Skip to Content

David H. Coplon and Minie G. Coplon Family Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS 223
The first series, “Rosa Coplon Home” is the largest of the collection and contains materials relation to the early years of the home founded in 1910 as a fundraising body and officially opened to residents in 1915. Highlights include photographs of Rosa Coplon (c. 1915) and one of the early sites of the home at 310 North Street (c. 1921). Documentation includes details about name changes of the institution and the issues these invoked, as well as various deeds, constitutions and bylaws relating to the 1920s. There are a significant number of newspaper clippings as well as several historical treatments of institutional development. The series continues through the various additions made to the home and dedication ceremonies on the Symphony Circle site. The move to suburban Getzville in 1994, to become part of the Menorah/Weinberg Campus, and transformation to a special unit within a larger geriatric complex, is also documented with clippings and flyers.

Within the second series we find family materials that heavily touch on the personal life of David Hascal Coplon and include materials relating to Rotary Club, Willowdale Country Club, Masonic and Shriners memberships and others. This series also includes significant family photographs, family records and vital documents.

The third series consists of materials relating to Minnie Greene Coplon, wife of David Coplon and her personal Greene family materials and materials covering a number of her activities within the Jewish and wider community, including memberships of Hadassah and the Order of the Eastern Star. A significant amount of materials relates to her volunteer activity as a braille transcriptionist for Service To the Sightless, an organization within the Sisterhood of Temple Beth Zion. These materials include her braille board and implements and sample braille work completed as part of a requirement by the Library of Congress.

The collection’s fourth series consists of materials relating to Alva Coplon Barozzi, daughter of Minnie G and David H. Coplon focusing on her bat mitzvah, Confirmation, and activities within Temple Beth Zion’s Young People’s Society as well as annotated Bennett High School yearbooks. The last and fifth series is composed of institutional materials, relating to Temple Beth El (1847-2008) and the independent, but related, Temple Beth El Cemetery as it relates to the Coplon family.

Dates

  • 1897-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1920-1970

Creator

Language of Materials

Collection material in English and Hebrew.

Terms of Access

The papers of David H. Coplon and Minnie G. Coplon Family Papers, 1897-2008, are open for research. There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this collection.

Copyright

Copyright of papers in this collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.

Extent

5 Linear Feet (4 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 1 oversize flat box)

Overview

Collection includes minutes, publications, correspondence, artifacts, framed prints, memorabilia and photographs relating to the Coplon family's involvement in the Rosa Coplon (Jewish Old Folks) Home, Temple Beth El and Temple Beth Zion, and the personal records of David Hascal Coplon, Minnie Greene Coplon, Alva Coplon Barozzi, and the extended Coplon and Greene families.

Biographical Note

David Hascal Coplon was born in Shavl, Lithuania on January 18, 1882, and came to the United States in 1890. He attended Public School 31 and Fosdick Masten Park High School (PS 195). He married Sadie Cohen, his first wife, around 1905 and they had four children. She died in 1932. He joined his father’s paint and wallpaper business: S. Coplon & Sons Paper Hangings and Paints, Oils and Glass, in 1912, and at the same time became an active board member of the Daughters of Israel Jewish Old Folks’ Home. Later S. Coplon and Sons became D. H. Coplon Wallpaper and Paint Company. In 1914, David Coplon founded his own company: Walk on Rug Company. By 1916 he had incorporated Walk on Rug Company into Select Furniture Company and continued to operate as Secretary-Treasurer of this company until his retirement in 1952. Active in the development and expansion of the original Daughters of Israel Jewish Old Folks Home, in 1923, David Coplon and his brothers, Joseph and Philip contributed property of the George Walbridge Miller residence at 310 North Street on the corner of Symphony Circle to enable the Home’s expansion. The Old Folks Home had been a favorite charity of their mother, Rosa Coplon (1855-1920), and after she died, they donated the property on North Street. The Home was subsequently renamed in their mother’s memory: the Rosa Coplon Jewish Old Folks Home (for more about the Rosa Coplon Home see Historical Note below. David Coplon was also a member of Temple Beth El in Buffalo, NY (62 years) part of the Conservative Jewish stream of Judaism. He held various positions on the Board of Directors as well as the position of lifetime trustee of the Temple. He was one of the founders of the Beth El Cemetery Corporation in 1920. During the movement out of Buffalo and the establishment of the “new” Temple Beth El building on Eggert and Sheridan Road in the suburbs of Tonawanda, David Coplon was also active in the construction of the Religious School. As a result of these efforts and more, the large multipurpose hall at Temple Beth El on Sheridan Drive was named the Coplon Auditorium. Later in life, he also became a member of Temple Beth Zion, part of Reform Judaism.

An original founder of the Montefiore Club (buying the Saturn Club property for the Montefiore), he was also a charter member of the Willowdale Country Club. An active fundraiser for B’nai B’rith and a State of Israel Bonds, in 1975, he was honored with a David Ben Gurion award for his support of the State of Israel. A charter member of Erie County’s Senior Citizenship Recreation Advisory Committee, David Coplon was made an honorary Life Member of the Committee at the age of 92 on his retirement in 1974. In 1975, “David Coplon Day” in Erie County was proclaimed to recognize his service to Temple Beth El and Israel Bonds, the Rosa Coplon Jewish Home and Infirmary, and the Erie County’s Senior Citizenship Recreation Advisory Committee. David Coplon was also very active outside of Jewish groups and organizations. He was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Buffalo, a member of Perseverance Lodge 948 F&AM for over sixty years and a 63 year member of the Buffalo Consistory and Ismailia Shrine Temple.

David Coplon married Minnie Greene in Buffalo on October 23, 1933. Minnie was born in Buffalo on May 30, 1900 and worked as a medical technologist before her marriage. During her marriage she volunteered extensively at both the Temple Beth El library and Temple Beth Zion, Service to the Sightless, and each temple’s respective Sisterhood. She was also active in a range of other Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. David Coplon died on May 11, 1976. Minnie died at the Rosa Coplon Home on July 12, 1996. They are both interred in the Temple Beth El cemetery in Cheektowaga, New York. Together David and Minnie had two children, only one of whom one survived. Alva Greene Coplon was born in Buffalo on September 6, 1937. She attended Barnard College and received a BA in American Studies from the University of Buffalo in January 1960. Alva married Socrate Jean Barozzi (born November 5, 1893 in Iasi, Romania) on May 9, 1967 in New York. Socrate studied violin in Berlin and the Paris Conservatory in 1910. He was a member of the New York Philharmonic from 1934 to 1959. He died September 10, 1973 of a heart attack. Alva worked as a stockbroker and banker until her retirement.

Historical Note

The Rosa Coplon Jewish Old Folks Home evolved from a small group of Jewish women from the East side of Buffalo who were concerned at the plight of elderly Jewish immigrants. This group included Rosa Coplon among others, who in 1910 formed a group that would created the “Daughters of Israel Jewish Old Folks’ Home,” the earliest forerunner to the current Rosa Coplon Living Center. Before the first premises were occupied, the “Daughters of Israel” group spent five years fundraising in order to buy and renovate a house for occupation. During these early days, the group joined with another group of West side Buffalo Jewish women in 1912, and opened membership to men, in 1914. A location was chosen at 210 Porter Avenue in Buffalo and the first three residents moved into the building in October 1915 when the home was officially dedicated. A small volunteer group of medical professionals (doctors and dentists) aided the Home’s residents, and clothing and food were often donated in the early days of the Home. From the outset the Home was observant and Orthodox in orientation. Kashrut (Jewish dietary law) was observed and a sefer torah (biblical scroll for religious services) was purchased for sole use by the home.

In 1920, Rosa Coplon, one of the original members of the group that enabled the founding of the Home, died in an accident. She was survived by her husband, three sons (David H. Coplon was one of the sons) and a daughter. The Home, both dear to Rosa Coplon and the Coplon children who were also active supporters (Joseph Coplon was elected vice-chairman in 1915) was struggling to meet demand for its services. The Porter Avenue site was too small not just for its current occupants, but also for a growing waiting list. As a memorial to their mother, the three Coplon brothers, David, Joseph and Philip, donated the George Walbridge Miller residence at 310 North Street on the corner of Symphony Circle. After remodeling, it opened in May 1924 with capacity for 32 residents and a new name: The Rosa Coplon Jewish Old Folks Home (RCJOFH): Orthodox Jewish Home for the Aged.

The Rosa Coplon Jewish Old Folks Home (RCJOFH or Rosa Coplon Home) continued to expand over the decades. Increasingly its focus expanded to include the infirm, frail and chronically ill, not just the well aged, so that by the 1950s and successive expansions at its Symphony circle site, the Home took another name to reflect its total role to the community: The Rosa Coplon Jewish Home and Infirmary. By the time the Home celebrated its 50th Anniversary it had expanded to support 139 persons and had a 100 bed infirmary. In 1972, the Home underwent another expansion and determined to stay independent forgoing Federal money in order to retain its Jewish character. With community leaders observing an accelerating aging trend within the Jewish community, and with the site at capacity, Menorah Campus took shape – a campus to provide everything that the older adult would need, located in the suburbs. In 1993 the Rosa Coplon Jewish Home and Infirmary moved to the Menorah Campus site in Getzville in the suburbs of Buffalo. The Campus was renamed the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Campus in December 1994 with the Rosa Coplon Jewish Home and Infirmary dedicated as an independent unit within the facility, now known as the Rosa Coplon Living Center.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in five series as follows:
  1. Rosa Coplon Home
  2. David Hascal Coplon
  3. Minnie Greene Coplon
  4. Alva Coplon Barozzi
  5. Temple Beth El Synagogue, Buffalo, NY

Acquisition Information

Archival materials were donated materials in July 2009 with accruals in 2010 and 2013. The collection was arranged in May 2012 and July 2015. It was deposited at the University Archives, Special Collections by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project in October 2015. The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project was founded in late 2007 under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Buffalo with a seed grant from the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. The Archives Project collects mainly 20th century documentation relating to the diverse histories, religious traditions and cultures of Jewish communities within the Greater Buffalo area of Western New York, encompassing the geographic areas of Erie and Niagara Counties and partners with the University Archives at the University at Buffalo to make these records accessible. The arrangement and description of the David H. Coplon and Minnie G. Coplon Family Papers, 1910-2008 was made possible by funding obtained through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies.

Accruals and Additions

Accruals are not expected to this collection.

Related Resources

Processing Information

Collection was processed by Chana Revell Kotzin in May 2012 and July 2015. Finding aid encoded by Archives staff, February 2016.

Creator

Source

Title
Finding Aid for the David H. Coplon and Minnie G. Coplon Family Papers
Status
completed
Author
Finding aid written and finalized by Chana Revell Kotzin.
Date
May 2012
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
und

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

Contact:
420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-2916
716-645-3714 (Fax)