Working Faith of the Social Reformer, and Other Essays - Bessie Alexandor

Bessie Alexandor


Bessie Morris Alexandor (1880-1930)

Bessie Morris was born in Poland on 20 September 1880 to Moses L. Morris and Annie Bernstein. She had two older sisters, Mary P. and Sarah L. (born in Poland), one brother, Abie (born in New York), and four younger sisters, Dorothy, Evlyn/Elva, Beatrice and Rosalie (born in Quebec).

The 1901 Census indicates, that Moses, Annie, Mary, Sarah, Bessie and Abie emigrated to Canada in 1887; the same year Abie was born in New York. The four youngest daughters were all born in Quebec, where the family settled. Sometime between 1880, when Bessie was born and 1887, the family left Poland and came to North America, first to New York and then to Quebec.

Bessie married Alex Jacob Alexandor on 8 June 1904 in Montreal, under the direction of Rabbi Herman Abramowitz.

The UPEI Provenance book, The Working Faith of the Social Reformer, by Henry Jones, was given to A.J., as a twelfth anniversary present, by his wife Bessie. The inscription, in Bessie's handwriting, reads:

Love from Bessie. June 8th, 1916

Below that, A.J. signs his own name, and location:

A.J. Alexander

The signatures can be proven by their marriage registration, Register of Marriages of the Corporation of English, German and Polish Jews of Montreal, dated 8 June 1904.

Bessie and A.J. had three children: Bernard Morris (May 1906), Huldah Malca (November 1908) and Felix Joshua (September 1909). In 1922, Felix celebrated his Bar-Mitzvah and it was described in the 28 April 1922 edition of The Canadian Jewish Chronicle:

The Bar-Mitzvah of Master Felix Alexandor, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Alexandor, 613 Victoria Avenue, Westmount, took place last Saturday morning at the Shaar Hashomayim Synaguge. The Bar-Mitzvah aquitted himself in a very able manner. A dinner for the immediate family was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. M. L. Morris, grandparents of the boy, following which a reception took place at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alexandor, from 5 o'clock until midnight. The house was beautifully decorated with plants and spring flowers. Mrs. Alexandor, who wore a black satin and lace gown, was assisted in receiving by her sisters, Mrs. Gelber and Mrs. Hermant of Toronto, and Mrs. Glauberson, of Montreal. Refreshments were served in the dining-room at small tables. The ladies in charge were: The Misses Dorothy Leo, Rosalie Morris, Lillian Glauberson, Florence Hecht, Ethel Hecht, Huldah Alexandor and Dora Vineberg. Over five hundred guests called to offer their congratulations.

Bessie was involved in the Council of Jewish Women, in Montreal, and was the treasurer of the Young Women's Hebrew Association (Y.W.H.A.).

According to the wedding announcement of her son, Bernard, in the 6 January 1932 edition of the Ottawa Citizen, his mother is listed as “the late Mrs. Alexandor", so Bessie had passed away sometime before this point. In the 8 February 1930 edition of the Quebec Official Gazette, A.J. and Bessie Alexandor are listed as giving a donation to the Young Women's Hebrew Association of Montreal Ltd. The donation date is listed as 14 January 1930. Also, Mrs. A.J. Alexandor is listed as treasurer of the Y.W.H.A., in the 14 February 1930 edition of the Canadian Jewish Review, so she died sometime after this date.

In the 12 December 1930 edition of the Canadian Jewish Review, there is an article about Mrs. Percy Hermant under the heading “Sketches of Interesting People in the Jewish Community of Toronto". Mrs. Percy Hermant was Bessie's sister, Dorothy. The end of the article reads:

Her [Dorothy's] long experience in communal work and her personal reliability must immediately give strength to any cause. In this she is like her sister, Mrs. A.J. Alexandor, of Montreal, who died this year leaving a feeling of heavy loss in many corners of the community.


1901 Census of Canada. Year: 1901; Census Place: Montréal (City/Cité) Saint-Laurent (Ward/Quartier), Montréal (city/cité), Quebec; Page: 1; Family No: 4

1911 Census of Canada. Year: 1911; Census Place: 48 - Westmount, Hochelaga, Quebec; Page: 5; Family No: 50

“Charming Event Is Wedding of Miss Dorothy Freiman to Mr. Bernard Alexandor", Ottawa Citizen, 6 January 1932. p.19.

“Council of Jewish Women", Canadian Jewish Review, 22 May 1925, p.6.

“The Doings of Society", The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, 28 April 1922, p.8.

Register of Marriages of the Corporation of English, German and Polish Jews of Montreal, dated 8 June 1904. From Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line].

Soltz, Lena. “Sketches of Interesting People in the Jewish Community of Toronto", Canadian Jewish Review, 12 December 1930, p.23.

Subscribe to Bessie Alexandor RSS feed