Benjamin Brown (ca. 1888-1974) was the first practicing Jewish architect in Toronto. Born in what is now Lithuania, he arrived in Toronto at an early age and soon after, quit school to take a job in a garment manufacturing factory to help out his impoverished family. Not finding this career to his liking, Brown enrolled in the Ontario School of Art and Design with the intention of becoming an artist. When this profession proved financially unfeasible, Brown decided to pursue a career in architecture. After completing his high school equivalency, he enrolled in the University of Toronto architectural program, graduating in 1913. Soon after, Brown opened up a practice with fellow architect Robert McConnell, which lasted until the early 1920s. After the partnership ended, Brown set up an independent practice, which he maintained until his retirement in 1955.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents Brown’s design work and renovations of existing buildings through his original drawings, renderings, and building blueprints. The fonds consists of approximately 1500 drawings that are organized into about 150 projects. These projects include single-family residences, apartment buildings, commercial and industrial buildings, as well as synagogue and other community buildings. Many of Brown's buildings were designed in the Art Deco style, with some containing Georgian, Craftsman, Colonial Revival, Tudor and Romanesque elements.
Brown's most important commissions include the Beth Jacob Synagogue located on Henry Street, which was one the largest synagogues in Toronto, and the Balfour Building, an office tower built in the Art Deco style. The designs of Mendel Granatstein’s mansion, which contained a retractable roof for Sukkoth, and a colour sketch of the Primrose Club, which is currently the University of Toronto Faculty Club, may also be of interest to researchers. The fonds also includes some of Brown's files containing articles and illustrations from architecture and design journals of the early twentieth century, which he used as a resource to assist him with his work.
Fonds includes six photographs, one of the Balfour Building, one of Cumberland Hall, and four of Brown as a young man.
Architectural plans of a lead mine in Burnt River Ontario have been sent to the Kawartha Lakes Archives.
Sol Edell (1919-2000) was a prominant member of the Toronto Jewish community who initially pursued a career as a pharmacist and was later founder and president of the property development company, Elmdale Investments. He held positions as board member or chair in a wide variety of religious, educational and social service organizations and institutions both in Canada and Israel. In Toronto, these included: Clanton Park Synagogue, Adas Israel Synagogue, Jones Avenue Cemetery, Canadian Jewish Congress and the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto (formerly Toronto Jewish Congress, and now the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto).
Edell was born in Toronto on 5 March 1919, the son of Pesach and Molly Edell. He attended Harbord Collegiate and graduated from the Toronto College of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, in 1943 while on leave of absence from the army. He was enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War and served in the signal corps.
After he completed his army service, he opened Edell’s Drug Store at 1978 Queen Street in Etobicoke in 1948, the first shomer Shabbat drug store in the city. He operated a second store at 494 Spadina Avenue in the late 1940s. In 1955 the Queen Street location was expropriated by the City of Toronto. Subsequently, Edell founded Elmdale Investments, the company which built and managed the Elmhurst Plaza in Etobicoke. He reopened the drug store, which was renamed Elmhurst Drugs in the plaza. He also invested in two retail textile stores, Deltex Drapery and Dodd’s Drapery which had been founded by group of businessmen including his cousin Israel Edell.
In 1952 he married Dolly Weinstock, the daughter of Moishe and Sylvia Weinstock. They lived in the newly developed suburb of North York with their four children: Ethel, Simcha, Malka and Joseph. After 10 years of marriage, Dolly died and in 1966, he married Celia Rogen Hoffman.
Sol Edell was a founding member and first president of the Clanton Park Congregation. He was actively involved in the construction of the synagogue and its development. He continued to be affiliated with Shomrai Shabbos where his grandfather Rabbi Yosef Weinreb had been the rabbi. He was also involved with Adas Israel, the synagogue in Hamilton where his wife Celia had been an active member.
He was chair of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region -- Toronto Jewish Congress Archives Committee, which subsequently became the Ontario Jewish Archives. During his tenure, the archives was responsible for the reconstruction of the Kiever Synagogue which had been built in the early 1900s but had fallen into a state of disrepair by the 1960s.
Sol Edell was also involved in a number of Zionist organizations. He was the founding chair of the Aliyah Support Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto, whose mandate was to assist Torontonians who had moved to Israel and ease their transition into Israeli society. He was also an active member of the Mizrachi organization and its affiliated institutions. Another one of Sol Edell’s interests was ensuring the preservation of local cemeteries. He was president of the Jones Avenue Cemetery and on the board of Pardes Shalom and the Bathurst Lawn Cemetery, Clanton Park section.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting Sol Edell's business activities, community involvement and personal life. Included is correspondence, meeting minutes, photographs, financial records, legal records, publications, audio-visual material, invitations, newspaper clippings, artifacts, lists, reports, speeches, and architectural drawings.
The fonds is organized into the following eleven series: Personal; Edell's Drug Store and Elmhurst Pharmacy; Elmdale Investments; Deltex Drapery and Dodd's Drapery; Adas Israel Synagogue; Clanton Park Synagogue; Shomrai Shabbos; Aliyah; Cemetery and funeral home; Historical materials; and, Activities and organizations.
Physical description note: includes 739 photographs, 232 architectural drawings, 11 audio cassettes, 9 audio reels, 13 film reels, 7 videocassettes, 4 slides, 1 plaque, 4 badges, and 1 key.
Edell Solomon, 1919-2000
Clanton Park Synagogue (Toronto, Ont.)
Edell's Drug Store
Jones Avenue Cemetery
Canadian Jewish Congress/ Toronto Jewish Congress Archives
Aliyah Support Committee
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
The bulk of the architectural drawings are currently being stored rolled up. They should be flattened and encapsulated in melinex.
Film and sound reels should be digitized.
See fonds #5 for material related to Paul Edell.
See accession #2012-10/9 for material related to the Edell family.
The National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC) was the first national Jewish women's organization in Canada. The council had its beginnings among the urban elite, and played a strong role over the years in influencing public policy in such areas as relations with Israel, national unity, and the plight of world Jewry. The NCJWC is dedicated, in the spirit of Judaism, to furthering human welfare in the Jewish and general communities -- locally, nationally and internationally. It operated around three main pillars: service, education, and social action.
The National Council of Jewish Women was founded in the United States in 1893 by activist Hannah G. Solomon. In 1897, its first Canadian chapter was established in Toronto. In 1925, with seven chapters in Canada, a Canadian liaison position to the National Council of Jewish Women was created. A full-fledged “Canadian Division” of the NCJW was formed in 1934, with rules drafted at the first conference in Winnipeg three years later. Irene Samuel served as the Canadian Division’s first national president. In 1943, the division was renamed the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, and was officially incorporated in 1944, though it did not receive its letters patent until three years later. Even so, the NCJWC still retained some affiliation with the NCJW, whereby they paid per-capita dues to the Americans in return for program and administrative materials. In 1967 the NCJWC ceased these payments altogether, thereby separating from NCJW completely.
The early NCJWC focused on providing service to young girls and immigrants. They also involved themselves in contemporary politics through support for the war effort; the council donated vehicles to the Red Cross, turned Council House into a servicemen's centre, and even built several libraries at Canadian army camps. A national office opened ca. 1950 in Toronto, but until 1966 it moved to the national president's home city with every election. That year the office was permanently anchored in Toronto. In the 1950s and 1960s the council established Good Age clubs, the Irene Samuel Scholarship Fund, and developed the national Higher Horizons child-care and Newer Horizons elder-care programs. It expanded its overseas programs with support for the Israel Family Counseling Association and Ship-a-Box. The Soviet Jewry projects in the 1970s and 1980s reflected the council’s increasing emphasis on social action. Since the late 1990s, the council has focused on women's issues with efforts such as the Breast Self-Examination (BSE) program.
The NCJWC was governed by an executive council, led by a president. Vice-presidents were each responsible for one portfolio, such as membership, public affairs, etc., which were in turn made up of a number of national committees. The national executive was responsible for producing by-laws, guidelines, policies and procedures, as well as developing national service and social action programs. National also provided support and program materials to the sections, and held biennial meetings every other year from 1937 in cities across Canada. Its decentralized structure meant that while the national office remained in Toronto, officers of the executive have resided right across the country.
As of 1997, the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada was an affiliate member of the International Council of Jewish Women, a member of UNESCO Canadian Subcommission of the Status of Women, and a member of the Coalition of Jewish Women Against Domestic Violence and the Coalition for Agunot Rights. Prominent past presidents include Mrs. Harry (Irene) Samuel, Mrs. Lucille Lorie, Dr. Reva Gerstein, Mozah Zemans, Mina Hollenberg, Sophie Drache, Thelma Rolingher, Helen Marr, Bunny Gurvey, Sheila Freeman, Penny Yellen, and Gloria Strom. The council’s national office moved to Winnipeg in November, 1993. As of 2006, the council still had 5 active sections in Canada: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.
NCJWC donated these records to the OJA after they had finished a historical exhibit and catalogue in 1997 called "Faith and Humanity," celebrating 100 years of NCJWC.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents NCJWC’s fundraising, social service and social action work in Toronto, in other cities across the country, and overseas. Records include conference and meeting programs, minutes, hand-written correspondence, speeches and reports, national newsletters, published histories, by-laws and policies, photographs, publicity material, historical subject files and artifacts. The records have been arranged into nine series: National biennial conventions and annual meetings; National Executive Council; National portfolios and committees; National program and event materials; National history research and subject files; International Council of Jewish Women; Toronto Section; Photos and audio-visual material; and National Council of Jewish Juniors, Toronto Section.
Physical description note: includes ca. 2470 photographs, 13 architectural drawings, 2 artistic drawings, 3 badges, 3 medals, 1 pin, 28 audio cassettes, and 1 videocassette.
National Council of Jewish Women of Canada
See also: photographs 3207, 3192, 4140, 4067, 4066, 4434; Accession 1977-8-7 for National Council of Jewish Women of Welland; National Council of Jewish Juniors, photographs 458, 459, 460, 463, 464, 465, 466, 468; MG2 B-1K
Records have been arranged by function, in accordance with information gleaned from NCJWC's organizational charts and annual reports
5593 photographs, 25 x 20 cm and smaller, and other media
The Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto was incorporated in Ontario in March 1917 to coordinate the fundraising activities of Jewish charitable, philanthropic, and social service agencies in Toronto. In 1918, ten separate agencies were funded by the FJPT. By 1937, fourteen agencies were funded. The Great Depression of the 1930s and the development of several newer Jewish aid, education, and medical care organizations created both increased need for resources and growing competition for ever-more scarce dollars. Within a very few years this funding crisis forced a major review of the organization.
During 1936 a series of special meetings of leading individuals were held to examine the income and expenditures of all Toronto Jewish agencies and also to speculate about the need for a new Toronto Jewish "Community Chest" as the sole fund-raising organization for a federation of all Jewish agencies including the FJPT. In 1938, the new United Jewish Welfare Fund was formally constituted. Added to the FJPT's previous list of Toronto client agencies in 1938 were: the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Hebrew National Association, the Jewish Immigrant Aid Association, the Mizrachi Society, the Toronto Free Loan Association, the Geverkshaften, and Old Folks Home, and the United Palestine Appeal, raising the total number of agencies to 22.
When the State of Israel was established in 1948, the UJWF's annual fundraising campaign was combined with the CJC's United Palestine appeal to form a new, combined campaign named the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). In 1967, the UJA name was legally changed to the United Jewish Appeal of Metropolitan Toronto.
In mid-1976, the organization's public name was changed to the Toronto Jewish Congress. Although initially thought of as a merger between the UJWF and the CJC, the actual result was the expansion of the UJWF responsibilities to include local education and welfare services previously shared with the Canadian Jewish Congress, Central Region. The UJWF, however, remained the legal senior entity.
In 1991 the public name was again changed to the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto and in 1999, to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. By this date, over 30 beneficiary and affiliated agencies, 49 affiliated schools and five Federation departments were fully or partly funded by the UJA Federation.
In June, 2010, the organization altered its legal structure, with the senior legal entity becoming the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of 25 series: Annual Meetings, Annual Reports, Board of Directors, Constitution Committee, Executive Committee, Officers Committee, Budget and Finance Committee, Administration Committee, Social Planning Committee, Committee on Capital Needs and Planning, Central Committee on Scholarships in Aid, Joint Committee of the BJE and UJWF Study on Jewish Education, Nominations Committee, Pension Fund Committee, Coordinating Committee, Special Ad Hoc and Temporary Committees, Annual Campaign, Client Agencies, Joint Committee of the CJC and the UJWF, Committee on Community Organization, Sub-Committee on Construction and Administration of Community Schools, Joint Committee on Fundraising, Personnel Committee, Community Leadership Development Council, and Israel at Fifty Community Celebration.
Over 4500 photographs and a variety of other media are managed within Series 17, Campaign records.
For exact details about the contents of individual series and sub-series, please review their scope and contents notes.
United Jewish Welfare Fund
Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto
United Jewish Appeal
Toronto Jewish Congress
Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
For records of the predecessor of the UJWF, see Fonds 66, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto fonds.
Further detailed documentation of the proposed merger between the UJWF and the CJC (creation of the TJC) may be found in Fonds 67, Sub-sub-series 5-5-1, Files 171 and 221.
Further documentation on the United Jewish Welfare Fund may be found within Fonds 9, Series 7, records of the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society.
For further detailed records of a key community leader's involvement with the UJWF see Accession 1982-8-8, the records of Samuel Godfrey, 1943-1972.