Dora Till (1896-1987) was a leading member of the Toronto Jewish community. She helped found and served on the executives and boards of many organizations, including the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto, the United Jewish Welfare Fund (UJWF), the Candian Jewish Congress Central Region, and the Baycrest Hospital Women's Auxiliary. She was honoured numerous times in her life with awards and tributes for her contributions to the Jewish community.
Till was born in New York City on 20 March 1896, one of six children of Max and Yeta Tobias. Her parents had emigrated from Poland prior to 1892. When Dora was four, the family moved to Toronto where Max Tobias worked as a tailor. In her teens, Till was an active member of two social clubs for girls, the Boot and Shoe Society (for mothers and children in need) and the Herzl Girls Club.
Dora Tobias married Morris S. Till on 21 May 1916, in Toronto. They had two children, Sigmund and Cecile, both of whom she outlived. Sigmund died tragically at the age of 11 after a sudden illness. Cecile married Frank Goldhar and they had two children, Sheila Anne and Meyer Garson.
In 1918, Till joined the Hebrew Maternity Aid Society and she served as its vice-president for the next fifteen years. This was the beginning of a lifetime career in family welfare, health care and services for the aged. Till helped found and was the first president of the Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home located in Bronte and then Tollandale, which provided mothers and children in need with a two-week holiday in the country.
From the 1920s until the 1940s, Till served on several boards including the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto, and the United Jewish Welfare Fund, as well as the Welfare Fund's Women's Division and Women's Service Council. In 1950, she became the first woman to be named honourary vice-president of the UJWF. In 1955, after many years affiliation with the Jewish Home for the Aged, Dora Till organized the newly built Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care's Women's Auxiliary, becoming its first president. She also served for 40 years on the executive board of the Family and Child Service Bureau, the precursor to Jewish Family & Child Services. Till was an active member of many other Jewish organizations, including the Naomi Chapter of Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women, B'nai Brith Women, the Mount Sinai Women's Auxiliary, the Jewish Camp Council, and Toronto United Community Appeal - Community Chest. She was also a member of Goel Tzedec Congregation and its successor, Beth Tzedec Congregation.
Dora Till was honoured with several awards and tributes in her lifetime for her contributions to Jewish life, health and welfare in Toronto. In 1956, the Dora and Morris Till Bungalow at the Mothers and Babes Summer Rest Home was dedicated. In 1969, she was the first woman to recieve UJWF's Ben Sadowski Award for Jewish Community Service. As well, in 1977, she received the Queen's Silver Jubilee medal for outstanding community service. In 1983 a Baycrest Centre tribute dinner was held in her honour and in 1984, the top floor of the Baycrest Centre was dedicated to her. This was the culmination of a lifetime devoted to social welfare and community service, and it came just a few years before Till's death, on 22 November 1987.
The records were in the possession of Dora Till's granddaughter, Mrs. Sheila Gottlieb, until they were donated to the OJA in 1987.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of records documenting the personal and philanthropic activities of Dora Till, including her ongoing involvement with the Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home, the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Women's Auxiliary, the United Jewish Welfare Fund, and to a lesser extent other organizations that she was involved or affiliated with. Till's records of the Mothers' and Babes' Rest Home are some of the few to have survived from this important social service organization.
The organizational records in the fonds include minutes, correspondence, reports, speeches, financial records, newsclippings, pamphlets, brochures, invitations, architectural drawings, and photographs, primarily of the Mothers and Babes Rest Home and the Baycrest Centre. As well, there are two artifacts: a Baycrest Centre pin and a gold shovel from the groundbreaking ceremony. The personal records in the fonds include family photographs and portraits, writings, newsclippings and general correspondence.
The fonds has been arranged into eight series: 1. Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home Association. 2. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Women's Auxiliary. 3. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Heritage Museum Committee. 4. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Furnishings Committee. 5. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care : other committees. 6. United Jewish Welfare Fund. 7. Other organizations. 8. Personal. The records have been described to the file level, while a selection of photographs have been scanned and described at the item level.
Physical description note: includes 197 photographs (54 negatives), 9 architectural drawings, and 2 objects
Till, Dora, 1896-1987
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
For related material on the Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home, please see: Jewish Community Centre of Toronto fonds 61, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies fonds 66, United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds 67, Ida Lewis Siegel fonds 15, and the Rebecca Kamarner family fonds 11.
For related material on the Baycrest Centre Women's Auxiliary, please see: Pat Joy Alpert fonds 77 and fonds 14.
For related material on National Council of Jewish Women please see fonds 38.
This fonds had previously been arranged and described as MG6 H. The current arrangement was implemented by the archivist in 2010 and as a result, several files from the former MG were culled or merged. Therefore, the former MG finding aid is no longer accurate.