FROM PLOTZK TO BOSTON
1899. Item #85430
ANTIN, Mary. FROM PLOTZK TO BOSTON. With a Foreword by Israel ZANGWILL. Boston: W. B. Clarke & Co., 1899. First edition. 80 pp. 8vo., light reddish brown wrappers printed in black. Extremities of wrappers chipped, darkened. An acceptable copy of a fragile item. Included in the Masterworks of Modern Jewish Writing Series in 1986. This is a first edition of Antin's first book, a record of her voyage from her native Plotzk, White Russia, to America. Mary[ashe] Antin (1881-1949) spent her childhood in a small town in the pale. Like other immigrant children, in the days when grade levels were determined by competence in English rather than age, thirteen year old Antin squeezed herself into a desk meant for a kindergarten child. Her intelligence and evident literary gifts quickly impressed her teachers. Eager to demonstrate how much an immigrant child could accomplish in only four months, one of Antin's teachers sent her composition "Snow" to the periodical Primary Education. After seeing her name in print for the first time, Antin was determined to become a writer. She attended the Girl's Latin School of Boston, and later New York Teacher's College of Columbia University. Incredibly, FROM PLOTZK TO BOSTON was written when the author was only eleven years old! "...it was at that age that she first wrote the thing in Yiddish, though she was thirteen when she translated it into English" (Israel Zangwill, Foreword, p. 7). Antin's story bravely articulated the Jewish immigrant experience - "for, despite the noble spirit in which the Jews of America have grappled with the invasion, we still know too little of the feelings of the people themselves" (ibid). Thirteen years later, Antin would publish the work for which she would be best remembered, her autobiography entitled THE PROMISED LAND (UJE, Volume 1, 337). Jewish Women in America, Volume 1.