TABLE OF CONTENTS
Manuscript Collection No. 867
Funding, in part, for the arrangement and description of this collection was provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
David Mazer was born in 1898 in the small Jewish village of Zwetnaya Colonia in the Ukraine. His family arrived at Ellis Island in 1906. His elder brother had come to the United States earlier and settled in New Haven, Connecticut, where Mazer spent his childhood and teenage years, His father died after several unproductive years, never having adjusted to the new country. His mother lived into her 90s.
Mazer's schooling ended after the seventh grade. Needing to help support the family, he became a newsboy and delivered papers in New Haven, During that time a newly established trade school opened its doors in New Haven and a linotype machine was given to the school. David helped to assemble it and quickly learned how to operate it. He became an expert linotype operator, started the school newspaper, and by the time he was 18, he began working on small town newspapers near New Haven.
He came to New York City when he was about 19 and worked as a linotype operator. The Typographical Union admitted him to membership as the youngest member at that time due his skill and speed on the job. In the summers, he explored the West, riding freight trains in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona as a hobo. In the summer of 1920, when hiking in the Sierras in California, he met Lois Atkins. They married in 1924 and were given six acres of land by Lois' mother, Mary Churchill Atkins. The property overlooked the Delaware Water Gap near East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. They set up a small retail garden center and sold other plants from their nursery wholesale to flower shops in New York and Philadelphia to support the family.
David and Lois had two children, Larkin, born in 1926, and Phyllis, born in 1929. In 1936 Lois died from pneumonia. Mazer remarried in 1939 to Wendy (Mary) Schwendeman. They had two children together, Ellen, born in 1940, and Don, born in 1946.
Mazer became a United States citizen in 1941. During World War II, he volunteered at night to man a small outpost looking for enemy aircraft that might be coming through the Delaware Water Gap. After the war, Mazer created a small pond on his land and developed the property around it. He eventually sold this development and retired.
He spent his remaining years travelling to Russia, Israel, and Europe. He spent the winter months in San Miguel de Allende, a Mexican colonial town, were he had many friends and wrote extensively. He attended poetry and theatre workshops. He also wrote plays, occasionally getting professional readings and workshop productions.
David Mazer died in 1989 at the age of 91.
This collection consists of poetry, plays, and stories written by David Mazer. His poems are organized alphabetically by title with an alphabetical index of first lines. Also included is a short biography written by his daughter, Phyllis Sternau, along with several autobiographical pieces written by Mazer.
This collection is arranged in a single series.
Terms of Access and Use
This collection is open to all users. The original manuscript collection is available in the Barrows-Loebelson Reading Room of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.
Property and Literary Rights
Phyllis Sternau, by the act of donating this collection to the American Jewish Archives, assigned all property rights to the American Jewish Archives. Literary rights are retained by the heirs of David Mazer. Literary rights may also be retained by specific creators of some materials.
Mazer, David. The bells of Paroquia: poems of David Mazer. SC-15604.
Mazer family. Photographs. PC-4963.
Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the David Mazer Papers and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:
[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-867. David Mazer Papers. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The David Mazer Papers were received from Phyllis Sternau, New York, N.Y. in January, 2010.
Processed by Michelle Wirth Detroit, April, 2012.
This collection was arranged and described according to minimal-processing standards. Funding, in part, for the arrangement and description of this collection was provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the AJA Online Catalog.
Persons and Families
Mazer, David, 1898-1989.
United States. National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Genres and Forms