Who Was Maurice Schwartz?

To read the biography of Maurice Schwartz entitled "Once a Kingdom," by Martin Boris, please click here.




Maurice Schwartz was not only one of the world's foremost Yiddish actors, he was also the founder and leader of the Yiddish Art Theatre of New York. Under his leadership, the talented theater troupe performed in many high quality Yiddish productions, always striving to maintain Schwartz's high artistic standards.

Maurice Schwartz was born in the town of Sedikov (Zhidachov), Ukraine on June 18, 1890. He immigrated to the United States in 1902.

A renowned Yiddish actor and director, Schwartz began his life in the Yiddish theatre by performing with a number of Yiddish theatrical troupes. Even at this early stage in his career, he had the desire to introduce Yiddish versions of popular European plays to the American audience, many of whom were immigrants like himself.

Though he did not succeed in this venture, Schwartz in 1918 formed "The Yiddish Art Theatre" in which he produced and performed in many Yiddish plays for more than three decades. The Theatre was located in New York City, though the troupe, over the years, would move their theatre to different locations within the New York metropolitan area.

Over more than a thirty year period, Schwartz and his acting troupe performed nearly two-hundred works in Yiddish to audiences in New York City alone.

Maurice Schwartz has left his mark on the Yiddish theatre, and those who read about him will discover much about the man, both personally and professionally. The Museum of Family History also makes available to you here the only biography written about Schwartz, "Once a Kingdom: The Life of Maurice Schwartz and the Yiddish Art Theatre, " written by the late Martin Boris.

The Museum's Yiddish Art Theatre is dedicated to Maurice Schwartz and all the wonderful Yiddish actors and actresses and behind-the-scenes personnel that were ever part of a Yiddish language production. At the YAT, you will see photographs of some of his productions as well as some of the many who were part of the Yiddish Art Theatre--not only the acting troupe, but those behind the scenes as well.



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