LEO ROBINS (1895-January 31, 1957)
The Americanized name of Leyzer Rabinovitsh, he was born in Ivye (Iwie, Iwye), Vilna district. He studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva, as well as Russian and modern Hebrew with private tutors. At age thirteen he was orphaned on both sides. He came to the United States in 1910. He studied in English-language schools and took courses at Boston University. He was killed in an airplane accident. He began writing poetry, stories, and articles in radical, Anglophone journals in 1915. From 1921 he contributed to Forverts (Forward). He wrote popular articles there (under the pen name L. Malkes), a novel, and a series of depictions entitled “Keydi di yenki” (Katie the Yankee), a type of Jewish American girl (using the pen name R. Shayevski). He wrote plays which were not published but were staged (aside from his Mame [Mother]) in the Yiddish theater: Der ferd-ganef (The horse thief), Di zibete evenye (Seventh Avenue), Provints farn yidishn gerikht (Province of the Jewish court), Zumer-leb (Summertime), and A biterer toes (A bitter mistake). He published a book of stories in English as well (Boston, 1918).
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 3 (New York, 1959); Y. Raykh, in Forverts (New York) (February 6, 1957); L. Fogelman, in Forverts (February 9, 1957); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).