Gimpel Beynish the Matchmaker
(Gimpl Beynish der Shadkhn)
Yiddish Comics of the early 20th century

Translation and commentary by Jane Peppler
Click here to read about and order the three Gimpel books I've published.

Comics read right to left. Click on any comic strip for larger view.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jake sells Gimpel an insurance policy. 2-17-1915

Meanwhile, insurance policy salesmen did not have a sterling reputation back in the day.

February 17, 1915: He snags an unexpected bargain.
  1. GB: Hello, Jake! Well, let's get down to business.
  2. Jake: Business? Sure, I've been looking for you a few days for the same reason.
  3. Jake: Right here is an insurance policy. It's a precious thing for a man like you.
  4. Jake: If you break my foot, you get five hundred dollars, and so on.
  5. GB: He fooled me into a policy. I'm a blockhead or he is a bluffer!

ער כאַפּט אַ באַרגײן אונגעריכטערהײד.

גימפּעל בײניש: העללאָ, דזשײק! נו, לאָמיר שױן אַמאָל אָנהײבען שמועסען מכּח ביזנעס.
דזשײק: ביזנעס? שור, װעגען דעם זוך איך אײַך טאַקע זײַט עטליכע טעג.
דזשײק: אָט דאָס איז אַן ענסירענט-פּאָליסי. אַ טהײַערע זאַך פֿאַר אַזאַ מאַן װיא איהר.
דזשײק: צוברעכט איהר מײַן פֿוס קריעגט איהר פֿינף הונדערט דאָלער, אַ. ז. װ.
גימפּעל בײניש: אָט האָט ער מיר אַרײַנגעשטיפֿט אַ פּאָליסי. בין איך אַ שוטה אַדער ער איז אַ בלאָפֿער!

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Nicholas II goes to the dentist. There is no novocaine. 2-17-1915

Cartoon February 17, 1915: Nikolai’s Dentist
From the left: Franz Josef, Nikolay, Wilhelm.
Wilhelm: Hold him a little longer, Miss.
 Franz Josef: Lodz, Lomzhe and Bielsk we have already. His other teeth will soon follow.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Gimpel gets some terrible tobacco. 2-16-1915

February 16, 1915: His American nose can't tolerate everything.
  1. A pinch of tobacco? Don't mind if I do. It's been a long time since I enjoyed the treat.
  2. Feh! My eyes are swimming from the swinish...
  3. A-choo!
  4. A-choo! Gevald, how can I run from this? I can't take it.
  5. Oy, I feel like I'm in a submarine.

זײַן אַמעריקאַנער נאָז קען שױן ניט אַלעס פֿאַרטראָגען.

אַ שמעק טאַבאַק? מהיכא תיתי. טאַקי שױן לאַנג ניט פֿאַרזוכט דעם מאכל.
פֿע! עפּעס שװינדעלט מיר אין דיא אױגען פֿון דעם הזיר׳שען…
אָפּ-טשו! גװאַלד, װאוהין אַנטלױפֿט מען דערפֿון? שױן ניט אױסצוהאַלטען.
אױ, עפּעס פֿיהל איך גלײַך װיא איך װאָלט געװען אין אַ סאָמבאַרין.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Gimpel Beynish Volume 5 is now available

Because I'm including Sam Zagat's political cartoons, I couldn't fit all of 1917 into this volume. It goes from January through August 1917. There will be two more volumes and that will be the complete set, because Di Warheit merged into Der Tog in early 1919 and Louis B. Miller (who wrote the Gimpel Beynish comic strips) and Samuel Zagat (who illustrated them) parted company.

Click the cover to go to the page where you can see all five volumes and buy them as paperbacks or as digital downloads (only $5 each). I also provide a full retyped file of all the captions in Yiddish by return email if you write me and ask for it.

All the Gimpel Beynish books for sale.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fountain pens were as bad back then as they were in the 1970s. 2-15-1915

In the 1800s various inventors worked on alternatives to the dip pen. I see on Wikipedia that Walter A. Sheaffer patented the lever filler which became widely used by 1912. I used to use a fountain pen and had the same problems Gimpel has.

February 15, 1915: Go try and get started with a fountain pen.
  1. GB: My pen won't write today for some reason, it's useless.
  2. Jake: Take my fountain pen and write my address.
  3. GB: Yes, the ink is flowing, but it isn't writing.
  4. GB: You give the pen a good shake like this...
  5. Jake: You'll pay for my suit. It cost me thirty dollars.

געה פֿאַנג זיך אָן מיט אַ פֿאַנטען פּען.

גימפּעל בײניש: עפּעס װיל מײַן פּען הײַנט ניט שרײַבען, אַזױ װיא אומיסטנע.
דזשײק: נעהמט אײַך מײַן פֿאַונטען פּען און פֿאַרשרײַבט מײַן אַדרעס.
גימפּעל בײניש: דאָ געהט עפּעס יאָ טינט, נאָר שרײַבען קען מען אױך ניט.
גימפּעל בײניש: מען דאַרף די פּען גוט אַ טרײסעל טהוען – אָט אַזױ.
דזשײק: איהר װעט בעצאָהלען פֿאַר מײַן סוט. ער קאָסט מיך דרײַסיג דאָלאַר.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Lusitania, prideful before it sank, and a summons for Gimpel. 2-14-1915

The Lusitania, a British ocean liner, made 202 voyages before the Germans sank it May 7 1915.I guess the Americans were protecting it. I know I should read more about World War I but the idea makes me tired.

Feb 14 cartoon: "England's borrowed clothing"
Left: England; right: Wilhelm; ship: Lusitania (English ocean liner sunk by a German submarine May 7, 1915); caption:
John Bull (England): What will you do now with your little submarines? Maybe you think Uncle Sam's clothes don't suit me, go ahead and think so, but you can't bother me.

February 14, 1915: Not all letters are the same.
  1. GB: You have to ask if I'm a famous matchmaker? Who doesn't know...
  2. Jake: You're that guy Gimpel Beynish. That's you of course.
  3. GB: Do you need me? You have a letter for me? Come on, show it to me.
  4. GB: A summons from that pig of a butcher whose window my loafers broke.
  5. Jake: If you take a look at what's in the summons you won't...

אַ בריעף צו אַ בריעף איז ניט גלײַך.

גימפּעל בײניש: דאַרפֿסט ערשט פֿרעגען צי איך בין אַ בעריהמטער שדכן? װער קען דען ניט…
דזשײק: אָט רופֿט טאַקע אײנער ״גימפּעל בײניש״. דאָס מײנט מען אײַך אודאי.
גימפּעל בײניש: מיך דאַרפֿסטו? האָסט אַ בריעף פֿאַר מיר? קאָם אָן, װײַז אַהער.
גימפּעל בײניש: אַ סאָמאָנס פֿון דעם הזיר׳שען בוטשער װאָס מײַנע לױפֿערס האָבען בײַ איהם צעבראָכען אַ פֿענסטער.
דזשײק: אַז איהר װעט אַ קוק טהוען װאָס אין בריעף שטעהט װעט איהר ניט…

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Friday, June 23, 2017

One talks of war, the other talks of corns. 2-13-1915

Nobody I know uses the word corn - it seems awfully old-fashioned - but people still get them, so what are they called now? Maybe nobody talks about them.

February 13, 1915: When you're dealing with a deaf customer, it's no walk in the park.
  1. GB: Come along, I can give you a bride, too, but not today.
  2. Jake: There goes a boy with an 'Extra' edition of the paper, it'll persuade you that the Russians...
  3. Jake: ... have had the biggest defeat. Their defeat is even defeated.
  4. GB: Are you trying to kill my foot? My corns, aren't they corns?
  5. GB: If so, I must show you the door as the Germans did the Russians.

אַז מען האָט צו טאָן מיט אַ טױבען קאָסטימער איז געװיס ניט אַזאַ מאכל.

גימפּעל בײניש: קום אַלײן, קום. איך קען דיר אױך געבען אַ כּלה, אָבער ניט הײַנט.
דזשײק: אָט געהט אַ באָי מיט אַן ״עקסטראַ״, װעט איהר זיך איבערצײַגען אַז דיא רוסען…
דזשײק: האָבען געהאַט דיא גרעסטע מפּלה. זײַט מפּלות האָבען זיך גע׳מפּלה׳ט.
גימפּעל בײניש: װילסט אַלץ ניט אַרונטערגעהן פֿון מײַן פֿוס? מײַנע קאָרנס זײַנען קײן קאָרנס ניט?
גימפּעל בײניש: אױב אַזױ, מוז איך דיר משלח זײַן װיא דיא דײַטשען זײַנען משלח דיא רוסען.

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