Fonds consists of programs from the David and Rachel Epstein Foundation Scholarships (February 13, 1996, February 16, 1998 and March 7, 2000); Certificates (including the Justice of the Peace, August 1931 and November 1935, and The Board of Trade of the City of Ottawa, March 23, 1933 - see 1-1008-0…
Fonds consists of programs from the David and Rachel Epstein Foundation Scholarships (February 13, 1996, February 16, 1998 and March 7, 2000); Certificates (including the Justice of the Peace, August 1931 and November 1935, and The Board of Trade of the City of Ottawa, March 23, 1933 - see 1-1008-01/02/03); Certificates from the JNF Tree Fund; Miscellaneous business records; A letter from Mayor Charlotte Whitten (November 29, 1954); A condolence book; A Jewish New Years card; Book of Ethics (in Yiddish); Last will and testament; Various newspaper clippings; Folder of textual records of his brother Soloman Epstein (including death certificate (d. 20 September 1953); Passports and application for non-immigrant visa - October 15, 1945; 2000/2001 graduate calendar from Carleton University; A scrapbook with newspaper clippings (1919-1957), 28 B&W photographs, a framed oil painting of David Epstein done in 1935 on masonite by artist Miriam [last name unknown]; A pin.
1919 - 1998
Newspaper clipping entitled Loyal welcome voiced by member Jewish Community, May 16, 1939, was removed from a frame.
David Epstein was born in Keltz, Poland in 1884; one of seven children. He was married at the age of 20 to Rachel with whom he immigrated to Canada for both a better life and as a way to help his family financially.
In Ottawa, David worked as a tailor’s apprentice. He soon opened his own tailor shop where Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier was a regular customer. His business grew and became successful as the Prime Minister encouraged the Privy Counselors to have Mr. Epstein look after their repairs and to order their suits from him.
His success allowed him to invest in Ottawa real estate. He would purchase small houses and sell them at a reasonable profit. Those small profits increased and his many dealings made him an affluent person.
David traveled extensively. By 1931, he had visited every American State, Cuba, and Mexico, and every Canadian Province. He spent winters in Florida each year.
David was elected by the Ottawa City Council as a member of the Court of Revision relating to assessment appeals and was appointed Justice of the Peace for the County of Carleton by the Provincial Government. He was at one point considered for a seat in the Senate of Canada.
David Epstein did not recieve formal schooling which motivated him to ensure that others were provided with the opportunity for continued study. Upon David’s death, on July 16, 1968, his will provided for the establishment of the David and Rachel Epstein Foundation, devoted to the Jewish charitable, religious and educational organizations, and also for Carleton University. The Epstein’s generosity is commemorated by a plaque in the Soloway Jewish Community Centre and by the annual award of the Epstein Scholarships at Carleton University.
1. Biographical information was obtained from a speech given by Hy Maser and from a program for the David and Rachel Epstein Foundation Scholarships.
Jewish Community Council of Ottawa fonds, Standing Committees, David and Rachel Epstein Foundation.