Mennonite
Historical
Society

of Alberta

Archives

  1. Toews, Johann R., fonds, 1984, 1993, 3 cm

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    Accession 2022.012

    Title and Physical Description

    Toews, Johann R., fonds, 1984, 1993, 3 cm

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Johann R. Toews was born at Steinbach on April 1, 1881, the son of Peter Toews and Elizabeth Reimer.  He married his cousin, Anna B. Reimer, daughter of Abraham Reimer and Elizabeth Remple, on 19 November 1905.  They lived, worked and farmed in the Steinbach area of Manitoba and became the parents and grandparents of many children and grandchildren.  Marie, one of Johann and Anna Toews’ daughters, married Bernhard Kroeker.

    Custodial History

    These items were part of a larger collection of various books and publications which staff in the MCC Thrift Store identified as being of possible historical value.  No record of who donated the material to the Thrift Store was provided.

    Scope and Content

    This fonds contains genealogical information gathered at Johann and Anna (Reimer) Toews and Peter B. and Elizabeth D. Kroeker family reunions, an obituary of a member of the Kroeker family, and an autobigraphical manuscript written by a great-grandson as a teenager..

    Finding Aid

    1. Coil bound copy of a manuscript entitled, “The Descendants of Johann R. Toews & Anna B. Reimer,” written in 1993.
    2. Coil bound copy of a manuscript entitled, Peter B. Kroeker Family Directory,” written in 1984, together with a newspaper account ofthe family reunion held on 1 July 1984.
    3. Obituary for John Dueck Kroeker, 1906-1984.
    4. Autobiographical manuscript entitled “The Life and Times of Nathaniel Moll,” written in 1993 when Nathaniel Moll was tghirteen years old. He is the son of David and Marieanne (Kroeker) Moll and a great-grandson of Johann and Anna (Reimer) Toews.  In the manuscript he writes, among other things, about his mixed Mennonite and Jewish heritage
  2. Janzen, Eugene fonds, 10 cm

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    Accession 2022.015

    Janzen, Eugene, fonds, 10 cm.

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Eugene Janzen was born in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, the son of Jacob P. Janzen and Frieda Epp.  His father served as Conscientious Objector in Canadian Alternative Service work camps in 1942.

    Eugene Janzen earned his Doctor of Veternary Medicine degree at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1972.  He served as a Professor of Veterinary Medicine, first at the University of Saskatchewan and then at the University of Calgary.  He has an interest in family history, including his father’s wartime service, and in the family’s genealogy.

    Scope and Content

    This is a somewhat eclectic fonds. It includes a large family Bible, letters written by Eugene’s father when, as a conscientious Objector in 1942, he served in alterantaive service camps in Banff, and some othe family and genealogcal material.

    Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Eugene Janzen in 2022.

    Access/Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Finding Aid

    The fonds consists of the large, very unique, extensively illustrated family Bible of Eugene Janzen’s grandparents, Peter J. Janzen and Maria (Martens) Janzen.  In addition to Martin Luther’s German translation, this large family Bible contains numerous coloured and black and white pictures and illustrations, maps, tabulations, and extensive explanatory and background articles pertaining to biblical times.   Also included  in the Bible are genealogical records of the Peter J. Janzen and Maria (Martens) Janzen family.
    The fonds also includes a booklet and memory stick containing  photocopies and English translations of letters Jacob Peter Janzen (Eugene Janzen’s father) wrote while serving as a Conscientious Objector in alterantive service camps in Banff National Park.  Almost all of these letters were written in the cursive Gothic German script.  Peter Janzen served in several camps in Banff National Park, including the Seebe camp.   The letters were written in 1942.
    Also included in the fonds are 1. a large genealogical chart of Frieda Epp, Eugene Janzen’s mother, 2, a published obituary of Jacob P. Janzen, 3. handwritten short biography of Jacob G. Epp, and 4. s published manuscript entitled “Historical Sketch of our Mennonite People’s Trek from Russia to Canada and early development in the new land” written by Jacob J. Epp.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  3. Heidebrecht, John Abram fonds, 1927-1983, 1 cm

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    Accession 2022.005

    Heidebrecht, John Abram fonds, 1927-1983, 1 cm.

    Administrative/Biographical History

    John Abram Heidebrecht was born 27 July 1891 in Klippenstein, Molotschna settlement, the son of Abram and Katharina (Koehn).  He married Katharina Penner, daughter of David and Wilhelmina (Friesen) Penner in 1914.  They  immigrated to Canada in 1925 and lived in several communities near Tofield before buying land southwest of Tofield in 1939.  They were founding members of the Tofield Mennonite Church where John served as a leader of congregational singing (Vorsaenger).  Katharine was a skilled seamstres.  John Heidebrecht died in Tofield on 24 January 1959,  Katharina died on 1 July 1973.

    Scope and Content

    This is a small, somewhat eclectic, collection of documents which includes some genealogical information, immigration and citizenship papers, a small collection of letters in cursive Gothic German script which the family received from relatives who had remained in the Soviet Union, signed but undated Alberta Citizens’ Registration Covenants which were promoted by the Social Credit government of Alberta, and a Rural Electrification contract.  Also included is a transcribed hymn book in the cursive Gothic script using numbers rather than notes, in four-part harmony.

    Source of Acquistion

    Donated by Darryl Heidebrecht, grandson of John and Katharine (Penner) Heidebrecht.

    Access Restrictions

    None

    Finding Aids

    1. Heidebrecht and Penner families genealogical information.
    2. Heidebrecht family immigration and citizenship papers
    3. Letters received from relatives in the Soviet Union.
    4. Alberta Citizens’ Registration Covenant and Rural Electrification contract.
    5. Hymn book contained transcribe copies of hymns written in the cursive Gothic German script with musical notations using numbers rather than notes.

     

  4. Wichert, Johann, fonds, 1956, 1 cm of textual records

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    Accession 2022.011

    Title and Physical Description

    Wichert, Johann, fonds, 1956, 1 cm of textual records

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Johann J. Wichert, minister and elder, was born 1 October 1897 in Mariawohl, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Russia, the son of Jacob and Maria (Peters) Wichert.  He received his elementary education in Mariawohl, his secondary education in Gnadenfeld, and his teacher training in the University of Kharkov, completing his formal education in 1914.  He taught in Mariawohl (1915-16) and Rudnerweide (1917-22), where he was baptized by Elder David Nickel in 1918.  He married Lydia Koop on 20 August 1944.
    Wichert migrated to Waterloo, Ontario in 1925.  He was ordained as minister on 20 May 1928 and as elder on 3 September 1944.  He served the Vineland United Mennonite Church, Vineland, Ontario, as minister from 1927 and as elder from 1944 to 1966, and remained active as a member of that church until his death on 12 November 1983.  He was an outstanding teacher and a member of numerous conference committees.  Together with Lydia, he also served Mennonite immigrants in Europe in 1947 under the Mennonite Central Committee.

    Scope and Content

    The fonds consists of a revised manuscript containing a series of questions and detailed answers based on the Mennonite catechism used by the Conference of Mennonites in Canada at that time.  Wichert regarded the catechism as a general guide, but added much explanatory and interpretive information.   He compiled the manuscript after years of catachism instruction during the time when he served as elder.  It  documents the thinking, understanding and interpretation of  Mennonite theology at those times, and provides insights into what Mennonite young people, at least those in the Vineland United Mennonite Church and other churches affiliated with the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, were taught.
    Wichert submitted an early version of the maniscript to the Education and Publications board of the conference of Mennonites in Canada in July of 1955.  It was reviewed and parts of it were revised, mainly by adding additional scripture references.  In 1956, in anticipation of possible publication, the revised manuscript was made available for further constructive criticism and corrections.  It was never published, but provides insights into the thinking and teaching of an influential Mennonite leader.

    Source of Aquisition

    Donated by Ted Regehr.

    Access/Restrictions

    None

  5. Glick, Ike and Millie fonds, 1955-2020, 1.3m, 6 cds, 2 cassettes, 1 film strip

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    Title and Physical Description

    Glick, Ike and Millie fonds, 1955-2020, 1.3m, 6 cds, 2 cassettes, 1 film strip

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Ike Glick was born 30 August 1928 at home near Smoketown, Pennsylvania, the son of Daniel and Lillian Glick.  The family’s home church was a Beachy Amish Church near Bird-in-hand, where services were still in German.  Ike attended the local school and the Lancaster Mennonite High School.  Education beyond high school was not valued, even considered dangerous by the leadership, so Ike transferred to a Mennonite congregation when he decided to to to Eastern Mennonite College (Now Eastern Mennonite University) where he earned BA and Th.B degrees.  In 1955, shortly after his marriage to Millie Ager, Ike and Millie came to northern Alberta as Voluntary Service workers.  In Alberta they became members of the Alberta-Saskatchewan Mennonite Church.  Ike subsequently earned MA and Ph. D. degrees at the University of Alberta.  His MA thesis, “An Analysis of “The Human Resources Develoment” in Alberta” focused on a program that became popular in the final years of the Social Credit government in Alberta.  His Ph. D. thesis in Education Psychology examined “Factors of Community Well-Being as identified by Residents of a Resource Town.”

    Millie Glick was born 11 October 1930 at home near Broadway, Virginia, the daughter of John and Anna Alger.  She grew up and became a member of the  Zion Congregation near Broadway, Virginia. attended Eastern Mennonite High School and one year at Eastern Mennonite College.  After coming to northern Alberta with her husband, Ike Glick, as a Voluntary Service worker, she took writing courses at the University of Alberta while a homemaker, and wrote  and published poetry and children’s stories in the United States and Canada.

    Ike and Milie Glick came from the United States to northern Alberta in 1955 as Voluntary Service workers.  They were appointed by the Board of Missions and Charities in Elkhart, Indiana, and worked in partnership with the Alberta-Saskatchewan Mennonite Church, later renamed the Northwest Mennonite Conference.  The objective was to provide teachers in organized school districts which had difficulty finding qualified teachers; develop experimental garden plots to interest local people in producing some of their own food; give instructions in processing food; teach sewing to the girls and women; provide public health nursing services; organize craft and recreational programs; and provide religious instruction through Sunday Schools, Bible studies and religious worship services.

    Custodial History

    The fonds consists of original records of the Voluntary Service program, created and donated to the archives of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta by Ike and Millie Glick.  Ike served as Director of the Voluntary Service program from 1955 to 1965.

    Scope and Content

    The fonds can be divided into three separate parts.

    The first contains the extensive correspondence and reports, mainly between Ray Horst, Director of Voluntary Service of the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities whose office was located in Elkhart, Indiana, and Ike Glick, the senior Voluntary Service worker administrato in northern Alberta,

    The second part of the fonds consists of  correspondence and reports, again mainly between Ray Horst and Ike Glick, but pertaining to specific Voluntary Service units or programs.  The first Voluntary Service Unit in northern Alberta was established at Callling Lake in 1955.  New units were subsequently established in Sandy Lake, Chipewyan Lake, Anzac, Imperial Mills, and Robb/Marboro, all in Alberta.  Some voluntary service workers, mainly tachers and health care workers, continued to work in northern Alberta communities after their terms of service as Voluntary Service workers ended.  There was close collaboration with a local businesman, government, educational and health care officials.  Also included are reports publsihed in newspapers, periodicals and in-house voluntary service publications.

    The third part of the fonds consists of records of Team Products which was  established to market aboriginal and Metis arts, crafts and food products.  Voluntary Service workers encouraged aboriginal arts, crafts and the processing of northern foods, but quickly learned that promotion of the items required development of markets in which these items could be sold.  So, in 1964 Ike established and became program director of Team Products, a non-government, non-church sponsored organization for marketing handicrafts of aboriginals and people of aboriginal ancestry.  Federal and provincial government grants of up to $100,000 over a three year period were obtained.  Team Products established its first retail outlet in Edmonton in 1965 and made contacts with numerous other potential buyers and retailers.  Native artists in the several communities served by Mennonite voluntary service workers were then encouraged to produce high quality Muk Luk boots, moccasins, leather gloves, jackets, minature canoes, snowshoes, carvings and numerous smaller items.  The longer-term objective was to train and then transfer all Team Canada operations to local aboriginal people.
    In addition to aboriginal and Metis arts and crafts, Team Products also marketed processed northern berry products.  Children at the unique Anzac school, and others, were encouraged to pick and prepare jams, jellies and other berry products.   “Meensa,” the Cree word for berries, was the name under which Team Products marketed these berry products.

    The fourth part consists of 1  film strip with commentary, 6 compact discs, 2 cassettes, pertaining mainly to Voluntary Service work and VS reunions.

    Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Ike Glick

    Finding Aid

    Part 1. The fonds can be divided into three separate parts.  The first contains the extensive correspondence and reports, mainly between Ray Horst, Director of Voluntary Service of the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities whose office was located in Elkhart, Indiana, and Ike Glick, the senior Voluntary Service worker administrator in northern Alberta.

    Box 1
    1-1 Letters from Elkhart, 1955-1956
    1-2 Letters to Elkhart, 1955-1956
    1-3 Letters from Elkhart, 1957
    1-4 Letters to Elkhart, 1957.
    1-5 Letters from Elkhart, 1958
    1-6 Letters to Elkhart, 1958.
    1-7 Letters from Elkhart, 1959.
    1-8 Letters to Elkhart, 1959.
    1-9 Letters from Elkhart, 1960.
    1-10 Letters to Elkhart, 1960.
    1-11 Letters from Elkart, 1961
    1-12 Letters to Elkhart, 1961
    1-13 Letters from Elkhart, 1962.
    1-14 Letters to Elkhart, 1962
    1-15 Letters from Elkhart, 1963,
    1-16 Letters to Elkhart, 1963.

    Box 2
    2-17 Letters from Elkhart, 1964.
    2-18 Letters to Elkhart, 1964.
    2-19 Letters from Elkhart, 1965.
    2-20 Letters to Elkart, 1965.
    2-21 Letters to and from Elkhart, 1966-1973.
    2-22 Correspondence, reports re Voluntary Service and Missions programs. 1965-1871.
    2-23 Ike Glick letter re Service and Evangelization, 1966.

    Part 2. The second part of the fonds consists of  correspondence and reports, again mainly between Ray Horst and Ike Glick, but pertaining to specific Voluntary Service units or programs.

    2-24 Calling Lake Monthly Reports, 1955-1958.
    2-25 Calling Lake Annual Reports, 1956-1957.
    2-26 Calling Lake “Beginings,” 1956.
    2-27 Calling Lake Community Meetings,m 1965-1966.
    2-28 Calling Lake, “Evergreen” Yearbook, 1966/67.
    2-29 Calling Lake, Nursing Services 1956-1970.
    2-30 Mobile Medical Unit, 1963-1965.
    2-31 Sandy Lake, 1957-1960.
    2-32 Chipewyan Lake, 1959-1964, 1988.

    Box 3
    3-33 Anzac, 1959-1964.
    3-34 Marlboro, 1960-1965.
    3-35 Imperial Mills, 1963-1964.
    3-36 Alberta Map showing locations of VS units and ex-VS workers.
    3-37 Kindergarten at Calling Lake and Marlboro, 1963-1966.
    3-38 Northern School  Division Correspondence, 1962-1963.
    3-39 Athabaska Chamber of Commers and Kiwanis.
    3-40 Alberta Voluntary Service Newsletters, 1962-1967.
    3-41 Articles/Reports by Ike Glick on “Helping.”
    3-42 Agape, Voluntary Service Newsletters, 1955-1961.
    3-43 Agape, Voluntary Service Newsletters, 1960-1966.
    3-44 Mennonite Periodical and Newspaper reports.
    3-45 Alberta Voluntary Service Workers reunion, 1985.
    3-46 Alberta Voluntary Service Workers reunion, 2006.
    3-47 Alberta Voluntary Service Workers retreat, 2013.

    Part 3.  The third part contains the records of Team Products, established to promote and manage the amrketing of aboriginal and Metis arts and handicrafts and of berry products marketed under the trade name of “Meensa,” the Cree word for berries.  Team Products files dealing with the marketing of northern Alberta aboriginal and Metis arts and handicrafts are arranged alphabetically by correspondent, company or agency.  “Meensa” material is contained in subject files.

    Box 4

    4-48 Pamphlet “Native Handicrafts in Perspective,” by Ike Glick, 1975
    4-49 Team Products, Correspondence and Reports, A-J.
    4-50 Team Products, Correspondence and Reports, K-S (T-Z missing)
    4-51 Meensa -First Year, 1964.
    4-52 Meensa – Small Fruit Survey, Northern Alberta
    4-53 Meensa – Anzac Berry Co-op, 1964-1965,
    4-54 Meensa – Anzac Berry Co-op, 1966-1968.
    4-55 Meensa – Wild fruit, bulletins, correspondence, invoices 1964-1966.
    4-56 Meensa – Berry recipes
    4-57 Meensa – Published information.
    4-58 Meensa – Newspaper clippings.

    Part 4 Placed in Accession 2021.014, Box 4.

    -1 film strip with commentary about Voluntary Service, 2 cassettes on the 1985 reunion of Voluntary Service workers

    -1 CD marked “Glick slides ’50s – 60s”

    -1 CD marked “Suter VS Anzac 1965”

    -2 CDs marked “VS Reunion 2006”

    -1 CD marked “Ray Horst, given by Paul Nafziger”

    -2 cassettes marked “VS Reunion 1985.”

    “Teamed with Purpose” Film strip – a 90 frame color filmstrip in photography with a 16-minute narration written by Millie Glick, and produced by the Mennonite Boardof Missions and Charities, Elkhart, Indiana.

     

  6. Peters, Johann fonds, 1857, 17 pages

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    Peters, Johann fonds, 1857, 17 pagesAccession 2022.007

    Title and Physical Description

    Peters, Johann, fonds, 1857, 17 pages

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Johann Peters was a member of the Chortitza Mennonite Agricultural Association.  His family had migrated from Prussia to Russia in 1806 when Johann Peters was only ten years old.  As an adult he became a prominent and influential community leader.   When the Chairman of the Guardians’ Committee of the Foreign Colonists visited the Chortitza Mennonite settlement, Peters was asked him to write a history of the establishment and subsequent experiences of  the pioneer settlers.  It was to be based on available documents, Peters’ personal knowledge and familarity with many of the original pioneers, and his own experiences and observations.

    Custodial History

    The location of the original version of this report, written by Johann Peters, and the person who prepared this typewritten copy of the report, have not been documented.  This copy of the report, which provides much interesting information about the early history of the Chortitiza settlement, was part of  Walter Quiring’s library which was purchased by Ted Regehr shortly before Walter Quiring moved from Canada to Germany.  It was donated by Ted Regehr to the archives of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta in 2022.

    Scope and Content

    Peters responded to the request of the Chairman of the Guardians’ Committee with a 13 page report to which he attached a copy of the Charter of Privileges (Privilegium) granted to the Mennonites by Tsar Paul I in 1800.  While not one of the original pioneer settlers, Peters knew many of the most prominent members of that generation and was actively involved in the subequent, often very difficult, efforts to establish a prosperious community.  In his report Peters first discusses the circumstances which prompted Tsarina Katharina II to invite foreign settlers to colonize former Turkish territories taken by Russia during the Seven Years’ War.  He describes the work, difficulties and controversies encountered by Mennonite community leaders, many of whom Peters knew personally.  His report focuses more on the economic, and specifically agricultural challenges, rather than on church-related developments.  In addition to economc and environmental problems, the early settles also had to content with hostilities by some of the local people.  Several instances of robberies and hostilities by local inhabitants are documented.
    The report, written in German in 1857, ends on optimistic and patriotic notes.  Peters describs the situation at the time the report was written thus:   “All the dangers, difficulties and obstactles against which our fathers fought are now in the past.  We have gained a love of our new Fatherland and live happilly and satisfied under the mighty protection of our country’s esteemed and beloved father, and under the wise administration of high authorities.  We now enjoy in peace the golden fruits which have been brought forth and  have ripened so gloriously as a result of the sacrifices, suffering and dangers of our elders.  We bless the decision which led them to Russia, and respectfully praise God’s provisions which have made all things so good.”

    Source of Acquisition

    Gift by Ted Regehr.

     

  7. Regehr, Katharina H., fonds,1950-1970, 5 cm.

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    Accession 2021.018

    Physical Description

    Regehr, Katharina H., fonds, 1950-1970, 5 cm

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Katharina Regehr was born in the village of Prangenau, Molotschna colony in 1894.  The family moved to the Terek Mennonite settlement in 1901.  Sharply increased hostility by some of the  local people following the overthrow of the Tsarist government forced the family to leave the Terek in 1918.  Like many others, Katharina endured numerous hardships in the 1930s and during World War II before being evacuated westward by retreating German military forces.   She was able to migrate to Canada in 1948.  She maintained contact with relatives and friends in Russia and in Germany and copied many of the letters she or other friends and relatives received into small notebooks.  Also included in the notebooks were poems, stories, autobiographical notes and smaller bits of other information.   It is a rather eclectic collection documenting conditions in Russia, Germany, and contacts between people there with their relatives and friends in Canada.  Katharina Regehr visited and stayed for a time with her oldest brother, Peter H. Regehr, in Coaldale, Alberta, before retiring in British Columbia where she died in 1982.

    Custodial History

    After, or perhaps already before Katharina’s death in 1982, many of her papers came into the possession of the children of her oldest brother, Peter H. Regehr.  Nephew Jacob Regehr, Peter H. Regehr’s son, translated and privately published Katharina Regehr’s recollections in 1992.  He subsequented donated a copy to the Library of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta.  These notebooks were donated by Marge Friesen, the daughter of Cornelius Regehr, another nephew of Katharina Regehr.

    Scope and Content

    The fonds consists of four booklets or folders of material
    Folder 1-1 Letters written by relatives and friends in Germany, 1950-1959, and copied by Katharina Regehr.
    Folder 1-2 Letters written by relatives and friends in Germany, 1959-1970, and copied by Katharina Regehr
    Folder 1-3  A somewhat eclectic  collectionLetters, notes, stories, copied by Katharina Regehr.
    Folder 1-4 A small, somewhat eclectic collective of original letters and other written material collected by Katharina Regehr.

    Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Marge Friesen, daughter of Katharina Regehr’s nephew, Cornelius Regehr.

    Restrictions

    None

    Notes:

    See also, Jacob M. Regehr,  Recollections from my Life by Katharina H. Regehr, 1894-1982, Self-published, 1992.  A copy is available in the Library of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta.

     

  8. Janzen, Anna, fonds, 1926-1958, 2 cm and one CD

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    Accession 2004.032

    Title and Physical Description:

    Janzen, Anna, fonds, 1926-1958, 2 cm and one CD

    Administrative/Biographical History

    Anna Janzen (nee Anna Barg), the daughter of Isaak Barg and Maria (Dueck) Barg, was born 8 November 1911 in the village of Fuerstenwerder, Saporoschnia settlement.  She migrated from the Soviet Union to Canada in 1926.  There she married Aron Janzen on 11 January 1931.  They lived in Coaldale, Alberta, where Anna Janzen died in 2008.
    Over the years the family received numerous letters from relatives still in the Soviet Union.

    Custodial History

    The letters and some supporting documents were entrusted to Erna Goerzen who photocopied and translated them, and also preserved a copy on a compact disc.  The original copies were returned by Erna Goerzen to Anna Janzen.

    Scope and Content

    The fonds consists of a manuscript entitled “Familien Briefe aus Ruszland, 1926-1958, Sammlung von Anna Janzen, Englishe Verfassung-Uebersetzung, Heinrich u. Erna Goerzen,”  It includes the translated version of letters received by members of the Janzen family from relatives in the Soviet Union, together with an account by Anna’s father-in-law of the family’s journey from the Soviet Union, and some supportive genealogical information.  Also included is a separate folder contianing more extensive genealogical information, and another folder containing photocopies of the letters which are also preserved on a compact disc.

    Source of Acquisition

    Donated to the Mennonite Historical Society of  Alberta by Erna Goerzen.

    Restrictions

    None.

  9. Harder, David, Diaries, 1915-1918, 2 cm

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    Accession 2021.016

    Physical Description

    Harder, David, Diaries, 1915-1918, 2 cm

    Biographical History

    David Harder was born 6 December 1891 in Friedensfeld, Sagradowka, the son of Kornelius and Katharina (Janzen) Harder. When he was five years old the family moved to Suworowka in the Caucusus.  After his marriage to Helena Toews in 1912, members of the extended Harder family, including David and his wife, moved to Siberia.  They first lived in the village of Schoensee in the Slavgorad Mennonite settlement where David bought a farm, but soon turned it over to his younger brother Jacob.  He was more interested in carpentry work.
    In 1914 David was drafted and joined the Forestry Service.  That program had been greatly expanded to include not only work in forestry camps, but also on fire brigades and with the Marine Department, building, repairing and maintaining marine facilities and working on river boats and barges carrying freight and supplies.   David, together with other Mennonites, worked mainly on the Ob and Chylum rivers, or their tributories, in west central Siberia.  From December of 1915 until November of 1918 David kept a diary, written in cursive Gothic German script.  It is contained in three notebooks.
    In 1917, while on leave, David Harder bought a second farm, again together with his younger brother, Jacob.  They did the farm work together, but David also continued work as a carpenter.  He also did maintenance work on a flour mill for Russian owners.
    In 1923, the family sought permission to emigrate to Canada.  After waiting several years they were granted the required visas and left on 28 October 1926.  They travelled from Moscow to Riga, Latvia, in a boxcar with two other families.  In Riga tragedly struck the family.  David had become ill on the journey and, upon arrival in Riga, collapsed while moving baggage.  He was taken to the hospital where he died on 7 December 1926.  His wife and four children were guarantined in Riga until July 1927 because one of the children had trachoma.  Before they left Riga, Helena gave birth to a son, Jacob, on 3 June 1927.  She continued her journey to Canada as a widow with five children.

    Custodial History

    Helena, David Harder’s widow, brought the diaries along to Canada.  After Helena’s death the diaries came into the possession of David’s son, Jacob D. Harder, who, as noted above, had been born in Riga after his father’s death.  Jacob Harder, with the help of other family members and friends, transcribed and translated the diaries.  Rhonda Harder Epp, Jacob D. Harder’s daughter received the diaries after her father’s death.  Rhonda and her sister donated the origianal diaries and the English translation, to the archives of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta in 2021.

    Scope and Content

    The fonds consists of three notebooks in which David Harder wrote about his experiences while serving in the Forestry Service during World War I.  Also included is the English translation by Jacob D. Harder, with assistance from other family members and friends.

    Source of the Acquisition

    Donated by Rhonda Harder Epp and her sister, granddaughters of David Harder and daughters of Jacob D. Harder

    Notes

    See also Accession 2003.022, Jacob D. Harder fonds, which contains additional information about the Harder family.

  10. Coaldale Altenfest. 1930’s-1969, 9 photographs

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    Accession 2017.014

    Coaldale Altenfest, 1930s-1969, 9 photographs.

    Administrative/Biographical History

    It was, for many years, the practice that Mennonite men and women at Coaldale, Alberta, who were over the age of 65 met annually for an Altenfest (Seniors’ Festival).  Members of both the Mennonite Brethren and General Conference Mennonite churches participated.  All, or almost all, had migrated from the Soviet Union to Canada in the 1920s.  There was much visiting, some singing, a devotional, and a light lunch at which the shared Russian Mennonite religious and cultural heritage took precedence over denominational differences.  It was customary to take a group photo at these celebrations.

    Custodial History

    Received from Lynnette Toews Neufeldt as part of a large collection of miscellaneous books, hymnals, photographs and other archival items.

    Scope and Content

    The 9 photographs are approximately 24 cm x 20 cm in size and held in a special photograph album.  The earliest of these photos in marked as being in the 1930’s. followed by one marked 1949, others marked 1949 or 1950, 19501 or 1953, 1953, 1954, next two undated, and 1969.  They are arranged chronologically.

    Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Lynnette Toews Neufeldt.

    Notes

    Filed with other larger photograph albums.