Who was "A. Markoff," Agit-Prop expert in early 1930s CPUSA?

David Chambers's picture

Greetings.  Has anyone ever identified who the "A. Markoff" was, who wrote in The Party Organizer, often in a column called "Agit-Prop Work" and often with a title like "director of Agitation and Propaganda"?

If I found one personal reference to him as "Olgin was followed several speakers later by his fellow party delegate, Dr. A. Markoff, who has been equally successful in the professions of dental surgery and Stalinist officialdom" and also " Isn’t it strange, Dr. A. Markoff, D.D.S.?":  https://marxists.catbull.com/archive/shachtma/1932/08/congress.htm 

The only Comintern-like dentist associated with the CPUSA that comes to my mind is Dr. Philip Rosenbliett.


(Stay safe and sound)

Probably Abraham Markoff, a dentist and head of the Party's Workers School in the mid-1930s.

My database includes the following dentists:

• Louis Hendin

• Jacob Mindel (in practice with Hendin)

• James Wilenkin

I also have a listing for pseudonym "Allan Markoff" — Ilya Shmerkovich (b. 1895 in Kremenchug, Russia).

I have not IDed him as a dentist and not sure where I that ID in the first place, so take that with a grain of salt.

I also have a listing for real name "Abraham Markoff":

"Representative of the Central Committee of the Italian Section of CPUSA in early 1929. Was approached by Morris Nemser shortly after the Aug. 1929 headquarter documents scandal. Informed to Party. CPUSA candidate for Congress from the 5th District of New York, Nov. 1934."

The "headquarters documents scandal" relates to the Lovestone affair.

It is possible that these two listings are for a single individual. Sometimes real names and pseudonyms get shuffled.

best regards,

Tim Davenport
Corvallis, OR

I spent a few minutes running a search for Abraham Markoff via Newspapers.com this evening. I found a pretty good mini-bio published in conjunction with a speech that he was to deliver to the Elmira (NY) Foreign Policy Association in 1930. (Elmira Star-Gazette, Feb. 3, 1930, p. 7)

"Dr. Markoff was born and educated in Russia. He lived there until 1906, when he was forced to flee to escape persecution by the Czarist government for his active participation in the revolution of 1905. Since coming to the United States, Dr. Markoff has obtained a professional education and is at present engaged in the practice of dental surgery in New York City.

"He revisited Russia in 1926 and was able to gain much valuable first-hand information as he speaks Russian fluently and did not need to resort to the services of an interpreter."

The same paper for February 6, 1930 has Markoff's photo. He appears to be in his early 40s in the shot, neatly dressed, balding, and wearing round-framed glasses.

Another article mentions an Abraham Markoff as attending a ball in 1912 hosted by the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy for its graduates, the implication being that he was a former or current student.

He was educational director of the Workers' School at the time he spoke in Elmira in 1930.

A 1934 listing of Communist political candidates in the Brooklyn Eagle shows Markoff's address as 350 Riverside Drive, New York City. Markoff was still director of the Workers' School at that date. Another article in the Brooklyn Tablet from December 1941 also mentions Markoff as director of the Workers' School.

Markoff was a speaker on the aims of Zionism in a meeting at Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in June 1946.

I am finding a funeral listing for an Abraham Markoff for November 5, 1962, although not 100% certain it is the same person.

Hope this helps.

Tim Davenport
Corvallis, OR

A colleague spotted this thread and pointed me towards a New York Times obituary for Abraham Markoff from the issue of August 30, 1939, p. 23:

"Announcement was made last night by the National Committee of the Communist Party of the United States of the sudden death here on Tuesday [August 29] from a heart attack of Abraham Markoff, director and founder of the New York Workers School, 50 E Thirteenth Street, and a member of the [New York] State Committee of the Communist Party. He became ill in the Pennsylvania Railroad station while about to leave for a vacation in Atlantic City.

"Born in Russia in 1887, Mr. Markoff toook part in the 1905 revolution, and soon afterwards came to the United States. Earl Browder, general secretary of the party, said of his death: 'In addition to the deep personal loss of a friend, the movement has lost one of its most modest, effective, and persevering workers.'"


Obviously, the 1946 speaker on Zionism and the 1962 obituary that surfaced in a Newspaper.com search were "false positives," references to another individual by the same name. I also see no indication that Markoff had anything whatsoever to do with the Italian Federation and have stricken that from my database.

Tim Davenport
Corvallis, OR