Updated:
Original:
Year
1978
Month Day
October 05

Isaac Singer wins Nobel Prize

On this day in 1978, Isaac Bashevis Singer wins the Nobel Prize for literature. Singer wrote in Yiddish about Jewish life in Poland and the United States, and translations of his work became popular in mainstream America as well as Jewish circles.

Singer was born in Poland in 1904 into a long line of Hasidic rabbis. He studied at the Warsaw Rabbinical Seminar, and inspired by his older brother Joshua, a writer, he began to write his own stories and novels. He published his first novel, Satan in Goray, in Poland in 1935.

The same year, he immigrated to the United States, where Joshua had already moved, to escape growing anti-Semitism in Europe. In New York, he wrote for a Yiddish-language newspaper. His mother and another brother were killed by the Nazis in 1939, the same year that Singer married Alma, the daughter of a Jewish merchant who had fled to the United States. In 1943, Singer became a U.S. citizen. His best-known works include The Family Moskat (1950), The Manor (1967), and The Estate (1969), all about the changes in and disintegration of Jewish families responding to assimilation pressures. Singer’s work is full of Jewish folklore and legends, peopled with devils, witches, and goblins. He wrote 12 books of short stories, 13 children’s books, and four memoirs. One of his stories, Yentl, was made into a movie directed by and starring Barbara Streisand in 1983. Singer divided his time between New York and Miami until his death, in 1991.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Apple founder Steve Jobs dies

On this day in 2011, Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Inc., which revolutionized the computer, music and mobile communications industries with such devices as the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad, dies at age 56 of complications from pancreatic cancer. Born on ...read more

Tecumseh defeated

During the War of 1812, a combined British and Indian force is defeated by General William Harrison’s American army at the Battle of the Thames near Ontario, Canada. The leader of the Indian forces was Tecumseh, the Shawnee chief who organized intertribal resistance to the ...read more

Dalai Lama wins Peace Prize

The Dalai Lama, the exiled religious and political leader of Tibet, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his nonviolent campaign to end the Chinese domination of Tibet. The 14th Dalai Lama was born as Tenzin Gyatso in Tsinghai Province, China, in 1935. He was of ...read more

Chief Joseph surrenders

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians surrenders to U.S. General Nelson A. Miles in the Bear Paw mountains of Montana, declaring, “Hear me, my chiefs: My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.” Earlier in the year, the U.S. government ...read more

First presidential speech on TV

On this day in 1947, President Harry Truman (1884-1972) makes the first-ever televised presidential address from the White House, asking Americans to cut back on their use of grain in order to help starving Europeans. At the time of Truman’s food-conservation speech, Europe was ...read more

Iran-Contra scandal unravels

Eugene Hasenfus is captured by troops of the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua after the plane in which he is flying is shot down; two others on the plane die in the crash. Under questioning, Hasenfus confessed that he was shipping military supplies into Nicaragua for use by the ...read more