Classification scheme: 

Title: Abram A. Harder fonds

Dates of creation: 1917, 1922, 1937-1966

Physical description: 17 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch: Abram Abram Harder, the son of Abram H. and Anna (Nikkel) Harder was born in 1906 in Pordenau (Molotschna Colony, South Russia), the fourth of eight children. The family immigrated to Canada in 1924, settling first in Arnaud, Manitoba. It was here where Abram married Maria Braun (1910-1937) in 1931.

In 1934, the couple and their two sons moved to a 4-acre farm on John Street near the corner of Maple Grove Road in Beamsville, Ontario. A third son was born soon after the move. Eventually, Abram's parents and many of his siblings moved to the Niagara area. Maria (Braun) Harder died in 1937, and Abram remarried in 1940 to Catherine ("Tina") Fransen (1913-2004). Abram and Catherine had two children.

Over the years, Abram expanded the fruit farm to 15 acres by purchasing 6 acres from Mr. Boese to the west, and in the 1940s, 5 acres from Mr. Juelke to the east bordering Maple Grove Road.  He also served as secretary-treasurer of the Vineland United Mennonite Church. Abram died, following a heart attack, on January 1, 1967.

Custodial history: Donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario by son John A. Harder in 2017, except for file 3 which was received from Marianne Enns in 2022 and file 4 which was received from Marianne Enns in 2023.

Scope and content: The fonds prominently consists of the financial records of Abram's farming operation from 1937-1966. Wages paid for labour, equipment costs, pesticide costs and other expenses are listed along with income from produce. Taken together, the yearly records document the operation of a family-run fruit farm in the Niagara Peninsula during the middle years of the twentieth century.

Note: Archival description created 2017 and updated in 2022 by Laureen Harder-Gissing

See also Abram Harder's obituary in Der Bote (24 Jan 1967, 12)

Abram is a brother to Sarah Harder.

File list:

  1. Notebooks
    1. Autograph book of Abram A. Harder, 1922
    2. Christliches Vergikmeinnicht. Reutlingen: Ensslin & Laiblins Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1917
      A Christian devotional calendar with space to note birthdays, and other family events given to Abram by Maria Braun in 1930.
  2. Farm financial records, 1937-1966
    Note: The large ledger (1941-1945) includes lists of care packages sent to men in military service, conscientious objectors and others during the Second World War, probably by the Vineland United Mennonite Church.
  3. "The dolls and tablecloths that came to Canada from south Russia" by Marianne (Harder) Enns
    Scope and content: A description of items, including a doll owned by Catherine (Fransen) Harder, brought by the Fransen family to Canada. The items were received in a trade for millet in 1921, a time of food scarcity.
  4. Bible memory verse cards collected by Catherine (Fransen) Harder


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

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238