YANKEV PFEFER (March 23, 1874-August 1, 1922)
He was born in Radzyekhov (Radekhiv), eastern Galicia, into a well-to-do family. He studied in religious primary school and privately, also working on Polish and German. In his youth he became a fervent Hassid and would frequently travel by foot to visit the rebbe of Belz. At age sixteen he moved to Hungary. He studied in the Sighet yeshiva. At eighteen he became a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment. He then departed for Lemberg and in early 1895 made his way to the United States. He worked as a peddler, a train conductor, an insurance agent, and a shirtsleeve maker in a sweatshop. He joined the socialists. He helped to found the Forverts (Forward) in New York and there he began writing around 1901. He also placed work in: Minikes bleter (Minikes’s pages), Yudishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper), and Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York. He edited the weekly Der amerikaner (The American). In 1904 he became editor of the daily newspaper Der idisher amerikaner (The Jewish American), published by William Randolph Hearst. He founded Pfefers vokhenblat (Pfefer’s weekly newspaper). For a time he also edited Di idishe velt (The Jewish world) in Philadelphia, while writing—for Morgn-zhurnal and mainly for Tageblat in New York—journalistic articles, feature pieces, and popular moralistic works. The last years of his life he had an advertising company. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Khane Gotesfeld, in Forverts (New York) (November 20, 1958; November 27, 1958; December 2, 1958).