4: Theater program cover from The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill, 1908.

4: Theater program cover from The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill, 1908.

Israel Zangwill (1864-1926) was a British-Jewish writer, and one of the most well-known Jews of his time. His 1908 play popularized the term “melting pot” as a way to describe American society. The play’s protagonist, a Jewish immigrant named David who survived but lost family members in the Kishinev pogroms, is writing a symphony that glorifies the erasure of ethnic difference and the emergence of a new American. For more information about the play and its history, read this short article from the New York Times.

Suggested activity: Have students study the program cover image and free-write in response to it for 5 minutes. Then discuss: What is happening in this artwork? What feelings do the images evoke?

Source: The Melting Pot theater program cover, 1916, University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections Department, http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/tc/id/54844.