YOEL BARKAN (b. July 4, 1894)
Son of Sholem and Perl Barkan, he was born in Sirotine (Rus. Sirotino; Bel. Sirotsina), Vitebsk region, Russia. He attended a Talmud-Torah and the municipal school in Ekaterinoslav. In 1907 he moved to the United States and settled in Philadelphia. His first published work was a play entitled Di froy in ir heym (The woman in her home), staged by Dovid Kesler (David Kessler). In 1920 he contributed to Yidishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia. He wrote a few other theatrical pieces which were performed in the Yiddish theater. In 1921 he became the managing editor of the daily newspaper Pitsberger yidishe velt (Pittsburgh Jewish world), which was published for eighteen months. In 1922 he became the owner, editor, and publisher of the weekly newspaper Der yidisher folks-fraynd (The Jewish people’s friend) in Pittsburgh, published since 1889; in 1924 he changed its name to Der vegvayzer (The guide); in 1938 he published under the name Der firer (The leader); and in 1939 and 1940 again as Der vegvayzer. In Di yidishe velt and Vegvayzer, he published a number of original and translated novels, stories, humorous pieces, and articles under the pen names: Yoel Sholems, Bar-Koyen, and A. Vitebsker, among others. He published Folks-lider (Folk songs), collected and arranged by “Y. B.” (Pittsburgh, 1931), 16 pp.
Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1.