Autograph Manuscript Signed by the Co-Founder of the “Jewish Daily Forward:” “The Pinkerton in America is a striking proof that vicarious atonement is indeed Christian…”

Signed by Mikhail Zametkin

Item: 17473
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ZAMETKIN, MIKHAIL. Russian-American author, socialist and co-founder of The Jewish Daily Forward. AMsS. (“Michel Zametkin”). 15pp. 4to. Brooklyn, c.1890s. (To American socialist author EDWARD BELLAMY, 1850-1898). A rare, handwritten manuscript for a story entitled “An Open Letter to the Fool of Universal History,” which describes an allegorical vision, symbolizing humanity’s errors. It begins:

“On an out-of-the-way piece of land, isolated and solitary, barren and cheerless, covered only with sand and prickly brambles, the dark cloudy sky overhanging it with an impenetrable gloom, there were strewen [sic.] this way and that heaps upon heaps of human heads: heads of the young, and heads of the old; heads of the men, and of women, and of children; heads of those shot, and of those hanged; of the guillotined, and of those burnt at the stake. I dared not raise my eyes… [The story concludes] With one last effort, — the question: “Where is truth?” still in my heart, — I awoke. Involuntarily, I whispered to myself, eagerly and passionately: “Where is Truth?” “In the unrestricted sway of the Pinkerton!” came the answer… not from Uncle Sam, [or] from Messiers [sic.] Money-Maker, Man-Starver and Co. –Oh, I see… A. Scape Goat. Postscript: The Pinkerton in America is a striking proof that vicarious atonement is indeed Christian…”

The Jewish Daily Forward Newspaper featuring its new building in 1912

Zametkin, a mathematician, fled Czarist Russia after he was tortured and imprisoned for his socialist convictions. In 1892, together with his wife Adella, Zametkin “came to the United States… During the Great Upheaval [labor unrest from 1885 to 1886], Zametkin joined the [Jewish labor organization] Yidisher Arbeter Fareyn and remained active in all branches of the movement ever since. Although a close colleague of [socialist author Abraham] Cahan’s, Zametkin differed in his approach to socialist agitation. Whereas Cahan aimed to reach the greenest of greenhorns, Zametkin felt a greater affinity for ‘the more enlightened,” (Socialists in New York, Michels).

In 1897, led by Cahan, Zametkin and his comrades began to publish a Yiddish daily newspaper called Forverts. The journal was quite influential at the beginning of the 20th century and is still active. Zametkin was its editor while his wife wrote for Der Yidisher Tog. Their daughter, Laura Z. Hobson, also became a writer, remembered for her best-selling novel about anti-Semitism Gentleman’s Agreement.

Like Zametkin, Bellamy was a socialist and author. His wildly popular utopian novel, Looking Backward, published in 1887 inspired the creation of more than 150 Nationalist Clubs, socialist organizations committed to implementing economic changes espoused by Bellamy. From 1891 to 1894, Bellamy published The New Nation magazine.

Our manuscript, most likely a submission for The New Nation, is probably referring to the involvement of Pinkerton agents in the 1892 Homestead Strike. One of the most significant events in the history of American labor, the Homestead Strike involved the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, a labor union in Western Pennsylvania encompassing employees of the Carnegie Steel Company and the Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Works. Previous strikes at the latter, located in Homestead, Pennsylvania, had resulted in violence. In 1892, Andrew Carnegie’s deputy, Henry Clay Frick, pledged to break the union during renegotiations of the union’s contract. He effected a lockout of union workers and hired the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to protect the plant and its nonunion strikebreakers. When the Pinkerton agents arrived, they came into open conflict with the strikers resulting in a prolonged gun battle. The state militia was called in to restore order and protect the plant. Despite pleas for Frick to reopen negotiations with the union, he refused. Anarchist Alexander Berkman, the lover of Emma Goldman, attempted to assassinate Frick, which eroded popular support for the union and precipitated the de-unionization of the steel industry. Folded into thirds and stapled along the top edge. Age toned, with some paper loss at the edges of the first page affecting a few words. The last page has come loose from the staples and suffers some paper loss along one fold and the edges, otherwise in very good condition. Rare.

Autograph Manuscript Signed by the Co-Founder of the “Jewish Daily Forward:” “The Pinkerton in America is a striking proof that vicarious atonement is indeed Christian…”

Signed by Mikhail Zametkin

$2000 • item #17473

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