File 5 - Kaufman, Emma : 1938.

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Kaufman, Emma : 1938.

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  • February 14, 1938 (Authorship)
    Hockin, Margaret L.
  • January 24, 1938-February 12, 1938 (Creation)
    Kaufman, Emma Ratz
  • 1938 (Creation)
    Augustine, Ham, Kaufman family

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Jacob and Mary Kaufman were prominent citizens of Kitchener, Ontario from the late 19th century to WWII. Jacob Kaufman and Mary Ratz married in 1877. Jacob began his career in the lumber industry but switched to rubber, forming the Kaufman Rubber Company in 1908. Jacob and Mary Kaufman were active in civic and community life, supporting causes such as The Children’s Aid Society, the Kitchener-Waterloo Orphanage, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the YMCA, the YWCA and the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital. Together they had four children: Emma Ratz, Alvin Ratz, Milton Ratz, and Edna Louise.

Emma Kaufman dedicated her life to the Young Women’s Christian Association, serving for thirty years in Japan and Canada. The Emperor of Japan presented her with a memorial cup in 1965, the 60th Anniversary of the YWCA in Japan, and in the same year she received an International Cooperation Year medal presented by Cardinal Leger in Montreal.

Alvin (“A.R.”) Kaufman ran the rubber company started by his father and became well known as a local philanthropist, supporting many of the same causes as had his parents. He is primarily remembered for his activities in support of the YMCA, YWCA and of family planning and birth control.

Edna Kaufman married Albert William Augustine (1890-1972) Aug. 22, 1918. They had three children, Albert Jacob (1923-1990), John Ross (1927- ), and Mary Caroline (1931- ).

Mary Caroline Augustine married James Milton Ham (1920-1997), who was President of the University of Toronto from 1978-1983.

Albert Benjamin Augustine, a school teacher from Racine, Wisconsin, marred Caroline Margaret Barbara Breithaupt in Berlin, Ontario on August 3, 1887. Together they lived in Racine and had three children: Albert Augustine, Laurine Catherine and Grace Melvina Louise. Following Albert Benjamin's death in 1909, the family moved to Berlin. Albert became an industrialist, Laurine taught at what would become the Kitchener Vocational Institute and Grace pursued a career in academia after obtaining a PhD at Columbia University.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Emma Ratz Kaufman was born to Jacob Kaufman and Mary Eidt Ratz in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario on August 27, 1881. She was raised alongside her three siblings; Alvin Ratz Kaufman, Milton Ratz Kaufman and, Edna Louise Kaufman. As a child, she attended King Edward Public School and graduated from Berlin High School.

Emma was strongly influenced by her parents and their work with the Zion Evangelical Church. Subsequently, Emma travelled to Japan in 1909 with Reverend J.P. Hauch and his wife who worked as missionaries. Emma spent six months in Japan and then returned to Canada. She then studied at the United Church Training School and then travelled to New York to take the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) training course.

Emma returned to Japan in 1912 and volunteered with the Tokyo YWCA for the next 25 years. Emma's work focused primarily on providing education for women and she developed classes for women in home economics, camping, physical education among other subject areas. In addition, Emma served as the only foreign secretary for the YWCA in Japan from 1916-1923. Emma also trained Japanese leaders for the YMCA and helped arrange for Canadian students to study in Japan.

In 1940, Emma left Japan for a brief vacation but was unable to return to the country due to the Second World War. While in Canada, Emma was concerned with the treatment of Japanese people in Canada during the war. She established a co-operative residence for men in Kitchener, Ontario and helped find young girls work in domestic positions. She also established a scholarship to help send Japanese girls to university and teachers college.

After the war, Emma worked for the national YWCA in Canada and helped purchase a house in Toronto, Ontario for their national headquarters. In 1965, Emma returned to Japan and was honoured by the Emperor of Japan for her services to the country. She received a silver saki bowl with the Imperial Seal of Japan inscribed on it. During the same year, Emma was awarded the International Co-operation Year medal by Cardinal Leger for her work in the development of home economics, higher education for women, camping, recreation for women, and youth leadership. She was also given a lifetime membership in the Adult Education Association.

Emma died on March 1, 1979.

Custodial history

Scope and content

One piece of personal correspondence from Emma Kaufman to her sister Edna. Also includes one report relating to activities of the Tokyo Young Women's Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.) by Emma Kaufman and a report by Margaret Hockin on the ceremonies relating to the 25th anniversary of Emma Kaufman's arrival in Japan. Additionally contains a leaflet memorializing Hedwig Dora Hobrecker, a pamphlet on the Airindan Settlement in Nippori, Arakawa Ku, Tokyo, Japan and an annual report of the Tokyo Y.W.C.A. for 1938.

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Donated by Mary Ham in 2004.


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  • English

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Described in 2005.
Revised by NM in July 2019.

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  • English

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