Mennonite Historical Society of Canada

Classification scheme: 
XV-31

Title: Mennonite Historical Society of Canada fonds

Dates of creation: 1967-2007
Note: Further accruals are expected

Physical description: 70 cm of textual material

Administrative history: The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada (MHSC) was established in 1968 (initially under the name Joint Committee on the History of Mennonites in Canada), convened by the Mennonite Historical Societies of Manitoba and Ontario to sponsor the writing of a history of the Mennonites in Canada.

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada formally organized as a national society in June 1974, when the Saskatchewan-Alberta and British Columbia societies joined Manitoba and Ontario in forming the MHSC. MHSC currently is composed of board members from provincially-based Mennonite historical societies (six in 2008), Mennonite denominations, and Mennonite Central Committee Canada and other institutions such as the Chair of Mennonite Studies, University of Winnipeg.

MHSC published a 3-volume history of Mennonites in Canada authored by Frank H. Epp and Ted D. Regehr, in 1974, 1982 and 1996; began the Canadian Mennonite Encyclopedia On-line in 1996 (later known as Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online), and organized a multi-year project to address gaps in the historical research under "Divergent Voices of Canadian Mennonites starting in 1999. The MHSC website is MHSC website.

Presidents of the MHSC were J. Winfield Fretz of Waterloo, Ontario (1968-June 1975, Ted D. Regehr of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (December 1975-December 1981); Ted E. Friesen of Altona, Manitoba (December 1981-December 1996), Royden Loewen of Steinbach, Manitoba (December 1996-December 2004), Ken Reddig of Winnipeg, Manitoba (December 2004-January 2008) and Sam Steiner of Waterloo, Ontario (January 2008- ). Ted E. Friesen served as Secretary of the organization from 1968 to the beginning of his service as President in 1981; thus he served 28 years as either secretary or president of MHSC.

Custodial History: Donated from the files of Frank H. Epp, J. Winfield Fretz and Sam Steiner

Note: Original description created by Sam Steiner 25 November 2008
For research and production files on the Mennonites in Canada project, see XV-31.2/3, XV-31.4 and Hist.Mss.1.26.2.103-H-MC.

Series 1: Minutes and reports (by year)

1968-1986, 1989-2007, 2018

Note: Beginning in 2003 the board and annual meeting minutes of the Society are available on the MHSC website

Series 2: Correspondence

  1. J. Winfield Fretz correspondence, 1967-1978
  2. Treasurer's correspondence, 1978-1985 (Sam Steiner & Lorna Bergey)
  3. Correspondence re: Mennonites in Canada project 1981-1985 (Lorna Bergey files)

Series 3: Subcommittees

  1. Database Committee, 1988-1996
  2. Canadian Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (CMEO), 1996-2004
  3. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO), 2005
  4. Readers Committee for Mennonites in Canada, Vol. III, 1988, 1990

Series 4: Mennonites in Canada research files

Box 1-28: Vertical files

Scope and content: Consists of files created by Frank H. Epp and his research assistants gathered for the Mennonites in Canada project. The files include news clippings, articles, research papers, and correspondence.

Note: Files are arranged chronologically by decade and topic. A listing is available at the Archives. Some indexes were created for the vertical files, though they are not comprehensive. These are located in the Frank H. Epp fonds, Hist.Mss.1.26.2 Miscellaneous files, 103. Writing.

In 2010, the vertical files were reappraised by the Archives. Duplicate materials, published materials and Mennonite Encyclopedia articles were removed.

Box 29-32: Public Archives of Canada

Scope and content: Consists of photocopies from holdings from the Public Archives of Canada. Only those documents identified as being related specifically to Mennonites were copied. These files were gathered by Frank H. Epp during research for the Mennonites in Canada book project. Additional files, described below as "summaries," consist of notes made by Frank H. Epp or his researchers.

Custodial history: The copies were requisitioned by Frank H. Epp or his research assistants ca. 1968-1981.

Note: Additional Public Archives of Canada records were microfilmed for this project, and are listed in Hist.Mss.11.1.
A finding aid to Mennonite-related files in the Public Archives of Canada, which may include additional files not listed here or in Hist.Mss.11.1, was generated by Frank H. Epp in 1983.

  1. MC-LA-NL&PA - National Library Public Archives correspondence
  2. Summaries of early records relating to exemption from military service, 1792-1819
  3. MC - 1800 Richard Beasley
  4. RG 2 - Privy Council (Orders in Council) excerpts, 1872-1946
  5. RG 2 - Privy Council Office Orders in Council, 1884-1941
  6. RG 5 - Upper Canada Sundries (vols. 71, 72, 74, 97, 143, 173), Letters, petitions, reports, 1766-1840
  7. Summaries of correspondence in RG 6 related to press censorship.
  8. RG 6 A1 vol. 31 #1148, 1261 - Settlement in Manitoba, 1877
  9. RG 6E vol. 505 #269-90 - Press Censor, 1918
    Note: Correspondence re distribution of the resolutions of the general conference of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, including opposition to war, in the German language, 1917.
  10. RG 6E vol. 595 #269-111 - Press Censor, 1919-1920
    Note: Correspondence re the censored periodical "The World Tomorrow."
  11. RG 6E vol. 625 #370-GA-1 - Press Censor, 1919
    Note: Correspondence re Mennonite Brethren publications
  12. RG 6E vol. 635 #371-H2, 371-M1, 371-M2, 371-R3 - Press Censor, 1919
    Note: Correspondence re Hutterite literature, Mennonite Publishing Company, Mennonite Brethren Publishing House, Gusli
  13. RG 7 - Governor General's file #37523
    Note: Dispatches re Mennonite emigration from Russia, 1873-1874; dispatches re Mennonite immigration to Mexico and Paraguay, 1921-1922, 1926.
  14. RG 13 Series 22
    Note: Department of Justice records re a Mennonite man convicted of a breach of Defence of Canada Regulations, 1941-1942. Identifying information was redacted.
  15. RG 14 vol. 214, file 178
    Note: Letters, telegrams and other documents received by the Minister of Immigration or the Minister of Labour dealing with the admission of Mennonites as immigrants to Canada, 1929-1930.
  16. RG 15 - Department of the Interior
    Note: Excerpts by researchers identifying files of interest re Mennonite settlements in the west in RG 15.
  17. RG 15 vol. 233
    Note: Correspondence regarding Mennonite settlement in the Peace River district.
  18. RG 15 vol. 246
    Note: Correspondence regarding the 1874 Mennonite immigration to Manitoba.
  19. RG 15 vol. 652 file 270476 - Hague-Osler reserve
  20. World War II, 1940-1945
    Note: Correspondence and other documents from various files re Mennonite conscientious objection.
  21. RG 17 - Department of Agriculture
    Note: Excerpts by researchers identifying files of interest re the 1874 Mennonite settlement of Manitoba in RG 17.
  22. RG 18 - RCMP records, 1919
    Note: Correspondence re requests for passports for members of a Mennonite delegation to South America to explore emigration.
  23. RG 19 - Department of Finance, 1941-1945
    Note: Correspondence re an alternative to Victory Bonds.
  24. RG 24 - C.I., vol. 115 - Department of National Defense, 1908, 1914-1918, 1929
    Note: Includes correspondence on Mennonites and the Military Service Act and the Klass Peters case.
  25. House of Commons debates (selected), 1918-1919
  26. Robert L. Borden papers, 1167 M.G. 26, H1(c), vol. 214, 1916-1919
    Note: Contains mostly correspondence re Mennonite immigration issues and groups opposing Mennonite military exemption
  27. RG 27 - Department of Labour
    Note: Contains summary of research conducted into the Department of Labour files regarding Mennonites and alternative service during World War II, and the opposition of Mennonites in Manitoba to the Canadian Registration Act of 1918.
  28. Summaries of Canadian National Railways records related to Mennonite immigration aid
  29. RG 30 vol. 5631 - Canadian National Railways records
    1. 5163-1 Mennonite movement to the Peace River country, 1927
    2. 5163-2 List of prospective Mennonite families, not nominated, 1928-1929
    3. 5163-2 List of prospective Mennonite families, not nominated, 1930
    4. 5163-3 Mennonite families steamship commission, 1927-1930
    5. 5163-4 Mennonite settlement at Reesor, Ontario, 1927-1934
    6. 5163-3 Mennonite families, miscellaneous, 1927-1929
  30. RG 30 vol. 5632 - Canadian National Railways records
    1. 5163-5 Reduced fares for movement of Mennonites, 1929
    2. 5163-6 Mennonite immigration aid, 1927 (nos. 1 and 2), 1928
  31. RG 30 vol. 5633 - Canadian National Railways records
    1. 5163-11 Mennonite credit passengers - payments received, 1928-1934
  32. RG 30 vol. 5634 - Canadian National Railways records
    1. 5163-13a Mennonite families - 1930 credit allotment forwardings
    2. 5163-13b Mennonite immigration aid - minutes of Jount Mennonite Committee, 1927-1931
    3. 5163-14 Mennonite immigration aid - periodical reports, 1931-1933
  33. RG 30 vol. 5642 - Canadian National Railways records
    7500-1 Publicity, miscellaneous, 1929, 1930
  34. RG 30 vol. 5746 - Canadian National Railways records 5163-11 Mennonite credit passengers - payments received, 1941
  35. RG 30 vol. 5758  - Canadian National Railways records 5163-11 Mennonite credit passengers - payments received, 1943
  36. RG 30 vol. 5894 - Canadian National Railways records file 19 Report on Mennonite settlement at Reesor, 1928
  37. RG 30 vol. 5746 - Canadian National Railways records file LSN 5163-9 Mennonite movement to B.C., 1941
  38. RG 30 vol. 5904 - Canadian National Railways records file 105 Burns Lake - Mennonite pictures taken, 1940
  39. Summaries of Department of Immigration and Colonization records
  40. RG 76 - 58764 vols. 1-3 - Department of the Interior - Immigration Branch - Central Registry Service, 1916-1919
    Note: Correspondence re Mennonite, Doukhobor, and Hutterites military exemption and immigration
  41. RG 76 - 58764 vols. 1,2,10 - Immigration and Colonization, 1898-1927
    Note: Correspondence re Hutterite military exemption and immigration
  42. RG 76 - 58764 vols. 7-13 - Department of the Interior - Immigration Branch - Central Registry Service, 1921-1928
    Note: Correspondence re Mennonite emigration to South America and immigration to Canada.
  43. RG 76 - 58764 - Immigration and Colonization, 1921-1931
    Note: Correspondence re Mennonite emigration to South America.
  44. RG 76 - 58764 vols. 7-13 - Immigration and Colonization, 1920-1926
    Note: Correspondence, predominantly re Mennonite immigrants from the Soviet Union.
  45. RG 76 - 58764 vol. 10-11 - Immigration and Colonization - Isaac Braun vs. Henry P. Friesen trial, 1926
  46. RG 76 - 58764 vol. 11 - Immigration and Colonization, 1928-1929
    Note: Correspondence re Mennonites returning to Canada from Paraguay.
  47. RG 76 - 58764 vols. 10-11 - Immigration and Colonization, 1928-1929
    Note: Correspondence re Mennonite refugees from Soviet Union and Harbin, China.
  48. RG 76 - 58764 vols. 11-12 - Immigration and Colonization, 1929-1930
    Note: Correspondence re Mennonite refugees from the Soviet Union.
  49. RG 76 - 58764 vols. 11-12 - Immigration and Colonization, 1929
    Note: Correspondence re Mennonite refugees in Harbin, China.
  50. RG 76 - 58764 vols. 12-13 - Immigration and Colonization, 1931-1936
    Note: Correspondence re Mennonites wishing to return from Mexico to Canada.
  51. RG 76 - 58764 vols. 12-13 - Immigration and Colonization, 1931-1932
    Note: Correspondence re Hutterites requesting entry to Canada.
  52. RG 76 - 58764 vol. 12-13 - Immigration and Colonization, 1931-1933
    Note: Correspondence re eligibility of Mennonites to become public charges.
  53. RG 76 - Immigration and Colonization, 1920s
    Note: No file number provided. Subject of file is predominantly the physical and mental health of Mennonite immigrants.
  54. RG 76 - Immigration and Colonization, 1949-1953
    Note: Correspondence re immigration of Mennonite refugees from Europe.
  55. Summaries of Wilfred Laurier correspondence relating to Mennonites
  56. Summaries of Robert Borden correspondence relating to Mennonites
  57. Summaries of W.L. Mackenzie King correspondence relating to Mennonites
  58. MG 26, J, I, vols. 12, 17 - W.L. Mackenzie King Papers
    Note: Predominantly correspondence with David Toews
  59. MG 26 J2, vol. 14 #1-1006 - W.L. Mackenzie King Papers, 1922
    Note: Correspondence re immigration from Russia
  60. MG 26 J4 vol. 170 #F1559 - W.L. Mackenzie King Papers, 1936-1939
    Note: Correspondence re recruitment of German nationals
  61. MG 26 J2 vol. 430 #1-20-17 - W.L. Mackenzie King Papers, 1946 - Mennonite refugees
  62. MG 26 J2 vol. 213 #N-305-J - W. L. Mackenzie King Papers, 1940 - Jewish participation in war
  63. MG 26 J2 vol. 213 #N-305-F, H - W.L. Mackenzie King Papers, 1940-1941 - Enemy aliens, subversion
  64. MG 26 J4 vol. 232 #E2267 - W.L. Mackenzie King Papers, 1943 - Anti-semitism
  65. MG 26 J4 vol. 228 #F2183 - W.L. Mackenzie King Papers, 1939 - Enemy aliens
  66. MG 26 J2 vol. 505 #W-42-4 - W.L. Mackenzie King Papers, 1946 - Jehovah's witnesses and alternative service
  67. MG 26 J2 vol. 506 #W-43-1; W-51 - W.L. Mackenzie King Papers - Jehovah's Witnesses and alternative service; enemy aliens
  68. MG 27 III C19 - Political memoirs of H.W. Winkler
  69. MG 30 D45 vol. 57 - Adam Shortt papers, 1872-1873
    Note: Correspondence re Russian Mennonite immigration to Manitoba.
  70. Summaries of National Parks correspondence relating to Alternative Service.
  71. Summaries of House of Commons debates where Mennonites were discussed, 1917-1959.

Box 32: Other archives

Return to top

Hours

Generally 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday. An appointment in advance is recommended.

Contact

Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238