LEO KUPERMAN (June 24, 1883-September 29, 1949)
He was born in Jassy (Iași), Romania. His first name in Yiddish was Shaye-Arye. He was one of the oldest book dealers in Romania. He was raised in Hassidic surroundings. He attended religious elementary school and later a German school. In 1900 he began writing in Romanian. Kuperman’s first poems in Yiddish, written in Roman letters, were published in the supplement to Nosn Birnboym’s Yidishe vokhnshrift (Yiddish weekly writing) in Vienna. He returned to New York (where he had lived over the years 1900-1904) and worked as a teacher of German and French. He published poems in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York and other periodicals, and he contributed to Tog (Day) in New York and Idishe velt (Jewish work) in Philadelphia, in which he published the majority of his poetry, articles, feature pieces, and reviews. In book form: Azrael, a tragedi (Azrael, a tragedy) (New York: R. Raskin, 1910), 54 pp.; a translation of J. W. von Goethe, Faust, a tragedye in tsvey teyl (Faust, a tragedy in two parts), with commentaries by the greatest Goethe scholars (New York-Philadelphia: Malerman’s Literary Publishing Co., 1920), 2 vols. His play Der yid (The Jew), written with William Edlin, was staged in 1931, but it remains unpublished. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 6 (Mexico City, 1969); Y. Horovits, in Nyu-yorker vokhnblat (New York) 174 (1942).
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