File 38 - Kaufman, Jacob : biographical.

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Kaufman, Jacob : biographical.

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Biographical history

Alvin ("A.R.") Kaufman was an industrialist and philanthropist. He 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 four children; Helen Mary Kaufman, William Hutton Kaufman, Edward Kaufman (deceased in infancy) and Sally Jean. Kaufman was remarried in 1972, following Jean's death, to C. Elspath "Beth" Hall, who died shortly after their nuptials. He was married for a third time to Ruth Samson.

Alvin Ratz died on February 1, 1979 and was buried in Woodland Cemetery.

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Includes a biographical piece of unknown authorship and date with title: "A lengthy, more personal biography of Jacob Kaufman, 1847-1920" (7. l. typescript, photocopy)

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