Shelby Shapiro's picture

Real name: 

Primary Discipline

Primary Discipline: 

  • Old HierarchyHistoryUnited States
Secondary Discipline

Secondary Discipline: 

  • Old HierarchyInterdisciplinaryEthnic and Cultural Studies


San Francisco-born, I grew up on Guam. After earning my BA in Anthropology, I worked for 19 years in a law office writing trial memoranda and appeal briefs, doing land title examinations, pursuing photography part-time, while hosting a Jazz & Blues program on various AM and FM stations for 9 years.

Self-taught in Yiddish, I went back to school when I came to the Washington metro area, earning an MA and PhD in American Studies studying the Yiddish press and acculturation of women immigrants. I am presently toiling to revise the manuscript based on the dissertation in hopes of publication. I am the Associate Editor for Connecticut Public Records, Vols XXI-XXII;  and a Yiddish-to-English translator.

I served as editor for the newsletter and later the small magazine of Yiddish of Greater Washington for more than a decade, continue to serve on its Board, as well as that of Operation Understanding-DC.

Current research areas: 

The Yiddish Press, Anarchism, radical movements, the IWW, Jewish labor movements, Jazz and Blues

Recent scholarly activity: 

Associate Editor, Vol. XXI & XXII of the _Connecticut State Reports_.

Recent publications: 

Forthcoming: Book review of Animals in the Third Reich, by Boria Sax.  The Independent Scholar 2, 1 (2016).
Book review of Pastrami on  Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli, by Ted Merwin. American Studies 55, 1 (Spring 2016): 164-165.
Book review of Constructing Ethnicity in an Age of Globalization, edited by Amanda J. Haste and James Block. The Independent Scholar 1 (2015): 51-52.
Book review of _The Call of Bilal: Islam in the African Diaspora_, by Edward E. Curtis IV.  Journal of American Studies 54, 1 (2015): 160-161.
Book review of _Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and the Making of the FBI_, by Jessica R. Pilely.  Journal of American Studies 54,2 (2015): 37-38.

"Aaron (T-Bone) Walker" and "Johnny Otis" in _Music in American Life:: An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories That Shaped Our Culture_, edited by Jacqueline Edmondson (Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, ABNC-CLIO, 2013).
Book review of Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat’s Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area, by Phil Brown.  Journal of American Ethnic History 24, 1 (Fall 2004): 135-136.
“Log Cabins.” In _Dictionary of American History_,  Third edition, edited by Stanley  I. Kutler, Vol. 5, revising original entry by Alvin F. Harlow, 145.  NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003. 
“Sheffield Scientific School.”  In _Dictionary of American History_,  Third edition, edited by Stanley  I. Kutler, Vol. 7, revising original entry by Elizabeth H. Thomson, 340.  NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003.
“Historishe shablonen oder historisher emes?”  -  “Clichéd History or Historical Truth?” - Part 1.  In _AFN SHVEL_ 299 (July-Sept. 1995): 1-6 [Yiddish].  A polemic against historical distortions presented by Prof. Oscar Handlin,  concerning American Jews, Anti-Semitism, and American Jewish reactions to the Hitler regime before Pearl Harbor.
“Historishe shablonen oder historisher emes?”  -  “Clichéd History or Historical Truth?” - Part 2.  In _AFN SHVEL_ 300  (Oct.-Dec. 1995): 7-11. [Yiddish]
"Freie Arbeter Shtime," _Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review_  5 (Scotland, 1978). Obituary of a newspaper.  Now online at the Kate Sharpley Library, http://
"Introduction" to reprint of Albert Meltzer's Origins Of The Anarchist Movement In China,  _Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review_ 4 (Scotland, 1977).


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