Accession GA173 - A.R. Kaufman fonds.

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A.R. Kaufman fonds.

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  • Source of title proper: Title from content of the fonds.

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  • 1929-1979 (Creation)
    Kaufman, A. R. (Alvin Ratz)

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Physical description

26 cm of textual records
4 photographs : b&w ; 18 x 13 cm or smaller

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Alvin ("A.R.") Kaufman was born to Jacob Kaufman and Mary Eidt Ratz in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario on February 11, 1885. He was raised alongside his three siblings; Emma Ratz Kaufman, Milton Ratz Kaufman, and Edna Louise Kaufman.

In 1907, Alvin Ratz and his father Jacob Kaufman formed the Kaufman Rubber Company Limited, which continued as the Kaufman Footwear division of William H. Kaufman Incorporated until 2000 when the company declared bankruptcy.

Following the example set by his parents, Jacob and Mary Kaufman, Alvin Ratz supported, both personally and financially, many community organizations in the Kitchener area as well as endeavours to which he was philosophically committed, such as birth control.

He was Chairman of the Kitchener Planning Board for 36 years, served on the Kitchener Parks Board for more than 40 years, was a member of the Kitchener Hospital Board, was president of the YMCA for 13 years, was a member of the founding Board of Governors of the University of Waterloo, and served in various capacities for Zion Church in Kitchener.

Alvin Ratz Kaufman founded the Parents' Information Bureau in 1935 to distribute birth control information. One of the field-workers he hired, Dorothea Palmer, was arrested in 1936 in Ottawa under the obscenity provisions of the Criminal Code. She was acquitted in a landmark verdict that declared her work to be 'for the public good." In 1976, Alvin Ratz was honoured by the Planned Parenthood Federation of Ontario for his work in birth control and family planning.

Alvin Ratz married Jane Helen "Jean" Hutton on August 12, 1911 and together they had three children; Helen Mary Kaufman (b.1915), William Hutton Kaufman (b.1919) and, Edward Kaufman (November 10, 1923).

Alvin Ratz died on February 1, 1979.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of material relating to the personal life and interests of A.R. Kaufman, as well as information about his parents and family, preserved by him. The fonds contains biographical information such as clippings, interviews and awards, scrapbooks maintained by A.R. Kaufman relating to birth control, photographs, and autobiographical accounts by A.R. Kaufman of trips taken to England and France in 1929, around the world in 1958, and to Russia in 1963. It also includes material about Jacob and Mary Kaufman in the form of clippings, biographical accounts written by A.R. Kaufman, correspondence and other material relating to their estates and photographs.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Donated in 2005 by the Kaufman family.


Arranged in six series:

  1. Biographical;
  2. Personal Files;
  3. Photographs;
  4. Scrapbooks: Birth Control;
  5. Trips;
  6. Jacob and Mary Kaufman.

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Description by Jane Britton.

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