The American Jewish Historical Society Presents


"Pages from a Performing Life: The Scrapbooks of Molly Picon"


Throughout their more than 50 years together Molly Picon, the "Darling of the Yiddish theater" and her husband and collaborator Yonkel (Jacob) Kalish kept scrapbooks brimming with clippings, reviews and interviews, fan letters, programs, telegrams and other ephemera.  Spanning the years 1919 to 1967, primarily in Yiddish and English, the scrapbooks reveal Molly’s best self: Her love of Yiddish theater and her audience, her tireless work ethic, and her longevity as a performer.  Molly’s scrapbooks chronicle her prolific career in lived time and as she and Yonkel wanted to remember it.  This exhibition provides a glimpse beyond Molly Picon’s international career and into the Yiddishkeit of her abundant life.

"Pages from a Performing Life" draws on the Molly Picon Papers, which include 22 scrapbooks, at the American Jewish Historical Society as well as material from the collections of the YIVO Institute, a fellow partner at the Center for Jewish History.  


Exhibit curated by Ari Y. Kelman, Assistant Professor of American Studies, University of California, Davis.

Scrapbooks from the Molly Picon Papers can be accessed at

View the Exhibition