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Jaywalker free magazine of the arts was published monthly in Kingston, Ontario, Canada and is still available online at all times right here! We hope to get some version of it going again. For now, it is an archival site only.


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About Dr. Alfred Bader

Alfred Bader was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. It was here, in the 1930's, that he developed his own version of the ABC's: arts, the Bible and chemistry. A devout Jew and budding collector, his weekend trips to a synagogue in Prague would include a stop at a nearby art vendor. As a boy, he helped salt animal hides to make shoe leather, perhaps his first job as chemist.

Threatened by Hitler's regime, he was among the first children to escape to Britain via the Kindertransport. Finding refuge for only a year in Brighton, he would become wrongfully imprisoned as an "enemy alien" and eventually uprooted yet again to a prisoner-of-war camp in Canada. Despite suffering daily molestations by a prison guard, he continued his studies and even purchased artwork from a fellow inmate.

Released to a family in Montreal 15 months later, Alfred Bader worked towards his further schooling. Rejected for admission at both U of T and McGill because their Jewish quotas were full, he would finally find warm acceptance at Queen's University. Kingston became his new home, and Queen's his Alma Mater. He completed his education at Harvard, earning himself a doctorate in chemistry.

This led to work as a research chemist in the early 1950s, then to his own chemical company a few years later. The Aldrich Chemical  Company  (est. 1955) would grow quickly, propelled by its innovative marketing techniques and pioneering spirit.

His success well underway, he began Alfred Bader Fine Arts in 1962, eventually infusing his art collection into his chemical company's catalogue and its magazine Aldrichimica Acta.

His companies grew over the following decades; his chemical company merging with a biochemical firm to become the world's largest supplier of research chemicals, Sigma-Aldrich. During this time, he would become reunited with lost love Isabel Overton.

A true romantic, he fell in love with Isabel over 30 years before he could hold her hand in marriage. Several years later, he would leave behind his chemical company and travel the world with Isabel, searching for lost artistic treasure.

He is as inveterate a philanthropist as he is a collector, and funds many awards and scholarships worldwide. His long support of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre has played a vital role in the gallery's continued success and growth.

Dr. Alfred Bader's autobiography, "Adventures of a Chemist Collector", ISBN 0-297-83461-4, can be found at the Stauffer Library and the W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library at Queen's; or, at the Calvin Park, Isabel Turner and Central branches of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library.

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