WISEMAN, Leah bas Alchanan : Yiddish Poetry
Extent and Medium
Env. 0.09 metres of textual records. - 4 photographs.
Leah (Golub) Wiseman, was born in Chernigov, Ukraine, in 1889 or 1890. She came to Canada around 1907, at the age of 17, settling in Montreal. Married to Joseph Wiseman and a mother, she was active in various Jewish organizations, especially Talmud Torah. She had a very good singing voice. Her poems, written for herself and her family and signed Leah bas Alchanan, were likely never published. She died in Montreal at age 99, in December 1990. (Biography written by her son, Sidney White).
The collection was donated by her grandson Herb Alexander on August 28, 2003, with additions in August and December 2017.
Scope and Content
McGill hardcover notebook filled with handwritten Yiddish poems and stories. Three-ring binder of looseleaf photocopies of poems with translations opposite for most of them; also table of contents. The unpublished poetry on mainly Jewish themes, in Yiddish, with translations. Themes are of a typical Jewish women of her time: World War II, poverty, the Holocaust, aging, Israel, her children. Also one portrait photograph of the poet (copy of 1920 original taken circa 1920). Added in August 2017: Six small groups of family history documents consisting of, in the donor's words: 1) Five laminated pages of notes covering family history, 2) Three original pages of notes, including on the first page, "mention of the fact that Greenblatt enjoyed Leah's singing voice, which my mother described as being clear as a bell, and having an enormous range"; 3) A 1965 Yiddish document of around 13 notebook pages that (inserted translator's note) include a lexicon of Hebrew words and their Yiddish equivalents as well as some Yiddish phrases, interspersed with a few of Leah Bas Alchanan's autobiographical reflections; 4) Two anecdotes and a poem about Leah, written by the donor's mother (Leah's daughter); 5) One additional photocopy of a 1940 poem by Leah, with translation - original not found. and 6) two documents, (inserted translator's note) one with the dates from 1869, 1875 and 1884, (mostly in Hebrew) and the other apparently recording births (in German) for Avrom (1905), Mordecai (1906) and Leah (1910). Added in December 2017: Additional family material about ancestors and descendants, 1910-2017, information about the Alexander family surname, family trees, various birth, marriage and death certificates, and three photographs including an old studio portrait from Budapest. A brief inventory is included with the latter group of documents.
Alpha-numeric designations: P03/17, P17/12.