Gerhard Johann Harder (1899-1988)

Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss. 1.213 (s.c.)

Title: Gerhard Johann Harder fonds

Dates of creation: 1969-1982

Scope and content: Correspondence, clippings, biographical sketch

Biographical sketch: Gerhard Johann Harder was born 14 October 1899 in Friedensdorf, Russia. He studied at the Halbstadt Zentralschule and taught briefly. He emigrated to Canada in 1924, settling first in Saskatchewan, then Sedalia, Alberta in 1928. He was ordained for ministry in the local Mennonite congregation by Jacob B. Wiens.

While taking further studies at the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute, he met Maria Peters 12 June 1902-9 June 1990); they were married on 18 November 1933 at the Mennonite Church in Namaka, Alberta. They had two daughters.

That year he became a teacher at the La Glace Bible School operated by the local Mennonite Brethren church. In 1936 he became a pastor in the Regular Baptist church in British Columbia.

Harder received a Th.D. degree from National Bible College (Wichita, KS) in 1942. However his life turn a turn and he became a translator for the Canadian civil service in Ottawa, a position he held for 25 years. He continued service as a supply minister for Baptist churches during those years. They eventually moved to Windsor, Ontario, and later to Leamington, Ontario where he died 17 December 1988.

Custodial history: Donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario by Mary Janzen on 15 March 2007

Scope and content: The collection consists of correspondence (approximately two dozen letters, and copies of several replies by Harder) received from the German novelist, Ernst Behrends, who wrote six historical novels about the Mennonites. The correspondence covers 1969-1982, when Behrends died. Also included are several clippings about Behrends, and a 5-page biographical sketch of Gerhard Harder prepared by his daughter, Mary, in 1988.

Note: Original description created 2007 by Sam Steiner


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