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Fonds RC0626 - Israel Moise (Isy) Esses fonds

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Israel Moise (Isy) Esses fonds

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Reference code

RC0626

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Date(s)

  • 1934-1942 (Creation)

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Physical description

12 cm of textual records and realia (fabic samples).

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Name of creator

Esses, Israel Moise (Isy) (1910-1991)

Biographical history

Isy Esses was a member of a Jewish family with business interests in a number of different locations. He was born in Manchester, England on 21 April 1910. Isy was the director of the Unico Trading Company in Kobe, Japan and was located there from 1934 onwards and presumably earlier than that. His brothers, Abraham (Abe/Aby) and Clement, were the directors of M.I. Esses & Sons Ltd. in Dublin, Ireland – although their joint control of this firm did not begin until later into the time period covered by this fonds. For a time Abraham lived in Palestine as did his sister Gladys. The Dublin company was named after their father, Moise Isaac Esses, who had retired. He and his wife lived in West Didsbury, near Manchester. Another sister, Rachel lived with them. The senior Esses died in September 1940 in Dublin where he and his wife had moved upon retirement. Gladys married Leon M. Safdie in 1937 while Abraham got engaged to Edith Stambouli. Isy was made a director of M.I. Esses in 1941. The brothers dealt in a variety of different goods including hairpins, buttons, jewellery, china, cotton and plywood. Unico shipped goods throughout the world – to other places in Asia, Britain, the Middle East, South America, Australia, and the United States. In May 1940 the three brothers were planning to form a new company for sundries only, named Esco Ltd. Business cards were printed. Another company, Messers. Esse & Cie was operative in Aleppo. M.I. Esses & Sons Ltd. and Esco Ltd. are still in operation today.

Running the business in Japan became more difficult as World War II went on and Isy Esses found himself under a terrific strain. It was difficult to find passage out of the Far East. In addition, he had responsibilities to the business which also delayed his departure. He did not leave Japan for good until late summer 1941 getting passage on a ship on 18 August bound for Shanghai. From there he was able to get to Bombay. He then made his way to Cape Town, South Africa, leaving there on 25 October 1941 for New York. During the period from 1934 to 1941 he had left Japan from time to time to visit relatives, including his parents in West Didsbury, and conduct business. The Unico Trading Company was not re-established; instead he started a new company, Esco. He stayed in New York until 1954 when he moved to Toronto. He married Marchelle Shalom in New York on 25 March 1946. Isy Esses died on 17 February 1991 in Toronto.

Custodial history

Scope and content

There have been two accruals. The first accrual consists of three copybooks, 1934-1938, kept by Isy Esses. The copybooks contain carbons of his handwritten letters as well as financial statements and shipment lists. Other documents, such as telegrams, receipts, invoices, and bills of exchange, are either pasted into the books or found loose. There are also incoming and outgoing letters and other documents, 1938-1941, which have been removed from a binder. The second accrual consists of one copybook, 1939-1942, as well as several files of correspondence. Almost all of the fonds is in English, although there are a few documents in Arabic.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The first accrual (64-2008) was acquired on 16 October 2008; the second accrual (11-2010) was received in 2010-2011, both from Morris Norman.

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Further accruals are not expected.

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RC0626

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