Ben-Ami, Jacob

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Jacob Ben-Ami was a twentieth century actor and director and prominent figure in American Yiddish theater. Ben-Ami was born on November 23, 1890, in Minsk, then a part of the Russian Empire. Before immigrating to the United States, he performed with Yiddish theater troupes throughout Russia and in London.

In the United States, he worked with prominent figures on the Yiddish theater scene, including at Maurice Schwartz's Irving Place Theatre. He was a leading figure in the founding of the Jewish Art Theatre (1919-1920). This small company, and many others that he was involved with, attempted to add artistic sensibilities to a Yiddish theater scene focused on providing popular entertainment. In the 1940s to 1960s, Ben-Ami was involved in television and cinematic productions as well. Ben-Ami also performed in English-language productions and acted in shows in the United States, Europe, South America, and South Africa. He died on July 2, 1977, in New York.

From the guide to the Jacob Ben-Ami scripts, 1927-1967, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Jacob Charash papers, 1920-1949 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Museum of the City of New York. Yiddish theater collection, [ca. 1900]-1986. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Jacob Ben-Ami scripts, 1927-1967 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. Ellen Van Volkenburg-Maurice Browne general correspondence, 1911- University of Michigan
referencedIn Frueh, Alfred Joseph, 1880-1968. Theatrical caricatures : linocuts. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Jacob Ben-Ami collection, [ca. 1946-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
referencedIn Jacob Ben-Ami as Beethoven, n.d. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Robert Benney research materials, 1926-1978 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Lothar and Eva Just Film Stills Collection. Harvard Film Archive, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Paul Muni collection, 1908-1980 (inclusive), 1932-1959 (bulk). Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Benney, Robert, 1904-2001 person
associatedWith Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. person
associatedWith Charash, Jacob, ca. 1880-1949 person
associatedWith Frueh, Alfred Joseph, 1880-1968. person
associatedWith Museum of the City of New York. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Yiddish drama
Off--Broadway theater


Birth 1890-11-23

Death 1977-07-22




Ark ID: w62z1w6x

SNAC ID: 67524739