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At a Glance
The collection consists of Joffe's correspondence, manuscripts/notes, and newspaper clippings. Joffe's correspondence in Yiddish in English is both personal and professional, covering communication with institutions he was working at or hoping to work at such as Columbia University, the Walden School, CUNY, Folksuniversitet, Lerer-seminar, Sholem-Aleichem Schools, Joseph Preparatory School, the Workmen's Circle, JTS, YIVO and others. Among his personal correspondence two letters from Yiddish writer and critic S. Niger (S. Charney) are notable. Joffe's manuscripts (Yiddish in transcription) contain drafts for lectures such as "amolike shprakh bay yidn", "vifl yidn iz do" "problemen fun geredtn yidish", "jeder", and "saj-saj". The series also contains a letter to Roman Jakobson (in English) and two copies of Joffe's article "katoves tsi katoves." Joffe's manuscripts also contain notes on university seminars and lectures he attended in 1945/46 and 1966, including "General Phonetics and Phonemics"(Prof. Jakobson) (English), "Russian Epic Songs" (Prof. Jakobson) (English), "Dos slavishe element in yidish" (Yiddish in transcription). Joffe's newspaper clippings contain a selection of clippings relating to Prof. Peck's (his undergraduate advisor) divorce and illness/death, miscellaneous articles from the NYT and elsewhere, as well as a clipping of the paper Novoye Ruskoye Slovo.
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Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Yehudah Yofe papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
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Immediate Source of Acquisition
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 07/--/89. Processed and finding aid written by Sandra Chiritescu in June 2019.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Judah A. Joffe was born in Bakhmut, Southern Russia on April 18 th 1873. He attended a high school in Ekaterinoslav (today: Dnepropetrovsk). In 1891 the Joffe family moved permanently to the United States and settled in New York. Joffe enrolled at Columbia University where he studied general philology under Prof. Harry Thurston Peck and graduated with a B.A. in 1893; from 1893-1897 he continued to study Indo-Iranian languages at Columbia University. Joffe also worked as a high school teacher of Latin and Mathematics in New York City at the Walden School and elsewhere. In addition, he was a lecturer in Russian at Columbia University and City College in New York. As a scholar and philologist, Joffe contributed to various dictionaries and encyclopedias and engaged in translations from numerous languages. Joffe wrote scholarly work on Yiddish and Slavic languages, literature, and music. He was active in Yiddish philology for over a half century and particularly interested in Old Yiddish, a subject he explored while working as an instructor at the Jewish Teacher's Seminary (lerer-seminar). In addition, Joffe contributed important work to the Groyser yidisher verterbukh (The Great Yiddish Dictionary). He was also involved in community activities, serving on the board of YIVO, and as the honorary Chairman of the Linguistics Circle at YIVO. Joffe lived in New York until his death on September 16 th 1966 in Riverdale, Bronx.