"I realize that Yiddish audiences are the most appreciative and the most ready in the display of approval. I could not bear to play for a cool, calm audience that was politely attentive. To me the Jewish atmosphere is warming and inspiring. The joy which the audience does not hesitate to display enheartens me, and is far more satisfactory than the perfunctory applause which follows even the greatest successes in the American theater." Molly Picon in The Jewish Tribune. June 4, 1926
After Yonkel's death in 1975, Molly found solace on the stage. She continued working a rigorous schedule, appearing in her own one-woman show, "Hello Molly" well into her eighties, before succumbing to Alzheimer's disease in 1992 at the age of 94.
While adoring audiences could see her anywhere for one night, her scrapbooks offer a long view of her career and a glimpse into Molly's love for Yonkel, for Yiddish, for the stage, for her audiences, and for Jewish people worldwide.
These fragile scrapbooks illustrate two lives that were neither nostalgic nor stiff, within the context of social and cultural history. In careers that spanned the 20th century and saw the decline of Yiddish as a spoken language, Yonkel's writing and Molly's persona lit up stages around the globe, leaving a legacy of Yiddish performance more vivid and enduring than these pages can tell.
Scrapbooks from the Molly Picon Papers can be accessed at http://digital.cjh.org