MOYSHE-YOKHONEN SHTARKMAN (September 25, 1906-February 2, 1975)
He was a bibliographer and lexicographer, born in Mosti-Vyelki (Mosty Wielkie), Galicia. Until age seven he was raised in a Carpathian village, where his father was an overseer of forest laborers. He attended religious elementary schools and graduated at age fourteen from a Polish public school. In 1920 he made his way to New York and there studied in English-language schools, at the Jewish teachers’ seminary, and several courses at City College. He was a close collaborator with YIVO and other Jewish community institutions. From 1922 he was writing articles, features, stories, and children’s tales for: Frayhayt (Freedom), Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), Dos idishe folk (The Jewish people), Der amerikaner (The American), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Di feder (The pen), Tsukunft (Future), Kundes (Prankster), Yugnt-zhurnal (Youth journal), and Baginen (Dawn), among others. In 1933 he became a regular contributor to Tog (Day)—later, Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Day-morning journal)—until 1971, and later a contributor to Forverts (Forward). In Pyoner-froy (Pioneer woman), he had charge of a regular column, “Shrayber un bikher” (Writers and books). For the Orthodox newspaper Dos idishe likht (The Jewish light), he translated Marcus Lehmann’s novel Jakobina. He published a series of pieces on the history of Yiddish literature, the press, and theater in the United States, such as: “Kveln-literatur tsu der geshikhte fun der yidisher prese in amerike, 1870-1900” (Foundational literature on the history of the Yiddish press in America, 1870-1900), Pinkes (Records [from YIVO]) (New York) II (1929); “Di yidishe prese in amerike, 1875-1885” (The Yiddish press in America, 1875-1885), in the anthology Lekoved dem 250stn yoyvl fun der yidishe prese (In honor of the 250th anniversary of the Yiddish press) (New York, 1937); “Tsu der geshikhte fun der yidish-sotsyalistisher prese in di fareynikte shtatn” (On the history of the socialist Yiddish press in the United States), Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) (1928); “Materyaln fun avrom goldfadns biblyografye” (Materials from Avrom Goldfaden’s bibliography), Filologishe shriftn (Philological writings) 4 (1930).
He edited: Hamshekh antologye (Hamshekh anthology) (New York: Hamshekh, 1945), 432 pp.; Shloyme bikl yoyvl-bukh, ateres shloyme tsu zayn 70stn geboyrntog Shloyme Bikl jubilee volume, to the honor of Shloyme Bikl on his seventieth birthday) (New York: Matones, 1967), 331 pp.; Khesed leavrom, seyfer hayoyvel leavrom golomb tsu zayn akhtsikstn geboyrn-yor (Grace of Abraham, jubilee volume for Avrom Golomb on his eightieth birthday) (Los Angeles, 1970), 916 pp. Co-edited: with Dov Sadan, Berish vaynshteyn yoyvl-bukh, tsu zayn zekhtsikstn geboyrn-ṭog (Berish Vaynshteyn jubilee volume, on his sixtieth birthday) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1967), 283 pp.; with Leon Rubinshteyn, Doṿid pinski, tsum tsentn yortsayt (Dovid Pinski, on the tenth anniversary of his death) (New York, 1969), 64 pp.; Pinkes far der forshung fun der yidisher literatur un prese (Record of research on Yiddish literature and the press) (New York, 1972), 560 pp.; Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of modern Yiddish literature), vols. 2-7 (New York, 1958-1968). From time to time, he also wrote in Hebrew periodicals under the name M. Ḥizkuni, and a volume of his Hebrew writings was prepared for publication: Afike naharayim. masot umeḥkarim (Two river beds, essays and studies), ed. Getzel Kressel and Dov Sadan (Tel Aviv: Aḥiasaf, 1983), 393 pp. In book form: Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings) (Tel Aviv: CYCO-Publishing House, 1979-1980), 2 vols.
Shtarkman, noted Elye (Elias) Shulman, “mainly focused on research concerning the Yiddish press and Yiddish bibliography…. As a contributor to daily newspapers, he wrote numerous articles…which consisted of a combination of journalism, interpretation, and often moralizing.” He died in Miami Beach.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Arn Glants, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (December 9, 1953); Ezriel Naks, in Forverts (New York) (February 7, 1975); Shimen Veber, in Forverts (February 12, 1975); Tsvien (Ben-Tsien Hoffman), in Forverts (August 28, 1954); Getzel Kressel, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (March 5, 1975); Elye (Elias) Shulman, in Forverts (July 1, 1979; August 10, 1980).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 523.]