Pressed: Images from the Jewish Daily Forward

OCTOBER 24, 2019 THROUGH APRIL 19, 2020

Joyous readers receive news of World War II’s end on the front page of the Forward.

For more than 120 years, the Forward  has given an eager American Jewish audience a unique mix of news, culture and opinion. Published on the Lower East Side beginning in 1897, this Yiddish-language newspaper had a circulation of more than 275,000 in its heyday. The publication had a decidedly progressive bent, extolling the virtues of labor strikes and fights for equal rights of new immigrants. Photos were especially popular; the Forward sourced images from their readers’ daily lives, printing photos of leading intellectuals alongside everyday Jewish families around the globe.

Today, the Forward is a digital-only publication appearing in both English and Yiddish.  Its archives are vast, tracing the history of the printed publication and the stories it covered.  Pressed: Images from the Jewish Daily Forward dives into this archive, presenting a selection of metal plates that were used to print photos in the paper.  In many cases, the photos from which these plates were made no longer exist, making them the only remaining artifact of their historic images. The plates are accompanied by contemporary prints made on traditional equipment at the South Street Seaport Museum’s Bowne & Co. Stationers, which have rendered the images with more clarity than they ever appeared in the newspaper. For some, the pages of the Forward on which the images once appeared are also displayed.

Illustrations by Max Fleischer, whose work appeared in the pages of the Forward. Fleischer is the creator of many iconic images, including Betty Boop.

Together these pictures of strikes and activists, Yiddish theater stars and baseball players, daily life and historic moments, present the history of this singular publication, its audience and Jewish life in America and around the world.

Pressed opens on October 23rd with a free evening reception, featuring remarks from the Forward archivist, exhibition curators, and more.


Pressed: Images from the Jewish Daily Forward is on view during all Museum hours and included in the price of admission. 

Download Exhibition Press Release