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 seven Gimpel books I've published.

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

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gimpel studies up on eugenics and introduces Jake to an intimidatingly superior specimen.

Welcome to the weird world of Gimpel Beynish the Matchmaker! These will be his comic strips as they appeared in the Warheit Yiddish newspaper in the 1910s. I've cleaned up, translated, and put the first 252 of them into a book. At this blog: random, occasional observations of Samuel Zagat's work. The ideas and captions were written by his editor, Louis B. Miller.

In 1913 there was a lot of discussion of eugenics in the newspapers. See Christene Rosen's book, Preaching Eugenics: Religious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement. The titles of a couple of New York Times articles of the time: "Should ministers marry the physically unfit?" and "Will Marry Healthy Only: 200 Chicago Pastors Endorse Plan to have Doctor's Certificate."

June 12, 1913: There’s a great danger he’ll stop believing what’s written in the papers.
  1. GB: I don’t know what this “eugenics” is the papers are going on about. A new hassle for matchmakers. Oh well, one must be up-to-date - if not, things get bitter.
  2. GB: See how it’s written in the paper that only the healthy should marry? Well, I have a bride for you who’s even better than what the papers say.
  3. Jake: So are you, so to speak, a “stylish” matchmaker? I’ll go with you to see how well you understand this new science.
  4. GB: I have the honor to introduce you to Miss Elegant. So, Jake, what do you say? Do I understand what I read in the paper? Well, congratu---
  5. GB: Why are you running off? You said you, too, believe in eugenics. Oy, curse the papers - they ruined such a nice match for me.

עס איז אַ גרױסע געפֿאָהר אַז ער זאָל אױפֿהערען גלױבען װאָס אין דיא פײפערס שטעהט. ־

גימפעל-בײניש: װײס איך װאָס די פײפערס דרעהען אַ קאָפ מיט ״יודזשעניקס״! אַ נײַער קלאָפאָט פֿאַר שדכנים. נאָר, מילא – מען מוז זײַן אָפ-טו-דײט, אַז ניט איז ביטער. ־
גימפעל-בײניש: זעסט װאָס עס שרײַבט זיך אין פײפער אַז נאָר געזונטע זאָלען חתונה האָבען. װעלל, איך האָב פֿאַר דיר אַ כּלה װאָס איז נאָך בעסער װי דער פײפער זאָגט. ־
דזשײק: אַזױ, זײַט איהר, הײסט עס, אַ סטײַלישער שדכן? ״יודזשעניקס״ איז ״יונזשעניקס.״ װעלל, איך בין אַ בעלן צו זעהן װיא װײַט איהר פֿאַרשטעהט דיזע נײַע װיסענשאַפֿט. איך גײ מיט אײַך. ־
גימפעל-בײניש: איך האָב די עהרע פֿאָרצושטעלען, דאָס איז מיסס עדעלמאַן. נו, דזשײק, װאָס זאָגסטו? פֿאַרשטעה איך שױן װאָס איך לעז אין פײפער? נו, זאָל זײַן מיט מז - - - ־
גימפעל-בײניש: װאָס-זשע אַנטלױפֿסטו? האָסט דאָך געזאָגט אַז דו גלױבסט אױך אין ״יודזשעניקס״ . אױ, אַ ניכפע אױף די פײפערס. מיר איבערגעפֿיהרט אַזאַ טהײַערען שידוך. ־



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