Michener Art Museum

Michael Gold

Michael Gold, New York Times, May 16, 1967, courtesy James A. Michener Art Museum archives
BORN: April 12, 1894, New York, New York
DIED: May 14, 1967, Terra Inda, California

"Novelist, playwright, journalist and critic Mike Gold was synonymous with proletarian writing in the U.S. For more than 50 years, his words dealt in one form or another with themes of radical protest and the need, as he saw it, for a socialist transformation of society." -New York Times, 5/16/67

Born Irving Granich in turn-of-the-century New York, Michael Gold spent more than 50 years writing about and for the masses. Gold was considered a radical and a socialist, and his fictional autobiography, Jews Without Money, was thought to be one of the first important accounts about the working class in the United States. Written in 1930, his only novel was about growing up as a poor Jew on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and of the immigrant's struggle to survive.
Gold was editor of The Masses and The New Masses and earned a reputation for his column Change The World which appeared in The Daily Worker from 1934 to 1966. He was also a playwright associated with the Provincetown Players and a political activist.
With his simple style, Gold encouraged Proletarian literature in this country; an advocate for the class struggle against bourgeois art and literature. He coined the term "Proletarian Realism" and was called "the most distinguished Marxist-Leninst writer in the country" by Choice.