Fonds consists of records of Wolf and Julia Abelson obituaries; Jess Abelson business life, photographs of his sporting life, Duke (Lawrence) Abelson’s early education and World War II career as a flyer with the Royal Canadian Air Force including his Canadian log book, commission, Certificate of Pr…
Fonds consists of records of Wolf and Julia Abelson obituaries; Jess Abelson business life, photographs of his sporting life, Duke (Lawrence) Abelson’s early education and World War II career as a flyer with the Royal Canadian Air Force including his Canadian log book, commission, Certificate of Promotion to rank of Pilot Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force - November, 1941 (see 1-992), correspondence of 160 letters as well as telegrams to his family, 1941-1943; Alan Abelson educational, sporting, and married life; 2002; Brief to the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame for induction of Jess Abelson.
Artifacts include one Boy Scout uniform (worn by Alan Abelson), 2 of Alan Abelson tennis racquets, 1 velvet jacket (worn by Julia Rosenblum on her marriage to Wolf Abelson), 3 infant dresses and 1 bonnet (worn by Jess and Mollie Abelson's children), 1 sweater with an “O” for Ottawa Football Team, Duke Abelson Officer hat; 4 World War II medals; 4 photograph albums and 1 scrapbook.
Later accrual of textiles include 2 baby capes, hand made by Molly Abelson in the 1920's for daughter Sylvia and a pink crochet sweater or coat.
1. Duke Abelson’s commission to Pilot Officer, February 11, 1942 conserved by Kyla Ubink in 2006.
2. Duke Abelson’s officer’s hat dry cleaned and repaired at Brown’s Cleaners, Champagne Street, Ottawa, Fall, 2006 and exhibited in Duke Abelson exhibit, Remembrance Day, 2006.
Wolf Abelson married Julia Rosenblum of Toronto and settled in Ottawa in the early 1900's. Both were born in Lithuania. Prior to settling in Ottawa, Wolf lived in Syracuse, New York, and in Cleveland, Ohio.
Wolf grew up in Neinstadt, a toen near Kovno, Lithuania. According to the Abelson family, Moses Bilsky, the first known Jewish settler in Ottawa, came from the same area in Lituania and encouraged Wolf to also settle in Ottawa.
Wolf established the Rideau House Furnishing Company at 180 Rideau Street. He and wife Julia had seven children; sons Jess, Nathan and Sidney and four daughters, Birdie, Helen, Sarah and Sally. The Abelsons were members of the Adath Jeshurun Congregation and Wolf Abelson served as congregation vice-president during A. J. Freiman’s tenure as president between 1904 to 1930.
Jess Abelson (1892-1975), born in Cleveland, Ohio, was an outstanding sportsman. He played football in 1913 - 1914 for the Ottawa Rough Riders and played basketball with the Y.M.C.A. He was also a member of the 1913 Canadian Champion War Canoe Team. In 1920, he became the first scoutmaster of the 39th Jewish Boy Scout Troop, one of the first Jewish scout troops in Canada.
In 1920 Jess married Mollie Gray from New York. Their children included Sylvia, Lawrence, Stan, Alan (b. August 27, 1928) and Bobby. Jess was a top salesman with the Northern Life Assurance Company and in later years he was active in curling and was the founder of the Tel Aviv Tennis Club.
In 1986, Jess Abelson was the first person inducted into the Ottawa Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. His influence on Ottawa and on the Ottawa Jewish community extended well beyond sports, but as a sports personality he was a paragon of excellence for young Jewish athletes.
All of Jess Abelsons sons excelled in sports. Tragically, Flying Officer Lawrence "Duke" Abelson died in a training flight in England November 15, 1943 while serving in World War II. Duke went overseas in the fall of 1942 and with R.C.A.F. Mosquito Squadron. Alan became a lawyer, and lives and works in Ottawa.
Sylvia Abelson Gellman, Alan Abelson
1. Lawrence's nickname Duke came from living on Marlborough Street, Ottawa
2. Recoreded interview with Alan Abelson located in the Local Social History Project series, Jewish Community Council of Ottawa fonds.
3. Alan Abelson provided the details of Wolf Abelson's heritage in September 2006.
4. Duke Abelson’s war service is recorded in 'Canadian Jews in World War II: Part II: casualities' and in 'There I was ... a collection of reminiscences by members of the Ottawa Jewish Community who served in World War II.'
5. Duke Abelson’s commission to Pilot Officer was exhibited in Duke Abelson exhibit, Remembrance Day, 2006.
6. A note from Shirley Berman is attached to the textile items providing additional information.
Material related to Jess Abelson in Tel Aviv Tennis Club fonds and Samuel Caplan fonds. Jess Abelson article in Ottawa Jewish Bulletin & Review, December 12, 1986.