Sam M. Cohodas papers
Scope and Contents note
This collection contains papers, photographs, and audio visual records of Sam M. Cohodas, documenting his life and accomplishments from World War I when he served in the United States Army until his death at the age of 92. These materials, dating from 1903 to 1988, primarily relate to Cohodas’ latter years--in particular, celebrations in Cohodas' honor as a prominent force in Upper Peninsula banking and philanthropy both locally and internationally.
The bulk of the collection was arranged and collected in scrapbooks, by and for Sam Cohodas. These scrapbooks pertain both to specific and miscellaneous events and consist of greetings and congratulatory cards, letters, and telegrams, photographs relating to the event(s) as well as earlier photographs interspersed to document Cohodas' life over the years. Events documented include birthday celebrations, banking anniversaries and openings, visits to Israel, his relationship to Northern Michigan University, and Cohodas' home and family life in Ishpeming, Michigan; Sarasota, Florida; and at the Cohodas Lodge at Lake Michigamme, Michigan. Also included in the collection are early photographs of the Cohodas family including several which illustrate Cohodas' early years in business as a produce manufacturer.
- 1903 - 1988
- Cohodas, Sam M. (Person)
Conditions Governing Access note
No restrictions. Open for research.
Conditions Governing Use note
Permission to publish material from the Sam M Cohodas papers, MSS-018, must be obtained from the University Archivist. The University Archivist may be reached by phone at 906-227-1225, or e-mail, email@example.com. The University Archivist may also be reached in Room 126 of the Learning Resource Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI.
Sam M. Cohodas was born on September 19, 1895 in Kobylnik, Poland. His father Aaron immigrated to the United States and moved to Marinette, Wisconsin. Aaron's wife Eva and six children followed in 1903 when Sam was 7 years old. Sam quit school in the sixth grade, and by the age of 13 began peddling fruits. He served in the United States Army during World War I.
The family produce business was established by Sam's father Aaron in Houghton, Michigan. The Cohodas Brothers Fruit Company was formed when Sam was nineteen and eventually became the third largest produce company in the United States. Sam Cohodas was involved in fruit and vegetable manufacturing for 60 years and served as president and vice president of Western Fruit Jobbers in 1933-1934, and as director of the International Apple Association.
Cohodas’s second major career began in banking in 1934 when he opened the Miners’ First National Bank of Ishpeming, Michigan. He eventually acquired the First National Bank of Marquette, as well as banks and branches in Escanaba, Hermansville, Iron Mountain, Ironwood, Trenary, and K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, which together formed Michigan Financial Corporation (MFC) of which he remained chairman of the board until age 90.
Cohodas, or “Mr. Sam” as his friends often called him, was also known for his philanthropic and community activities. Locally, he was involved in such organizations as the Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, and the United Way. He was instrumental in establishing Francis A. Bell Memorial Hospital in Ishpeming. In recognition of his work, he was named “First Citizen of Ishpeming” in 1960.
Cohodas was supportive of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel where he received an honorary doctorate of Agricultural Economics in recognition of his support. The University also named the Sam Cohodas Chair in Agricultural Economics at the Faculty of Agriculture in his honor. Cohodas was involved in many charity activities, including Boys Town in Jerusalem and Bell Memorial Hospital in Ishpeming, for which he raised $2 million. He also made contributions and/or helped raise funds for the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota), The Shaare Zedek Jewish Hospital (Detroit, Michigan), and the National Jewish Hospital (Denver, Colorado).
Cohodas died in 1988 at the age of 92.
13 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.
Separated Materials Note
Information on materials separated from the collection can be found in Box 10, folder 1.
- Audiovisual materials. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Banks and banking. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Cohodas, Sam M.
- Correspondence. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Farm produce. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Jewish businesspeople. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Jewish philanthropists. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Photographs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Scrapbooks. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Universitah ha-'Ivrit bi-Yerushalayim
- Upper Peninsula (Mich.). Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Sam M. Cohodas papers
- Finding aid prepared by Clare Hensley and Marcus C. Robyns
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note