Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Sam Agid


A. was born circa 1866 in Grodek, near Lemberg, Eastern Galicia.

His father was an innkeeper. He was a waiter in the Hotel Bombach in Lemberg. Afterwards he maintained a bar in Lemberg "for the shul", and "Broder singers" used to visit him, because of this A. developed a great love for the theatre. In 1888 he came to America, and in 1895 leased the saloon "Faden" on Rivington and Clinton Streets, New York, and he avekgeshtelt several mishlekh under the name of "Agid's Restaurant". A year later when Regina Prager came to America, he opened a saloon on Eldridge near Rivington Street, and being that the Pragers were "patriots" of the theatre, he began to introduce these "patriots" of the theatre to the saloon. The actor Berl Bernstein became a partner, the actors without money were allowed to eat there for so long, they lost their assets and A. had to withdraw from Rivington and Clinton Streets.

Here, in the former Galician quarter, A. opened "Agid's Vaudeville House" (82 Clinton Street). He engaged Mr. and Mrs. Appel, Sam Klinetsky and Samolesko, who put on small scenes, singing songs and dancing. Later, When Pepi Litmann came from Europe, he engaged the actors of the legitimate theatres for the summer for his vaudeville house. Thus he had acting for him (Max) Gabel, Ida Dworkin, Meyer Scheer, Peter Graf, Beila Becker, Mae Simon and Anna Lillian. A. also attempted to stage for them tall of the plays of Moshe Richter and Gershom Bader.


Inspired by the good business, A. traveled to Europe to bring over from there Mr. and Mrs. Bendel (later Ringler), and when the number of visitors grew, B. bought, together with Anshel Schorr and Peter Graf, a church on Suffolk Street and then built there (49-59 Suffolk Street) the "Comedy Theatre" (today a governmentla post office), which they had bought but soon returned.

Continuing the entire time with his variety house on Clinton Street, A. also owned "Agid's Union Vaudeville House" (133 Eldridge Street), and "Agid's Bismark Garden" (Bushwick and Jamaica Avenue), where with he and his partners used to control the Yiddish vaudeville market.

Due to a fire in a vaudeville house in 1914, there was enacted a law stating that the vaudeville houses could hold no more than 299 persons, and when the laws in 1915 were enforced, he began to close his vaudeville houses. Then A.'s only active house was his vaudeville house on Clinton Street, though the entirety of the vaudeville houses anyway already were shuttered. His attendees and his actors moved across to the legitimate stage.

On 16 December 1914 A. passed away and was brought to his eternal rest at Mt. Hebron Cemetery in New York (in the "S Hauben Lodge" society plot -- ed.).

M. E. from his daughter Annie Kaplan, Moshe Shames, Jacob Kirschenbaum, Gershom Bader, Sam Blum and Moshe Schorr.






Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 9.

Copyright Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.