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Stencl, Abraham Nahum

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 PP MS 44
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Stencl, Abraham Nahum
Date(s): c1910-1983
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 20 boxes
Name of creator(s): Stencl | Abraham Nahum | 1897-1983 | Yiddish poet


Administrative/Biographical history:

Abraham Nahum Stencl (Avrom-Nokhem Shtentsl): born in Tsheladzh, in south-western Poland, 1897; arrived in Berlin, 1921; a leading Yiddish literary figure in Germany, he wrote expressionist poetry and associated with other literary figures including Else Lasker-Schüler (Schueler) and Thomas Mann; he was a pioneer of the modernist form in Yiddish poetry, but his themes and imagery drew on Jewish tradition; fled to Britain in the mid-1930s; following his arrival his best-known works were on Whitechapel, where he settled, and which he admired as the last Yiddish 'shtetl' (place); edited Loshn un Lebn (Language and Life), a Yiddish literary journal, for over 40 years; chaired the literarishe shábes-nokhmîtiks (literary Sunday afternoons) meetings; lived in Greatorex Road, off Whitechapel High Street; died, 1983. An annual lecture at the University of Oxford was founded in his name.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers, c1910-1983, of Abraham Nahum Stencl, relating to his life and work and to modern Yiddish literature, and comprising papers relating to his life, 1934-1978, including letters received from his family, photographs, press cuttings relating to his life and work, and personal documents; manuscript and printed writings, 1930-1980, in verse and prose, including some autobiographical and works on literature; papers, 1918-1983, largely dating from the 1940s and after, relating to Loshn un Lebn and the Friends of Yiddish circle, other friends and acquaintances, Jewish organisations, and Stencl's involvement in literary events, comprising letters received and other papers, including works by other authors, of over 200 correspondents, some of them annotated by Stencl; ephemera, c1910-1982, accumulated by Stencl, including postcards, membership cards, receipts, tickets, greeting cards, circulars, advertisements, and flyers.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Yiddish and English

System of arrangement:

The papers are divided into the following sections: Stencl's life (1 box); Stencl's writings (6 boxes); correspondence and papers, arranged alphabetically by author (9 boxes); ephemera (2 boxes).

Conditions governing access:

Unrestricted access to boxes 1-18, but boxes 19-20, containing further unsorted manuscripts by Stencl, annotated Loshn un Lebn proofsheets, and miscellaneous Yiddish newspapers, are unavailable for consultation.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Apply to archivist in the first instance. Requests for publishing extensive quotations will be referred to the donor.

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist by Leonard Prager to item level.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Stencl's library, numbering several thousand books and periodicals, letters and other papers, which included collections passed onto him by other Yiddish literary figures, were rescued from his flat in Whitechapel after his death.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were donated to SOAS, as part of Stencl's library, by Mrs Miriam Stencl Becker, his great-niece, in 1983.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Printed material, totalling c2,500 items, from Stencl's library, including works by major and minor Yiddish writers, Yiddish periodicals, and material relating to the wider European literary scene, is held in SOAS Library.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Source: article by Peter Shmuel Salinger in The Jewish Chronicle, 25 Nov 1983.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Apr 2002

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