The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Sandy Isenberg Collection


Size: 1 linear foot

Provenance: Gift of the Toledo Chapter, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, via Marci Dvorak, executive director.

Access: open

Related Collections: This collection is part of the Regional Disability History Archive Project.

Processing Note:

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

Completed by: Deborah Marinski, September 2003


Biographical Sketch

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Sandy Isenberg was born on October 11, 1939. Her father, Harry Welch, was originally from Russia while her mother, Ann, was from Poland.  Both were young Jewish immigrants who settled in Toledo and opened several men’s clothing stores where Isenberg worked as a teenager selling clothing.
Later, Isenberg’s mother and father became involved in the real estate business. Ms. Isenberg was profoundly influenced by both of her parents. Her father taught her to be compassionate and to care about others while her mother instilled in her the strong belief that she could do anything that she set her mind to do.  Both parents, according to Isenberg, were outstanding role models for her.
Ms. Isenberg attended Glenwood and Old Orchard Elementary Schools and DeVilbiss High School   She was outspoken and talkative as a child which often got her into trouble with her teachers.  After graduating from high school, Isenberg attended the Ohio State University and the University of Toledo.  She later married Marshall Isenberg and together they had two sons, Michael and Dennis.  Isenberg and her husband later divorced.
Isenberg, a Democrat, started her career in public service in 1974 with a series of "firsts."  In 1974, she became the first female ward chairman, in 1980 she became the first female Lucas County Recorder, in 1985 she became the first female Lucas County Commissioner and in 1992 she became the first female president of the Board of Lucas County Commissioners.  Between 1977 and 1979, Isenberg was a member of the Toledo City Council.  She was also known as an
outspoken advocate for women and children and a strong believer in the importance of community service.
Sandy Isenberg was defeated in her bid for re-election to the Lucas County Board of County Commissioners in 2002.  She lost her seat on the board to Maggie Thurber, Toledo Clerk of Courts, in a close race.


Scope and Content Notes

         Series I,  Political Materials, document Sandy Isenberg's activities in political office.  Included are photographs of Isenberg with local, national and international political leaders and celebrities that include Lech Walesa, Pete Rose, Joe Paterno and Robert Taft.  Information is also included on her association with the Jewish community in Northwest Ohio and her 2002 bid for re-election to the Lucas County Board of County Commissioners.  This collection includes numerous cards from supporters following her defeat to Maggie Thurber as well as numerous awards received from various organizations.
         While she was a serious politician, Isenberg also had a humorous side.  She loved jokes and kept copies of jokes that she received from colleagues and friends.

            Series II,  S. Isenberg in the Print Media, contains clippings that document many of her activities in Lucas County and especially how the media reported her political activities.  Apart from two miscellaneous files, the clippings are generally arranged in chronological order.  In addition to The Blade, articles are included from the Toledo Union Journal and newsletters from AFSCME, the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Board and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

Folder List




S1.  Political Materials



S. Isenberg – Farewells, 2002


S. Isenberg - Get Well Cards, 2002


S. Isenberg - Jewry + Tree of Life Award, 1998


S. Isenberg - Joke File


S. Isenberg - Photographs


S. Isenberg - Recognitions/Awards/Appreciations


S. Isenberg - Support after Election Defeat

S2.  Print Media


S. Isenberg in the Print Media (1981)


S. Isenberg in the Print Media (1985)


S. Isenberg in the Print Media (1987/88)


S. Isenberg in the Print Media (1990)


S. Isenberg in the Print Media (Misc I)


S. Isenberg in the Print Media (Misc II)


Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles (1991)


Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles (1992)


Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles (1993)


Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles (1994)



Last Updated: 6/27/22