Title and Description
Susan Roberts fonds. – [1879-2015]. – 2 cm of textual records
Susan Roberts was born in Ukraine, the daughter of a German [Mennonite] family. In her autobiography she does not give the names of her parents or the village in which she was born. Evidence in the booklet described below suggests that her father was Peter Heinrich Harder who lived in the village of Gnadenthal. Her father was a miller, and the family experienced difficult conditions in the years following the Russian Revolution. Susan, together with her parents and three sisters emigrated to Canada in 1923 where she married Robert Rogers. She wrote a short 6 page undated autobiography on the reverse side of a multi-paged letter promoting a program on “Arteries Cleaned Out Naturally.” The German autobiography, handwritten in Latin script, was translated by Marion M. Roberts in 2001.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of a 6-page autobiography focusing mainly on the conditions and tragedies of the time when anarchist criminal bands roamed the Ukrainian countryside during the period of instability following the Russian Revolultion. There is also a typewritten English translation, an undated wedding picture of Susan and Robert Rogers, and a small case-enclosed calendar booklet. This booklet, brought by the family from Russia, is entitled Christliches Vergiszmeinnicht [Christian Forget me not]. On the front page there is the inscription, “This book belongs to Peter Heinrich Harder, Box 415, Coaldale, Alta., followed in a different script by the words: “Given in Loving memory to Mrs Susan Roberts.” The booklet, with pages providing space for handwritten entries also includes a scripture passage for each day of the year, interspersed with artistic drawings and pictures. On available blank spaces for each day various bits of genealogical information are entered. One of these, on an early page states: Unsere Tochter Susana ist den 2 Januar Geboren, 1917 [Our daughter Susana was born 2 January 1917] . The booklet also includes an apparently much older entry in German Gothic script “Den 13 April ist unser Sohn Peter geboren in Gnadenthal 1879 in Ruszland” [The 13th April is our son Peter born in Gnadenthal, 1879 in Russia]. That is confirmed by an entry for the 13 of April stating Ich bin gebornen den 13 April 1879…Peter Harder [I was born 13 April 1879…Peter Harder]. These entries suggest that the booklet was held by family members of several generations.
Source of Aquisition
Gift by Miriam Roberts