Sunday, September 18, 2022


In 1907, a novelty song was released called "Yonkle, the Cow-Boy Jew."

It is antisemitic and anti-Indian, and simply wrong in all sorts of ways. I do not know if the lyricist, Will J. Harris, was Jewish. (Someone with that name had some hits in the 1920s but that one was born in 1900.)

The sheet music is out there, but here are the lyrics, which are incredibly offensive.

A Jew named Yonkle Finklestein
Went out west one day;
Just to shoot wild Indians,
That's what the neighbors say.
Didn't care a snap for home,
Left his wife and little child;
Met a pretty cowboy girl
Then his Yiddish brain went wild
To his friends he sent a note,
And this is what he wrote.
Chorus
Western life is fine and dandy
I have got no kick;
When I think of the pawnshop bus'ness
Oi, it makes me sick.
Ev'ry time I see some Indians
I just kill a few,
So I've changed my name from Finklestein 
To Yonkle, the Cowboy Jew. 


Now Yonkle made love to the girl
That he met out west;
But she told her beau on him,
And he then did the rest.
With a shooter in his hand
Cowboy made poor Yonkle dance;
Then he yelled, "You Tenderfoot,
Run while you have got the chance,"
Yonkle then commenced to pray
And swore he'd never say:

Even worse is the photo series someone created to publicize the song, showing "Yonkle" with his foot on a dead or captured American Indian. (This is from the Library of Congress site.)



 Oi, indeed.








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