Streets: A Memoir of the Lower East Side / Edition 1

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   Born in Transylvania at the turn of the century, Bella Cohen Spewack arrived on the streets of New York's Lower East Side when she was three. At 22, while working as a reporter with her husband in Europe, she wrote this memoir of her early years, which she never chose to publish. The publication of Streets more than 70 years later recovers a remarkable voice and revivifies a lost world.

   With a sense of the telling anecdote, the young Bella describes the sights and sounds of her neighborhood, and introduces a wide array of people as her family moves annually to save rent or find a still cheaper apartment. Her mother works as a live-in domestic, then takes on sewing and eventually boarders, as well as a new and unfriendly husband. Bella's world also includes two younger brothers, one of whom needs constant nursing.

   Streets includes the story of Bella's high school years-her mother was determined to make "a lady" of her daughter and would not allow her to work in a factory-and ends before she meets and marries Sam Spewack. At once street-smart and unsentimental Bella is a sturdy American hero who overcomes life's obstacles in a world that will later welcome her as a celebrated author.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Spewack, a journalist and playwright, wrote this candid account of her childhood at the turn of the century in New York's teeming tenements when she was only 22, in the Twenties. Posthumously, her literary executors sought publication as a tribute to the remarkable woman who had overcome innumerable obstacles to lead an interesting and successful life. Raised by a mother who had been abandoned by two husbands and had to claw her way through the system to provide for three children, the young Bella did not have many opportunities or role models to guide her. Spewack vividly describes the poverty, the pettiness, the smells, and the cacophony that permeated tenement life. She breathes life into the cast of sympathetic characters who passed through her early years. Spewack's achievements can motivate and inspire struggling young women today. Easily read, this book is recommended for public libraries as well as for women's collections.-Carol R. Glatt, VA Medical Ctr. Lib., Philadelphia
The second of a projected six volumes on nations and their theatres since 1945. Sketching out a social and political context for each of the countries studied, articles explore each country's national theatre in 12 sections: history, structure of the national theatre community, artistic profile, music theatre, dance theatre, theatre for young audiences, puppet theatre, design, theatre space and architecture, training, criticism-scholarship-publishing, and further reading. Includes an introduction, several general essays on theatre in the Americas, and a glossary. For theatrical professionals and researchers on the profession. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558611535
  • Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY, The
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Series: The Helen Rose Scheuer Jewish Women's Series Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 180
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.64 (d)

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