Information for

Laureen Harder-Gissing

Archivist-Librarian; Director, Institute of Anabaptist and Mennonite Studies

Laureen Harder-GissingContact:

(519) 885-0220 ext. 24238
Office:  CGUC 3201


BA (Hons. History), University of Waterloo, 1991
MA (Religion & Culture), Wilfrid Laurier University, 1993
MISt, University of Toronto, 2010


Prior to her arrival at Conrad Grebel in 2009, Laureen worked as a freelance public historian and library manager in Kitchener, Ontario. Her hometown is the farming community of Vineland, Ontario, an area rich in Mennonite history. During her undergraduate years, she lived and studied at Conrad Grebel.

Listen to an interview with Laureen about her work in the Library and Archives.

Primary Activities:

  • Librarian, Milton Good Library
  • Liaison Librarian, Peace and Conflict Studies, Theological Studies and Mennonite Studies
  • Archivist, Mennonite Archives of Ontario
  • Director, Institute of Anabaptist and Mennonite Studies

Research Areas:

Mennonites in Ontario, Mennonites and genealogy, Mennonites and peace history

Classroom Instruction:

Library instruction in:
PACS 101 – Peace is Everyone’s Business
PACS 401 - Senior Honours Seminar
PACS 610 - Contemporary Nonviolent Movements
TS 600 - Thinking Theologically

Archives instruction in:
ARTS 125 - Who are the Mennonites?
HIST 247 - Mennonite History

Selected Publications:

  • "'Hidden in that Little List': Genealogical Pursuits, Outcomes, and Representations in the Lives of Two Mennonite Women." Mennonite Quarterly Review XCII (July 2018): 377-401.
  • “Companions on the ‘Lonely Path’: The Conference of Historic Peace Churches, 1940-1964.” Canadian Quaker History Journal 76 (June 2011): 1-16.
  • We Bear the Loss Together: A History of the Mennonite Aid Union. Kitchener: Pandora Press, 2007.
  •  “One Photograph, Many Stories: A Mennonite Congregation’s Diverse Response to War.” Journal of Mennonite Studies 25 (2007): 137-144.
  • Risk and Endurance: A History of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church. Kitchener: [the Church], 2003.
  • Their Richest Inheritance: A Celebration of The First Mennonite Church, Vineland, Ontario. Vineland: [the Church], 2001.

Selected Features and Interviews:

Selected Community Activities:

  • Site Administrator, Mennonite Archival Image Database
  • President, Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario
  • Mennonite Church Eastern Canada Representative, Mennonite Historical Society of Canada
  • Historian, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada

Selected Presentations:

  • "Sites of Nonresistance: Exhibiting the Experiences of Ontario Mennonites in the First World War," Remembering Muted Voices: Conscience, Dissent, Resistance and Civil Liberties in World War I Through Today, The National World War I Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, KS, October 2017
  • "Representing 'It's Complicated': Family Secrets and Genealogical Pursuits in the Lives of Two Mennonite Women," Crossing the Line: Women of Anabaptist Traditions Encounter Borders and Boundaries, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., June 2017
  • "The Neighbours Who Said 'No': Ontario Mennonite Conscientious Objectors in the Second World War," Waterloo Historical Society, Waterloo, November 2016.
  • “’Where are You in This?’: Ontario Mennonites and the First World War,” Archives of Ontario, Toronto, September 2015.
  • “Preserving the Past for a Living Future: Digitising and Preserving Photographs” (co-presented with Conrad Stoesz), Mennonite World Conference, Harrisburg, Penn., July 2015.
  • “Stories from the ‘Mennonite Box’:  History and Genealogy at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario,” Oxford Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society, Woodstock, September 2014.
  • “Side by side: Ontario Mennonite Stories of the First World War,” Archives Association of Ontario, OUIT, Oshawa, June 2014.

Curated Exhibits at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario Gallery:

  • Sites of Nonresistance: Ontario Mennonites and the First World War, May 2017-May 2019
  • Conchies Speak: Ontario Mennonites in Alternative Service, 1941-1946. January-December, 2016.
  • Taking Community from the Farm to the World: The Photography of David L. Hunsberger. March-December, 2015.
  • We are Named, We Name Ourselves: Russian Mennonite Immigrant and Refugee Records of Statehood and Community, 1924-1962. September 2014-January 2015.

Selected Research Guides:

University of Waterloo

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