Yohan (Yona) Paley
Born on 6 February
1871[according to N. Zolovitz's remarks -- in 1860] in
Pleshtchenitz [in various Yiddish encyclopedias it was
most of the time Doshkovitsh is indicated], Minsk
Gubernia, White Russia. His father was a Jewish scholar,
had given him a traditional Yiddish education.
From his early youth he
manifested great ability, and at age thirteen he
enrolled in the Volozhiner yeshiva, later spent several
years in Libove, where he had received a general
education, also learning in R' Yitzhak Elkhanan's
yeshiva in Kovno. Then he was manager of a house of
commerce in Moscow, and in 1888 he immigrated to
On the ship P. wrote his
first novel "Di rusishe heldn (The Russian Hero)", and
soon with his arrival in New York he became a
contributor for "Der folks-advokat", with which he later
became the editor-publisher. Soon he also took to
writing for Yiddish theatre and debuted in 1889 with the
play "Di rusishe gihilistn un di ermordung fun rusishn
tsar". On 21 March 1890 in "Poole's Theatre", there was
staged his "Der mbul fun dzshonston (The Johnstown
Flood), a life-drama from Yohan Paley [tspur drur)".
About that play, B. Gorin
"A piece, 'The Johnstown Flood', and the director
of Poole's Theatre, who was now at daggers drawn with
the Thalia Theatre,
were preliminary, and
ordered from Yohan Paley a piece that should have to do
with a flood, and should be called 'The Johnstown
Flood'. In Poole's Theatre they had staged this piece
earlier, but it failed there".
According to B. Gorin, there
also was staged P.'s play "Kroynprints rudolf".
Later P. was a contributor
and editor for various Yiddish newspapers in New York.
P.'s wife and her sister have -- according to Boris
Thomashefsky -- acted for a short time on the Yiddish
stage, but soon retired.
On 23 December 1897, P.
passed away in New York..
Zalmen Reyzen --
"Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. II, pp.
B. Gorin -- "History
of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, pp. 66, 271.
Morris Rozenfeld --
Yohan paley's "mbul dzhonston", "Der folks-advokat",
N. Y., 28 March 1890.
Boris Thomashefsky --
Es hot zey getsoygen tsum teater un shpeter zeynen
zey fun teater avek, "Forward", N. Y., 10 September
Sholem Perlmutter --
Idishe dramaturgen, "Di idishe velt", Philadelphia,
23 December 1928.
N. Zalovitz --
Galeree fun tsikave parshoynen un interesante
menshen, vos hoben geholfen makhen dem "tageblat"
far erfolgreykher tseytung, "Forward", N. Y., 13