Fonds F2493 - Alfred Bader fonds

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Title and statement of responsibility area

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Alfred Bader fonds

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1900-2018 (Creation)
    Bader, Alfred
  • 1900-2019 (Creation)
    Bader, Isabel Louise

Physical description area

Physical description

9.40 m of textual records and other materials

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Alfred Bader was born in Vienna, Austria in 1924. After Kristallnacht he was included in the first Kindertransport from Vienna to Britain in December 1938. In 1940 he was interned in a British detention centre until being transferred to another centre on Quebec's Ile aux Noix later that year; while there he studied for McGill University's matriculation exams, passing them in 1941. After World War II he studied chemistry and engineering at Queen,s University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in 1945. Emigrating to the United States, he pursued graduate studies at Harvard, earning an M.Sc. in organic chemistry in 1948 and then a Ph.D. in 1949. During a sea voyage to Liverpool that year he met Isabel Overton.

After his studies Bader began work as a research chemist with PPG Co. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1950-1954, and then became chief chemist for Aldrich Chemicals Company (1954-55), and subsequently its president (1955–81) and chairman (1981–91). He served as president of Sigma-Aldritch Corporation (1975-80) and its chairman (1980-91), then as chairman emeritus (1991-92). Alfred Bader became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1964. He has received honourary degrees from several universities in the United States, Canada and England. Alfred Bader died on December 23, 2018.

Name of creator

(1 Nov. 1926-28 Aug. 2022)

Biographical history

Isabel Louise (Overton) Bader was born November 1, 1926, in Kirkland Lake, a gold mining town in Northeast Ontario, Canada. In 1949, she met Alfred Bader on a sea voyage to the United Kingdom and developed an immediate bond, but eventually parted ways. For the next 28 years, she pursued a career in teaching, co-founding a drama school, the Thalia School of Elocution and Drama, and became a skilled costume designer. Despite this long separation, the spark between Isabel and Alfred never waned, and remarkably, they eventually managed to reconnect and were finally married in 1982.

Together, Alfred and Isabel Bader became influential philanthropists, particularly supporting the arts and education. They generously contributed to the University of Toronto (U of T) and Queen’s University. Notably, they played a crucial role in the construction of the Isabel Bader Theatre at U of T, along with significant donations to Queen’s. Isabel’s philanthropic vision later shifted towards supporting indigenous and immigrant communities.

Isabel passed away August 28, 2022.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence relating mainly to Alfred Bader's work in chemistry and his life as a gallery owner, art dealer, and art critic; subject files; papers documenting his early life in England, Canada, and the United States; records pertaining to his numerous travels around the world; writings and various publications; drafts and mss. in connection one of his memoirs entitled "Chemistry and Art: More Adventures of a Chemist Collector"; photographs. It also includes his POW shirt from WWII.

Notes area

Physical condition

Good to Excellent

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by A. Bader and I. Bader.


This material came in in multiple accessions from various locations. Much of it had no arrangement scheme to be discerned and therefore each accession was dealt with individually. there is a fair amount of duplication and disbursement of the material in the fonds.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

2236.4 SE
F5 C2
F5 C3

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Open, with the permission of the University Archivist.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright provisions may apply. Please consult with an archivist.

Finding aids

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

See also the Bader family fonds at Victoria University:

See also the Alfred Bader Family Collection at the Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish Studies:

See also the BADER, Alfred = Internment-related documents (P0226) at the Canadian Jewish Archives:

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Location (use this to request the file)

  • Shelf: 2236.4 SE
  • Shelf: 5095.5
  • Shelf: 5169
  • Shelf: 2291.16
  • Shelf: SR1255
  • Shelf: QArt-101
  • Shelf: QArt-79
  • Shelf: 2134.4
  • Shelf: F5 C2
  • Shelf: F5 C3
  • Box: F302 A3