Classification scheme: 

Title: C. Arnold Snyder fonds

Dates of creation: 1975-2011; 1980-1988 predominant

Physical description: 34 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch: C. Arnold Snyder is the son of Clifford Snyder and Doris Swartzentruber Snyder, Canadian Mennonite missionaries to Latin America. He spent his childhood in Argentina and Puerto Rico and his teen years in the United States. He received an honours BA in Religions Studies from the University of Waterloo, and an MA and PhD from McMaster University. His studies concentrated on church history, particularly the Radical Reformation; his dissertation was on the life and thought of Anabaptist Michael Sattler.

Snyder taught at Bluffton College in Ohio from 1979-1984, after which he and his family moved to Nicaragua to work for Witness for Peace. In 1985, he was appointed chair of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Conrad Grebel College, a post he held until 1987. Snyder's scholarly work has since focused on 16th century Anabaptist history, theology and spirituality. Snyder was named Professor Emeritus of Conrad Grebel University College in 2011.

Custodial history: Donated to the Archives by C. Arnold Snyder in 2011.

Scope and content: Contains records of Snyder's research and other academic activities. The fonds also documents his active interest in conflicts in Central America during the 1980s. Some correspondence from family and friends is also present in the files. More detailed scope and content notes are located in the file list, below. The following records have been withdrawn from the files by the Archives: student records (eg. grade reports) and letters of reference, financial and employment records, Conrad Grebel College records.

Notes: For photographs related to C. Arnold Snyder, search the Mennonite Archival Image Database.
Further materials related to C. Arnold Snyder may be found by searching the Archives. His published materials can be located through the library catalogue.
Original archival description created 2013 by Laureen Harder-Gissing.

File list:

Series 1: General correspondence

1975-1989, 1996, 2011
Scope and content: Contains correspondence, news clippings, notes and reports regarding Snyder's research and academic activities, with a particular focus on Anabaptist history and sources, as well as conflicts in Central America during the 1980s. Some correspondence with family and friends is included. This series contains some correspondence relevant to Series 2 and 3, below.

The files contain only a limited number of Snyder's writings. As a notable exception, the 1986 file includes a paper, "Liberation and the fleshpots of Egypt : towards a pedagogy for the oppressor," given at the First International Conference of Liberation Theology. This paper was published in:  Liberation Theology and Sociopolitical Transformation / by Jorge Garcia-Antezana. - Burnaby, B.C. : Institute for the Humanities, Simon Fraser University, 1992.

Series 2: Christian Peacemaker Teams

Scope and content: Contains correspondence, minutes and reports proposing the formation of an "Anabaptist Peace Guard" which would become Christian Peacemaker Teams. Includes records of discussions among the Conrad Grebel College faculty which resulted in the document entitled "Christian Peacemaker Teams : discussion guide" / Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. - Waterloo, Ont. : [the Institute], 1986. A copy of this guide is also located in the Milton Good Library.
Note: The official repository for Christian Peacemaker Teams is the Mennonite Church USA Archives. The official repository for Christian Peacemaker Teams Canada is the Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Series 3: Witness for Peace

1983, 1985-1988
Administrative history: Witness for Peace began in 1983 as an ecumenical project to express solidarity with Nicaraguans experiencing violence through Contra attacks along the Nicaragua-Honduras border. Rotating teams of Americans would live in local communities and gather information on violent events, particularly if there was direct or indirect evidence of U.S. involvement.

Arnold Snyder was the first coordinator for Witness for Peace in Nicaragua, in 1984. After moving to Waterloo in 1985, he was part of a local coordinating committee which sent a Canadian delegation to Nicaragua comprised mostly of participants from Waterloo Region. Further Canadian delegations followed in 1986, 1987 and 1988.

Scope and content: Correspondence, reports, minutes, notes and news clippings re Witness for Peace, particularly the Canadian delegations. Includes a copy of the following report: Bridging the gap : beyond refugees' material needs, a study of Central American refugees in Kitchener-Waterloo / K-W Council of Churches. - Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.: [the Council], 1988. Also includes a summary of the above report in Spanish.
Note: Some Witness for Peace materials are also found in Series 1: General Correspondence.


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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