Saul Cowan (1910-2002) was the seventh of nine children born to Zvi Hirsh (Harris) Cohen (1872-1954) and Chana Leah (Annie) (née Gollom) Cohen (1873-1960). His siblings were Woolf Cowan (Colvin) (1896-1987), Kate Cowan (b.1898) (m. Wener), Jack Cowan (1900-1992), Rivka (Reva) Cowan (1902-ca.2002) (m. Lieberman), Moe Cowan (b.1904), Jeanne Cowan (b.1906) (m. Kallman), Norman Cowan (b. 1909) and Miriam Cowan (b. 1919) (m. Rose).
The Cowan family immigrated to Toronto from England with their six oldest children circa 1908. Harris worked as a tailor in England and as an operator in men's clothing factory Tip Top Tailors in Toronto.
Saul graduated from the University of Toronto in 1931 in honours philosophy.
In 1932, Cowan married Lillian Rosenthal (1910-1978), the daughter of Morris (1883-1967) and Nessie (Celia) (née Soren) Rosenthal (1881-1969). Together, they had two children, Michael (b. 1939) and Trudy (b. 1941). The Rosenthal family ran a boarding house on Hanlan's Point and had a place at Belle Ewart. In 1945, Morris and Celia purchased Wapaska Lodge on Muskoka Bay just outside Gravenhurst and ran it as a family resort from 1948-1965.
Lillian, who was a public school teacher, passed away in 1978 and the following year Saul married Libbie Aiken (d. 2006). Libbie had been the head physiotherapist at the Toronto General Hospital during the late 1940s.
Saul pursued a career with the North York Board of Education serving as both trustee and chairman from 1958 to 1976. He was also very involved with the Jewish community and the growing North York community. He was also involved with organizations such as B'nai Brith, Canadian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (CPPNW), and the North York Social Planning Committee. He was a founder of the York Finch General Hospital.
Trudy studied physical and occupational therapy at the University of Toronto but changed career direction when she moved to Calgary in 1969 and became involved in historical organizations such as the Glenbow Museum, the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, and the Lougheed House Conservation Society. She married Leonid Luker (b. 1937) in 1982.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the Cowan (Cohen) family and their connected branches including the Rosenthal, Soren, Gollom, Aiken, and Altshuller families. The records originated from Saul Cowan, his first and second wives, Lillian Rosenthal and Libbie Aiken, and his daughter, Trudy Cowan Luker. Records include photographs of family members at graduations, weddings, school, religious events, camping activities, and milestone celebrations. Textual records include traditional and email correspondence, marriage certificates, passports, immigration documents, family histories, theatre and concert programmes, and newspaper clippings. Many of the records document Saul Cowan's personal and professional activities. The majority of the material relates to the Cowan and Rosenthal families.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION NOTE: Includes 386 photographs, 2 audiotapes, and 6 objects.
Four books from the collection have been removed and integrated into the OJA's library holdings. These include titles Have I Ever lied To You Before? by Jerry Goodis, My Outlook by Jack Cowan, When Partners Become Parents by Carolyn Pape Cowan and Philip A. Cowan, and Front Page Challenge - History of a Television Legend by Alex Barris.