Cahan, Abraham

Cahan, Abraham

(kän), 1860–1951, Russian-American journalist, Socialist leader, and author, b. Vilnius, Lithuania. He emigrated to New York City in 1882, entered journalism, and helped found the Jewish Daily Forward (1897); as editor in chief after 1902, he made it the most influential Jewish daily in America. He was a founder of the Social Democratic party in 1897 and after 1902 supported the Socialist party. Active in spreading socialist teachings among Jewish workers, he encouraged the unionization of East Side garment workers and supported them in their strikes. Cahan's writings in English, particularly Yekl: a Tale of the New York Ghetto (1896), The Imported Bridegroom and Other Stories (1898), and The Rise of David Levinsky (1917), are recognized for their historical portrayals of the immigrant experience. He also wrote, in Yiddish, Blätter von mein Leben (5 vol., 1926–31), an autobiography.
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Cahan, Abraham

(1860–1951) editor, writer; born in Podberezya, Russia. He continued his youthful revolutionary political activism after emigrating to the U.S.A. (1882), where he taught English to immigrants. He founded (1897) and for 50 years edited the influential Yiddish-language Jewish Daily Forward. He also wrote realistic novels of Jewish immigrant life, written variously in English and Yiddish; the best known of his works in English are Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto (1896) and The Rise of David Levinsky (1917).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.