Sadie Stren was born on April 19, 1915 in Detroit, Michigan. Her father and mother had come from a small town in Russia. Samuel Goldberg, her father, arrived to stay with family in Brantford, Ontario in 1910 and began working as a peddler. He moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1912 where he worked for the Ford Motor Company and later owned a confectionary store. Emma, Sadie’s mother, came from Russia to reunite with Samuel after he began living in Detroit and the couple married and started a family there.
Sadie grew up in a predominately Jewish neighbourhood in Detroit with her parents and her sister Sarah. She graduated from what is now Wayne State University and worked as a social studies teacher in Detroit for approximately 10 years, until she married at age 31. Sadie first met her husband, Maurice "Maurie" Strenkovsky (1910-1995), while visiting relatives in Brantford. By the time the two had met, Maurie was going by the last name Stren, although it is not certain when he began to do so. He served in the Second World War and corresponded with Sadie during their courtship. The two married in 1947, five years after meeting. The couple initially lived in Detroit, where their son David was born on August 28, 1948, but soon moved to Brantford, where Sadie gave birth to a daughter, Patti, on August 8, 1949. Maurie became a manufacturer of surgical dressing and continued in this profession until his retirement.
When Sadie first moved to Brantford, she joined several Jewish women’s organizations, including Hadassah. She has continued to be actively involved in both Jewish and non-Jewish community organizations since that time. She ran and taught the Beth David Sunday school in Brantford for many years, and in 1976, was honoured for her work as Sunday school supervisor by the Beth David Sisterhood. During her time in Brantford, Sadie served on the board of directors for eight different organizations, and was the president of four. She was a member of the board of directors for the Family Service Bureau and was elected president in 1966. She is also a past president of the University Women’s Club and a former board member of the YM-YWCA. Her husband was quite active in the community as well. Maurie Stren’s commitments included serving as President of B’nai B’rith Brantford from 1965-1966 and as District Governor of the Lions Club from 1963-64, among other things.
Upon moving to Toronto, Sadie became a member of the Baycrest Women’s Auxiliary and volunteered at Mount Sinai Hospital and the Aphasia Institute.
Sadie was an amateur historian who served as the Brantford Jewish community's archivist and historian for a number of years. She had been collecting sources of Brantford Jewish history in her home since at least the 1970s in order to assemble the history of Brantford's community. Sadie was also an author who wrote about the history of the Brantford community, spoke at conferences, and was a contributor to the Canadian Jewish Historical Society Journal in 1981. She passed away on December 9, 2014. She was one hundred.
The records were donated by Sadie Stren in five different transfers from 1976-2006. The first accession was received as a part of the small communities project in 1976 and included only photographs. Subsequent accessions included photographs and textual documents relating to both Sadie’s family and the Brantford community. Sadie is an author and she acquired some of the materials when researching the history of the Brantford community.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of material created and collected by Sadie Stren related to the Brantford Jewish community, as both a member of the community and an author researching its history. Among the records are newspaper and article clippings, correspondence, research notes, records of the Brantford Hebrew Association, miscellaneous printed and published material, Hadassah minutes, records related to Congregation Beth David and its Hebrew school and photographs.
The Brantford Hebrew Association records include 3 ledger books which span the years between 1909 to 1952, legal documents for the Association including the original letters patent incorporating the Brantford Hebrew Association in 1911.
Some of the photographs are modern copies of older photographs.
Some early accessions contained photocopies of orginal documents that were eventually donated in later transfers. These photocopies were culled.
Many photographs were described at the item level at the time they were accessioned, but there are quite a few photographs in the fonds which have not yet been described in detail.
Stren, Sadie, 1915-2014
For additional material related to the Brantford Jewish community see also accession #1978-11-4, accession #2009-2-5, oral history #AC91, and accession #2004-5-71.