Anna (Annie) Shapiro
Born circa 1873 in a small
village near Grodno, Polish Lithuania. Her mother was
left a young window with many children. She sent away
her daughter to a rich relative in Grodno, who had
helped them economically.
At the age of thirteen, she
arrived with her mother in America and here was taken
into work in a cigar factory, introduced to actor
Charles Shapiro, with whom she married at the age of
According to her daughter,
Sh. worked in a shop for very long hours, as Shapiro was
an actor, and was not kosher to her family. So he
learned house painting. At first they approved of the of
the marriage. After several years, he abandoned his
trade and maintained the "borders" (neighborhood), in
order to be able to "make a living". In 1900 he was
recommended to director Elias Glickman in Chicago, and
there he became a professional actor, only involving his
wife in single shows in the theatre profession.
In the span of a short time
she became grounded as the first soubrette, but soon was
forced thereof to only perform in the chorus, and at
first when she became a member in the then actors union,
she was a professional actress. After acting for three
seasons with Glickman, she acted for a season with Louis
in Chicago, three months with Thomashefsky, the 1920-21
season in the "New Yiddish Theatre", then with
Goldenburg and Celia Adler in Brooklyn, and with the
"Vilna Troupe" (in the Lipzin Theatre"), but she
mostly acted within the province.
Sh. passed away on
28 December 1955 in New York. Her daughter Sadie
was married to actor Jacob Goldstein, and their
daughter Charlotte has acted on the Yiddish
"...Anna Shapiro is
in truth a character actress, although she has
started like other old [elderly] actresses in
Goldfaden's operettas, and also has excelled in
Professor Hurwitz's and Lateiner's plays. In the
last years, she has acted in Yitzhak
Zolotarevsky's melodramas, in New York she has
acted in the "Yiddish Art Theatre" of the
actress Madame Schnitzer in the chief mother
roles with the "Vilna Troupe".
remembers that only six years ago that we had
the occasion to see Madame Shapiro in "Mirele
Efros", in "The Wild Man", and L. Kobrin's "The
Blind Musician" and Z. Libin's "Ir fargegenheyt
(Her Past)", it brings a little sadness to the
heart. We remember that as the time goes by very
quickly and "wished" everything away, "swinging"
all things. ...interesting, however, what Madame
Shapiro has explained, that the struggle for the
best Yiddish theatre has just cited the actors
in the province, where the standard of
living is not that high as in New York. In the
province, as lmshl in Cleveland, Detroit
or Chicago, has the audience a warm relation to
the actor and actress. The theatre in the
province was not after each year as "farbiznevet"
as [it is] today. To act in theatre was an
honor, not only a source of income.
who loves the role of "Mirele Efros", as a
mother her one and only daughter speaks about
the play more than about other roles, and
therefore people call her in the theatre circles
"Cleveland's Mirele Efros". ...Madame Shapiro,
who today is a "forgotten" and for herself
in the artistic flames of her grandchild, has
for the writer explained that by Gordin the
stage is always in movement, always in her full,
no long breaks that come from not being able to
concentrate on the action".
M. E. and Sh.
E. from her daughter Sadie Goldstein.
Kirschenbaum -- Ana shapiro, di "mirele
efros" fun der provints iz a "fargesene",
"Morning Journal", N. Y.