About this collection
The Ratner (formerly Ratowczer) family has been prominent in the Cleveland, Ohio, area since the mid-twentieth century. The family immigrated to the United States in 1920 and settled in Cleveland in 1921. Leonard Ratner began his business career by opening two creameries in the Glenville neighborhood. He then formed the Buckeye Material Company in 1924, later merging it with his brother Charlie's business, Forest City Material Company, in 1929, to form the B & F Building Company, a major builder of prefabricated homes in the east side suburbs. The family consolidated their business interests into Forest City Enterprises, Inc. in 1960. Leonard Ratner married Lillian Bernstein in 1924 and had two children: Ruth Ratner Miller and Albert B. Ratner. Leonard Ratner held many important positions on community boards during his lifetime, including the positions of honorary life trustee at the Jewish Welfare Federation, the Jewish Community Federation, and Mount Sinai Hospital. His children were also heavily involved in philanthropy. The Ratner family was particularly instrumental in establishing the Cleveland Jewish Archives at the Western Reserve Historical Society in 1976. The collection consists of advertisements, annual reports, census reports, certificates, correspondence, reports, lists, newspaper clippings, newsletters, programs, scrapbooks, ship manifests, songs, and speeches.