599 photographs : b&w and col. (1 negative) ; 28 x 38 cm or smaller
10 cm of textual records and other material
Scope and Content
Accession consists of 3 albums and loose photos related to Ida Siegel and extended family. Photos depict summer outings, family get togethers, and Ida Siegel's volunteer work. Also included are awards, publications relating to her charitable work, and condolences upon her passing. In addition there is a condolence scrapbook prepared by the Women's Auxiliary of Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. One album is devoted solely to her daughter Sair Lee. Family names in photos include: Koffman, Rittenberg, Lewis, Kaufman, Labovitz, Kossin, Rubin, Curt, Sontag, Slatt (Turofsky), Hersh, Tickten, Jones, and Silver.
Ida Lewis Siegel (1885-1982) was instrumental in the founding and development of several prominent Jewish organizations, such as the Daughters of Zion, Hadassah-Wizo Organization of Canada, the Hebrew Ladies' Maternity Aid Society and the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. She was also particularly active in the educational sector and in campaigning for the rights of female educators. She was internationally known for her devotion to Jewish learning and for her contributions to the development of the Toronto Jewish community.
Ida was born to Samuel Lewis (b. 1859) and Hannah Ruth (Ticktin) Lewis (b. 1864) on 14 February 1885 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was the first child to be born in the United States after her parents immigrated from Lithuania. She had two brothers, Abe Lewis (b. 1880) and Charles S. Lewis (b. 1883). She attended elementary school in Pittsburgh, and in 1894, she and her family moved to Toronto.
On 14 February 1905, Ida married Isidore Hirsch Siegel at the Elm Street Synagogue. Isidore was a travelling peddler, and later, owner of a store in Cochrane, Ontario. Together, they had six children: Rohama Lee (1905-?), Leah Gittel (Labovitz) (1907-2004), David Isar (1909-2004), Sarah (Sontag) (1912-1942), Avrom Fichel (1916-2010), and Rivka Hadassah (Gurau) (1923-2001).
Ida is credited with helping to found a large number of Jewish philanthropic and social organizations including the Daughters of Zion, the first ladies' Zionist society in Canada (1899); the Herzl Girls' Club (1904); Hadassah-Wizo Organization of Canada (1916); the Hebrew Ladies' Sewing Circle, which developed into the Hebrew Ladies' Maternity Aid Society (1907); the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. (1919); the Women’s League of the United Synagogues of America in Toronto (192-); the Goel Tzedec Sunday School (1914); and the Goel Tzedec Sisterhood (192-). She was also named honorary president of the Beth Tzedec Sisterhood in 1953. With the help of her brother Abe, Ida formed the first free Jewish Dispensary in Toronto, located on Elizabeth Street in the Ward, which was the forerunner to the Mount Sinai Hospital.
Ida also helped form a unified fundraising body for the Jewish community known as the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies (1917), which would become the current UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. However, Ida was denied a seat on the executive after campaigning for a female representative.
Always involved in the field of education, Ida was one of the original founders of the Home and School Association in 1919. In 1930, she became the first Jewish woman to be elected to the Toronto Board of Education, a post which she held for six years. She was later named honorary secretary of the Toronto Board of Jewish Education. In 1937, she ran unsuccessfully for alderman in Toronto, but remained politically active with the Association of Women's Electors. She was active in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom from 1915 onward and was an outspoken opponent of both world wars. Throughout her lifetime, Ida held the position of national vice-president of the Zionist Organization of Canada, sat on the executive board of the Canadian Jewish Congress and was a member of the Jewish Historical Society.
Her religious affiliations were with Goel Tzedec, Beth Tzedec, Shaar Shomayim and the Beach Hebrew Institute.