Lieberman, Elias, 1883-1969

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Elias Lieberman (1883-1969), educator and poet, was born in Russia but emigrated to the U.S. as a child. He worked in the New York City school system as a teacher, principal and associate superintendent of schools. His published works included books of poetry and articles and stories on the life of immigrants in American society. He also was editor of Puck, 1916, and literary editor of The American Hebrew, 1916-1932.

From the description of Elias Lieberman papers, 1892-1970, bulk (1940-1960). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122485650

From the guide to the Elias Lieberman papers, 1892-1970, 1940-1960, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

The poet and lecturer Anne Lowenstein Marx was born to Susan and Jacob Lowenstein on March 8, 1913, in Bleicherode am Herz, a small town in northern Germany. After the deaths of both of her parents during her early childhood, Marx and her younger sister were raised by a grandmother in the same region of Worms on the Rhine. Although Marx was introduced to poetry at the age of five when her mother encouraged her to fill scrapbooks with poems, her formal education at the Universities of Heidelberg and Berlin was in the field of medicine, the profession of her father and uncles. The choice of poetry over a career in medicine was made as part of her consciously chosen new life as an American that involved turning away from her German roots and language. Her poetry often uses images and themes from the tragedies that she escaped as a refugee from the Holocaust. She created for herself a place in American society and within the society of poets and artists through involvement in the Poetry Society of America and The League of American Pen Women from the 1960s through the 1980s. While growing up in Germany, Marx enjoyed the intricacies of language and excelled at English (UK) and French in school. The discovery of Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry in college encouraged her to begin her own writing. In October 1933, she made her own longhand copy of his works, including his Letters to a Young Poet, which she was to keep with her always. Marx published her first small book of poems, Ein Buchlein, in 1935, and proudly gave copies to friends. At this time, Marx saw her writing as a form of personal expression more than a career. Marx, who was Jewish, realized that her future was not in Germany when her further matriculation into medical school was prohibited in 1933. With the political order rapidly degenerating around her, she prepared all the necessary affidavits and documents for her and her younger sister's emigration from Germany to the United States in 1936. They were welcomed to New York by uncles in an arrival that later became the poem "Port of Entry" in her second volume, The Second Voice .

During her first year in America, Marx worked as a physiotherapist in New York City. It was to be the only time she made use of her medical degree. She later credited her job with her ease in adopting American slang. She strove to become an American in all ways, and was especially eager to perfect the English that she had studied in Germany. She admitted later that she had blotted Germany from her mind to begin her life over again at the age of twenty-three. She met Frederick E. Marx, a vice-president for Helmsley Spear, Inc. Real Estate of New York during her first year in America. The following February they were married and they moved to Scarsdale, New York. In 1938, she became a naturalized American citizen. Her life in Scarsdale was centered on her family and her husband. She had two sons, Thomas and Steven, and she did not publish any poetry until her eldest son left for college in 1953.

When Marx began to write poetry again, she made a conscious decision to make her poems an expression of her new life as an American. She did not practice medicine after marriage, nor did she write in German. She learned to express herself only in English and wrote continuously throughout her life, publishing over two thousand poems in periodicals and reviews as well as eleven books of her collected works. The appeal of her works led to their translation into German and other languages in the various literary reviews around the world.

Just as she developed ties to the community of Scarsdale, with participation in Boy Scouts and women's clubs, she joined poetry and professional organizations to become a part of that community of artists after her initial successes in publishing. Her first success was with her poem "Sustenance," which won second prize in the Westchester Federation of Women's Clubs contest in April 1956. A little more than a year later, after the publication of "Checkers" in the Saturday Evening Post, she accepted membership in the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW). She was voted in as a member of the Poetry Society of America (PSA) in 1959. After her first book award in 1960, and the publication of The Second Voice in 1963, she became the president of NLAPW of Westchester in 1963-64 and the regional president from 1964-1966. The 1960s were the beginning of productive publication. She published books every three years, beginning in 1960 with Into the Wind of Waking, which won the American Weave Chapbook award. She attended writers' conferences at Wagner College in 1960, Iona College in 1964, 1965, and 1970, and in cities around the country. Increasingly, her works appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, and The Herald Tribune as well as literary reviews. As early as 1958, she participated in radio poetry readings for WEVD in Westchester. It was a decade when she developed ties to the community of poets. She initiated correspondence with Marianne Moore, Elias Lieberman, Gustav Davidson, John Hall Wheelock, John Holmes, and Florence Becker Lenon. Her second volume of poetry, The Second Voice, a turning point in her development that illustrated her re-evaluation of her identity as a German. The reviews, often written by her fellow society members, stress her ability to express the feeling of an emigr and a refugee who has adopted a "second voice." John Holmes called it "English after German, adulthood after childhood, and poetry after silence." It contains mostly autobiographical poems of facets of womanhood and life. Her poems were popular; her own documentation shows how chapbooks sold out. Her poetry is most often free verse, but also takes the forms of rondeaux, sonnets and sestinas. Her subject matter includes child- parent relationships, love poetry, narrative free verse, mood pieces, and social consciousness.

In the 1970s, Marx's time and efforts were channeled into the Poetry Society of America. Her steady involvement since the 1960s brought her a position on the executive board for eight years, and a co-vice-presidency in 1978-79. As a member of this and other societies, she organized lectures for a wide range of ages, from senior citizens to high school students, including a four-year New York Public Library program of poetry readings, "Bridging the Generation Gap," and many Annual Poetry Day events with the New York Poetry Forum. She also advised poets as editor for the publications of the Composers, Artists and Authors of America, Inc. and the Pen Woman in the 1970s. The subject matter of her poems in the 1970s became more reflective. Her visit to Israel resurrected feeling of leaving Germany, which she published in Hear of Israel and later in the 1980s in Hurts to Healings, which was translated into German and printed in bilingual books for use of Professor Hermann Schlosser, who used it as a teaching aid in a course offered to inform the new generation of Germans about the Holocaust.

In 1984, she was diagnosed with cancer, the same disease that killed her father. Her painful recovery gave time to reflect and renewed her desire to write. In her autobiographical essay in the anthology The Courage to Grow Old, she discusses how cancer affected her poetry.

Marx won recognition as the National League of American Pen Women's Poet of the Year in 1991. She died on April 16, 2006.

From the guide to the Anne Marx papers, ca. 1914-2004, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Elias Lieberman (1883-1969) was an American poet and educator, best known for his poem "I Am An American."

Lieberman was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on October 30, 1883 to Nathan David and Sophia (Elbaum) Lieberman. The family immigrated to America in 1891. Upon graduating from the City College of New York with his A.B. in 1903, Lieberman began working as an English teacher at a public school. Lieberman went on to earn his M.A. (1906) and Ph.D. (1911) from New York University. On July 1, 1913, he married Rose Kiesler with whom he had two children, Amy and James. After years of working as an English teacher and high school principal, Lieberman accepted a position with the New York Board of Education in 1940, as an associate superintendent of schools in charge of the junior high school division.

Lieberman's first major publication was American Short Story, published in 1912, followed by Paved Streets, published in 1918. He was a member of the Poetry Society of America and served as a judge for various national poetry contests. Lieberman also worked as an associate editor for Puck, literary editor for The American Hebrew, and contributing editor for Current Literature . He died on July 13, 1969 in South Richmond Hill, NY.

  • 1912: American Short Story
  • 1918: Paved Streets
  • 1926: Poetry for Junior High Schools
  • 1930: Ancient Mariner and Poems of the Sea (editor) Hand Organ Man
  • 1931: Poems for Enjoyment
  • 1940: Man in the Shadows
  • 1954: To My Brothers Everywhere
  • 1976: Notation in Haste

From the guide to the Elias Lieberman Papers, 1916-1966, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Elias Lieberman papers, 1892-1970, 1940-1960 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Adamic, Louis, 1899-1951,. Letters to Alfred Kreymborg [manuscript], 1921-1956. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Marx, Anne. Anne Marx papers, ca. 1914-1990. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Elias Lieberman Papers, 1916-1966 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Anne Marx papers, ca. 1914-2004 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Aaron Kramer papers, ca. 1940 -1986. Houghton Library
creatorOf Braithwaite, William Stanley, 1878-1962. Papers of William Stanley Beaumont Braithwaite [manuscript] 1904-1935 (1958). University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Stevenson Club (New York, N.Y.). Golden anniversary celebration of the Stevenson Club, 1907-1957, fifty continuous years of friendship and devotion : album, 1957. New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Lieberman, Elias, 1883-1969. Elias Lieberman papers, 1892-1970, bulk (1940-1960). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Johnson, Walter R., 1885-1965. Papers, 1900-1964. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Braithwaite, William Stanley, 1878-1962. person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
associatedWith Charles Scribner's Sons. corporateBody
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Ginsberg, Louis, 1895-1976 person
associatedWith Huneker, James, 1857-1921 person
associatedWith Johnson, Walter R., 1885-1965. person
correspondedWith Kramer, Aaron, 1921- person
associatedWith Lombard, Maria Catarina. person
associatedWith Lowenstein, Jacob person
associatedWith Marx, Anne person
associatedWith Marx, Anne. person
associatedWith McCormick, James H. person
associatedWith Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972 person
associatedWith National League of American Pen Women corporateBody
associatedWith Piney Woods School. corporateBody
associatedWith Poetry Society of America corporateBody
associatedWith Schmidt, Karl. person
associatedWith Shipman, Samuel, 1883-1937 person
associatedWith State University of New York at Buffalo, University Libraries. corporateBody
associatedWith Stevenson Club (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith University of Kentucky, Libraries. corporateBody
associatedWith Wise, Stephen Samuel, 1874-1949 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (N.Y.)
United States
New York (N.Y.)
Subject
Jews
World War, 1914-1918--Personal narratives
American literature--Jewish authors
Education
Russian Americans
Jews--United States
Jews, American
Poets, American--20th century
Literature--Societies, etc
Educators--United States
Education--New York (State)--New York
Literature--American Poetry
American poetry--20th century
Jewish refugees--United States
Oral interpretation of poetry
American literature--20th century
Occupation
Educators
Lecturers
Poets
Activity

Person

Birth 1883

Death 1969

Information

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