The Sam Cohodas Papers

Collection Number: MSS-18
Volume: 10 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates: 1903-1988
Prepared by Clare Hensley and Marcus C. Robyns


Complete EAD finding aid


Biographical Sketch:

Sam Cohodas was born on September 19, 1895 in Kobylnik, Poland. His father Aaron immigrated to the United Stated and moved to Marinette, Wisconsin. 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 and served in World War I

The family produce business was established by 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. Mr. Cohodas was involved in fruit and vegetable manufactures 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 in banking began 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 where he received an honorary doctorate of Agricultural in recognition for 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), and the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

Scope and Content 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 primarily relate to Cohodas’s latter years--in particular, celebrations in Sam’s 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 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 Sam’s life over the years. Events documented include birthday celebrations, banking anniversaries and openings, visits to Israel, his relationship to Northern Michigan University, and Sam’s 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 Sam’s early years in business as a produce manufacturer.

Container List:

Box 1

1. Memorial (Sam Cohodas)--Condolences (4 of 5), 1988

2. Memorial (Sam Cohodas)--Condolences (5 of 5), 1988

3. Memorial (Sam Cohodas)--Contributions to the Sam Cohodas Chair of Banking and Finance at Northern Michigan University--Thank You Letters, 1988

4. Memorial (Sam Cohodas)--Funeral Register, 1988

5. Memorial (Sam Cohodas)--Memorial Collection Dedication Ceremony (at Northern Michigan University), Sept.-Oct. 1989

6. Memorial (Sam Cohodas)--Scrapbook Contents, Apr. 1988

7. Miners' First National Bank (Ishpeming, Michigan)-- Silver Anniversary, 1959

8. Miscellaneous, 1934-1982

9. Miscellaneous News Articles, 1960s; 1973; n.d.

10. National Jewish Hospital and Asthma Center--Fund Raising, 1980

11. Northern Michigan University--Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree, 1962

12. Scottish Rite of Freemasonry--33rd Degree, 1964-1965

13. Scrapbook Contents (1 of 2), 1928; ca. 1940s; 1960s-1980s

14. Scrapbook Contents (2 of 2), 1928; ca. 1940s; 1960s-1980s

15. Scrapbook Contents, ca. 1930s-1985

16. Scrapbook Contents, (1 of 2), 1935; [1960-1971]; 1986-1988

17. Scrapbook Contents, (2 of 2), 1935; [1960-1971]; 1986-1988

18. Scrapbook Contents, 1935; 1957; 1970s-1980s

19. Scrapbook Contents, 1937; ca. 1960; [1968-1975]; 1988-1989

20. Scrapbook Contents, 1940; 1970s

21. Scrapbook Contents, 1960; 1970; 1982-1989

22. Scrapbook Contents (1 of 2), 1959; [1983-1985]; 1986-1987

23. Scrapbook Contents (2 of 2), 1959; [1983-1985]; 1986-1987

Box 2

1. Audio Visual Materials, 1938-1988

2. Awards and Letters, 1958-1988

3. Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 75th--"Mr. Sam" Jubilee, Sept. 1970

4. Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 80th--Cards and Letters, Oct. 1975

5. Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 81st--Cards, 1975

6. Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 83rd--Cards and Letters, 1978

7. Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 90th, Aug.-Oct., 1985

8. Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 90th--Committee Members, 1985

9. Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 90th--Invitation List, 1985

10. (Sam) Cohodas Administration Building Dedication (at Northern Michigan Unviersity), May 22, 1976

11. Cohodas Produce Companys--Packaging Labels, n.d.

12. Cohodas Produce Companies--Twelfth Anniversary/Warehouse and Cold Storage Plant, 1931

13. Colorado Springs/Air Force Academy/NORAD (North American Defense Command) Tour, 1960s ?

14. First National Bank and Trust Company--Centennial Celebration, 1964

15. First National Bank and Trust Company--K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Dec. 1960

16. First National Bank and Trust Company--Marquette, Michigan, 1960

17. Guest Register, Aug. 6, 1977

18. Hebrew University, Jerusalem--Honorary Doctorate Degree, 1983

19. Jerusalem--Miscellaneous, 1971; n.d.

20. Jerusalem Liberation Award, Apr. 6, 1968

21. Jerusalem Liberation Award--Congratulatory Letters, Mar.-May, 1968

22. K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base--410th Munitions Maintenance Squadron Honorary Commander, 1987

23. Memorial (Sam Cohodas)--Condolences (1 of 5), 1988

24. Memorial (Sam Cohodas)--Condolences (2 of 5), 1988

25. Memorial (Sam Cohodas)--Condolences (3 of 5), 1988

Box 3

1. Scrapbook Contents, 1963; 1981-1984

2. Scrapbook Contents, [1970-1983]; 1984-1985

3. Scrapbook Contents, 1982-1983

4. Scrapbook Contents--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 75th--"Mr. Sam" Jubilee (1 of 4), Aug.-Oct. 1970

5. Scrapbook Contents--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 75th--"Mr. Sam" Jubilee (2 of 4), Aug.-Oct. 1970

6. Scrapbook Contents--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 75th--"Mr. Sam" Jubilee (3 of 4), Aug.-Oct. 1970

7. Scrapbook Contents--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 75th--"Mr. Sam" Jubilee (4 of 4), Aug.-Oct. 1970

8. Scrapbook Contents--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 80th,Sept.-Oct. 1975

9. Scrapbook Contents--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 85th, 1980

10. Scrapbook Contents--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 89th, 1984

11. Scrapbook Contents--News Articles and Advertisements, ca. 1958-ca. 1964

12. Scrapbook Contents--Shaare Zedek Hospital (Jerusalem) Dedication, 1980

13. Scrapbook Contents--State of Israel Book of Honor in Tribute to Sam M. Cohodas-for Dedicated Service to Israel--Israel Dinner of State; Sarasota, Florida, Apr. 1968

14. Scrapbook Contents--Testimonial Dinner--"First Citizen of Ishpeming" (1 of 2), Oct. 8, 1960

15. Scrapbook Contents--Testimonial Dinner--"First Citizen of Ishpeming" (2 of 2), Oct. 8, 1960

16. Scrapbook Contents--Testimonial Dinner--"First Citizen of Ishpmening"--Guest Register, Oct. 8, 1960

17. Scrapbook Contents--Tribute Dinner--Honoring Sam M. Cohodas for His Fifty Years in Banking, 1984

18. Speeches and Addresses, 1961; n.d.

Box 4

Access Restrictions

Oversize, flat-storage box containing oversize papers (oversize photographs located in box 9) Oversize blueprints located in Olson Library Map Room--Archives

1. Certificates of Appreciation, Honors, and Awards; "The Cohodas Family Story"; Cohodas Brothers Packaging Labels; Elberta Packing and Cold Storage Company, Elberta, Michigan, 1940 (Separated. See "comment" above.)

Box 5

1. Business--Banking--Buildings, ca. 1930s-1970s

2. Business--Banking/Business Associates, 1929-1970s

3. Business--Banking--Celebrations--Fifty Years in Banking Anniversary, 1984

4. Business--Banking--Celebrations--First National--Centennial, 1964

5. Business--Banking--Celebrations--Miners' First National--25th Anniversary, Jan. 15, 1959

6. Business--Banking--Celebrations--Miners' First National--30th Anniversary, May 23, 1964

7. Business--Banking--Celebrations--Miners' First National--Re-Opening, ca. 1978

8. Business--Banking--Celebrations--Miners' First National--50th Anniversary (and "50 Years in Banking") (1 of 2), 1984

9. Business--Banking--Celebrations--Miners' First National--50th Anniversary (and "50 Years in Banking") (2 of 2), 1984

10. Business--Banking--Celebrations--Miscellaneous, ca. 1950s-1980s

11. Business--Banking--Directors, Officers, and Personnel, 1960s-1970s

12. Business--Banking--Sam at Work, 1975

13. Business--Cohodas Brothers Companies, ca. 1930s-ca. 1950s

14. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Ethel Cohodas, ca. 1980s

15. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 75th (1 of 2), 1970

16. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 75th (2 of 2), 1970

17. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 80th (1 of 3), Sept. 10, 1975

18. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 80th (2 of 3), Sept. 10, 1975

19. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 80th (3 of 3), Sept. 10, 1975

Box 6

Photographs

1. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 81st, Sept. 10, 1976

2. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations-- Sam's 83rd, 1978

3. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 85th, (1 of 2), 1980

4. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 85th, (2 of 2), 1980

5. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 90th, Aug. 24, 1985

6. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Miscellaneous Dinners and Banquets, 1950s-1980s

7. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Miscellaneous Dinners and Banquets (sets), 1950s-1980s

8. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Sam Receiving Awards, 1960s-1980s

9. Celebrations, Banquets, Awards and Honors--Speeches and Addresses, 1960s-1970s

10. Home, Family, Friends--Cohodas Lodge (Michigamme, Michigan) (1 of 2), 1940s-1980s

11. Home, Family, Friends--Cohodas Lodge (Michigamme, Michigan) (2 of 2), 1940s-1980s

12. Home, Family, Friends--Early, 1920s-1950s

13. Home, Family, Friends--Ishpeming, Michigan, ca. 1920s-1940s; 1970s

14. Home, Family, Friends--Miscellaneous, 1960s-1980s

15. Home, Family, Friends--Poodles, 1980s

16. Home, Family, Friends--Sam at Camp Grant, ca. 1918

17. Home, Family, Friends--Sarasota, Florida, 1920s-1980s

18. Home, Family, Friends--Sarasota, Florida--Evelyn Cohodas Birthday Party, Apr. 4, 1970

19. Israel--Israel Bonds--Meetings, Dinners, and Ceremonies, 1970s

20. Israel--Jerusalem--Boys Town, 1981-1982

21. Israel--Jerusalem--Hebrew University--American Friends of, ca. 1970s

22. Israel--Jerusalem--Hebrew University--Honorary Doctorate, June 29, 1983

23. Israel--Jerusalem--Hebrew University--Sam M. Cohodas Center of Agricultural Economics and Management (at the Faculty of Agriculture), 1970s-1980s

Box 7

1. Israel--Jerusalem--Hebrew University--Sam M. Cohodas Chair in Agricultural Economics, Feb. 1, 1974

2. Israel--Jerusalem--Hebrew University--Visit to Faculty of Agriculture, Sept. 10, 1982

3. Israel--Jerusalem--Miscellaneous (1 of 3), 1970s

4. Israel--Jerusalem--Miscellaneous (2 of 3), 1970s

5. Israel--Jerusalem--Miscellaneous (3 of 3), 1970s

6. Israel--Miscellaneous, ca. 1973

7. Miscellaneous, 1940s-1980s

8. Miscellaneous--Evelyn T. Cohodas Memorial Building/Dedication, July 31, 1971

9. Miscellaneous--Photo Album Contents--"S.M.C.", 1950s

10. Miscellaneous--Sam M. Cohodas Memorial Dedication Ceremony, Sept. 15, 1989

11. Miscellaneous--Sam with Military Personnel/K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, 1960s-1980s

12. Miscellaneous--Sam with Politicians, 1960s-1970s

13. Miscellaneous--Travel, Vacations, Outings, 1920s-1950s

14. Northern Michigan University--Honorary Doctorate of Laws, 1964

15. Northern Michigan University--Miscellaneous, 1970s-1980s

16. Northern Michigan University--Sam. M. Cohodas Administrative Center Ground Breaking and Dedication, 1975-1976

17. Northern Michigan University--Sam with NMU Presidents, 1960s-1980s

18. Philanthropy--Cohodas Scholarship, 1970s-1980s

19. Philanthropy--Miscellaneous, 1960s-1970s

20. Philanthropy--Shaare Zedek Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, 1980

21. Portraits--Family Members, ca. 1890s-1984

22. Portraits--Sam M. Cohodas (black & white), ca. 1930s-1980s

23. Portraits--Sam M. Cohodas (color), ca. 1960s-1970s

24. Scrapbook Contents, 1928; ca. 1940s; 1960s-1980s

Box 8

1. Scrapbook Contents, ca. 1930s-1985

2. Scrapbook Contents, 1935; 1957; 1970s-1980s

3. Scrapbook Contents, 1935; [1960-1971]; 1986-1988

4. Scrapbook Contents, 1959; [1983-1985]; 1986-1987

5. Scrapbook Contents, [1970-1983]; 1984-1985

6. Scrapbook Contents--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 75th--"Mr. Sam" Jubilee, Aug.-Oct. 1970

7. Scrapbook Contents--Birthday Celebrations--Sam's 89th,1984

8. Scrapbook Contents--Miscellaneous, 1940s-1970s

9. Scrapbook Contents--"State of Israel Book of Honor in Tribute to Sam. M. Cohodas for Dedicated Service to Israel--Israel Dinner of State; Sarasota, Florida," Apr. 1968

10. Scrapbook Contents--Testimonial Dinner "First Citizen of Ishpeming," Oct. 8, 1960

11. Scrapbook Contents--"Tribute Dinner Honoring Sam M. Cohodas for His Fifty Years of Banking," 1984

Box 9

1. United States Air Force--Thunderbirds, n.d.

2. Sam and Evelyn Cohodas present car to Mr. & Mrs. Sam Frazer (with biography of Frazer), ca. 1955

3. 57th Annual Convention Banquet--International Apple Association--at Hotel Statler, New York City, Aug. 15, 1951

4. 53rd Annual Convention Banquet--International Apple Association, August 11-14, 1947

5. Sam Cohodas (colorized), ca. 1950

6. 410 Bombardment Wing--K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, 1969

7. Bay Cliff Health Camp--Aerial View (4), n.d.

8. Sam M. Cohodas with NMU president John X. Jamrich, ca. 1970s

9. Sam M. Cohodas, ca. early-mid 1940s (5)

10. Sam M. Cohodas with Sam Frazer, ca. late 1940s

11. Group of Men in Park (Sam is 8th from right, front row), ca. late 1940s

12. Unidentified Man, ca. 1900s

13. Sam with Scholarship Recipients, 1984

14. Sam Frazer, July 20, 1950

15. Fred Hilvert, 1940s ?

16. "Mr. Sam" Air Force Bomber--K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, n.d.

Box 10

1. Uncle Sam's 90th Birthday, 1985 (Video--Beta)

2. Uncle Sam, n.d. (Video--Beta)

3. Uncle Sam--Memoriam, n.d. (Video--Beta)

4. Dedication--Cohodas Family Chair in Clinical Microbiology / Barbecue for Stahls and O'Bermans, May 7, 1983 / July, 1983 (Video--Beta)

5. Lake Superior State College Commencement / Sam Cohodas Distinguished Citizen Award, May 1987 (Video--VHS)

6. Dedication "Women in the Cohodas Family"--Chair in Clinical Microbiology and Dinner, May 7, 1983 (video--VHS)

7. Highlights of Sam Cohodas's 90th Birthday, 1985 (video--VHS)

8. Sam Cohodas's Birthday Celebration, Part I, n.d. (video--VHS)

9. Sam Cohodas's Birthday Celebration, Part II, n.d. (video--VHS)

10. Sam Cohodas's 90th Birthday Celebration, Aug. 1985 (video--VHS)

11. Gateway to Health (color), n.d. (film--16mm)

12. Chai Means Life, n.d. (film--16 mm)

13. Boys Town, Jerusalem, 1982 (?) (film--16 mm)

14. no title, n.d. (film--16 mm)

15. Cohodas New Year's Eve Party (metal canister), Dec. 31, 1939 (film--16mm)

16. Apple Keg (small box), n.d. (film--16 mm)

17. Sam M. Cohodas Dinner Program, n.d. (film--16 mm)

18. Evelyn T. Cohodas Memorial Center, n.d. (film--16 mm)

19. "Mr. Sam" Jubilee (1 of 2) (with Sam/s Speech and D.J. Jacobetti, etc.), Sept. 10, 1970 (film--16 mm)

20. "Mr. Sam" Jubilee (2 of 2) (with D. J. Jacobetti and Glenn T. Seaborg, etc.), Sept 10, 1970 (film--16 mm)

21. Rabbi Samuel M. Stahl: An Unusual View of God for 1975, ca. 1975 (film 16 mm)

22. 4th of July / Ski Meet (small metal canister), n.d., (film--8 mm)

23. Hawaii / San Francisco (small metal canister), n.d., (film--8 mm)

24. Florida, 1954: Mr. Werner, Sam, Evelyn, Dawson (small metal canister), 1954, (film--8 mm)

25. Mother and Dad in France (1 of 2), ca. 1938 (film--8mm)

26. Mother and Dad in France (2 of 2), ca. 1938 (film--8mm)

27. no title (small metal canister), n.d. (film--8 mm)

28. no title (small metal canister), n.d. (film--8 mm)

29. no title (small metal canister), n.d. (film--8 mm)

30. no title (small metal canister), n.d. (film--8 mm)

31. no title (small box), n.d. (film--8 mm)

32. no title (small box), n.d. (film--8 mm)

33. Sam Cohodas Testimonial, n.d. (LP records)

34. Miner's First National Bank--40th Anniversary, ca. 1974, (audio cassette)

35. Sam M. Cohodas--Memorial Collection Dedication, Sept. 15, 1989 (audio cassette)

36. Sam M. Cohodas 85th Birthday Dinner (with Lou Chappell of WDMJ) (1 of 2), Sept. 6, 1980

37. Sam Cohodas 85th Birthday Dinner (with Lou Chappell of WDMJ) (2 of 2), Sept. 6, 1980 (audio cassette)

38. Sam Cohodas Funeral (1 of 3), Apr. 5, 1988 (audio cassette)

39. Sam Cohodas Funeral (2 of 3), Apr. 5, 1988 (audio cassette)

40. Sam Cohodas Funeral (3 of 3), Apr. 5, 1988 (audio cassette)

41. Boys Town, Jerusalem, 1980 (audio cassete)