Byers, Harry fonds

Byers, Harry .
Harry Byers fonds. - 1917-1957.

54 cm of textual materials. - 271 photographs : b&w ; 21 x 26 cm or smaller.

View full finding aid of Harry Byers fonds (PDF)

Harry Byers was born in Brodhagen, Logan Township on July 31st, 1896 to Andrew Byers and Caroline Graul (who later married Albert Scherbarth). Byers married his wife, Violet Boyers on October 21, 1929 in Burlington, Iowa. Violet was born to John and Sarah (nee Murray) in Missouri in 1908. The two had four children together, before Violet died April 15 1943 possibly due to complications from childbirth. Their children were: Robert John (May 12, 1932), Jean Mildred (October 20, 1933), James Allen (January 20, 1942), and Shirley Marie (April 3, 1943).

After serving in WWI for both Canada and the United States, Harry was honourably discharged for medical reasons in 1919 due to arthritis in his left hip. After the war, Harry was trained by the Kansas Sweeney Tractor Machine Company in the 1920's. He was then employed by the Grain Trust to go to the USSR from 1930-1931 to instruct Russians in the operation of large machinery, as part of the First Russian Five Year Plan. Violet went to Russia with him and the two kept a diary of events of their time in the country. Byers lived and worked in Grozny, Moscow, and Nikolsk (now Ussuriysk) among others. The couple returned to the United States and lived in Iowa until 1938 when they returned to Canada to settle in the Waterloo Region. Harry Byers died July 13, 1957.


This fonds consists of materials created and accumulated by Harry Byers relating to both his personal and professional life. Contains biographical documents, including his passport and WW1 papers, ephemera, clippings and correspondence as well as approximately 270 photographs of Harry Byers and his family. Also included are photographs from Byers' time living in Russia, and a diary recounting the two years he was there.


  • Title from content of the fonds.
  • Extent is measured in linear metres of shelf space as occupied by the fonds.
  • Donated in 1992 by Jean Grenier, daughter of Harry Byers.
  • Arrangement has been kept as originally done in 2004.
  • English and Russian.
  • Related records can be found in the Breithaupt Hewetson Clark collection, concerning Spencer Clark's trip to Russia.
  • View the Harry Byers digital exhibit.

Call number: GA 160