in American Jewry, vol. 3 (1938-1939); American Jewish Yearbook, vol. 46.