Classification scheme: 

Title: James Reusser fonds

Dates of creation: 1911, 1948-2017

Physical description: 13 cm of textual records, 151 photographs ; col. slides

Biographical sketch: James (Jim) Roger Reusser (1929-2017) was born to Harold and Lorena (Birky) Reusser in Berne, Indiana. His father was a minister of church music, serving at several congregations primarily in central Ohio. Jim graduated from Bluffton College and achieved a Master of Divinity degree from Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He was an active participant in the Mennonite Central Committee Summer Service program, serving at the Mississippi State Hospital in Whitfield (1950), as a leader in the London, Ontario unit (1951) and a leader at the Homewood Sanitarium unit in Guelph, Ontario (1953).

Jim married Helen Snyder in 1953. Helen was an elementary school teacher from Guelph, and later a Christian education consultant with the Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec and a co-pastor with her husband at Mannheim Mennonite Church. The couple had three children. Jim had a career as a pastor at Salem Mennonite Church (Kidron, Ohio), Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church, Manheim Mennonite Church, and Crosshill Mennonite Church. Jim and Helen died in Kitchener just weeks apart in September and November 2017.

Custodial history: Files 11-13 were donated to the Archives at an earlier, unspecified time. Remaining files were donated to the Archives by Mark Reusser in 2015.

Scope and content: The fonds consists primarily of Mennonite and other Christian materials related to peace topics, such as conscientious objection to war, draft resistance, the Cold War, capital punishment, peace theology and peace pedagogy. The Summer Service file contains notes, reports, unit newsletters and information about Jim Reusser's various Summer Service postings. Scope and content of the photographs are described below.

Original archival description created 2021 by Laureen Harder-Gissing

File list:

Series 1: Photographs

Scope and content: This series consists of 151 colour slides taken by James Reusser in the 1960s. The photographs are of family homes and haunts (particularly of James' wife Helen (Snyder) who grew up in the area), other locations related to Mennonite history in Ontario, and photographs of contemporary Ontario Mennonite churches and institutions. Photographs are described in the Mennonite Archival Information Database. The slides are physically located in Hist.Mss.10.42.

Series 2: Textual records

  1. Summer Service, 1950-1953
  2. Conscientious objection and the draft, 1952-1989
  3. Conscientious objection and resistance to the draft (pamphlets), 1948-1979
  4. Nuclear war, civil defense and fallout shelters, 1956-1962
  5. Peace bibliographies, ca. 1957-1968
  6. Capital punishment, 1959-1994
  7. Peace sermons, talks and essays, 1946-2007
  8. Peace pamphlets
  9. Peace clippings and teaching materials
  10. Obituaries for Jim and Helen Reusser, 2017
  11. Inter-Mennonite cooperation, 1965-1972
  12. Establishment of a congregation in Columbiana, Ohio, 1959-1960
  13. Letter from Urias K. (U.K.) Weber to Isadore B. Snyder, 24 Jan 1911
    Scope and content: A letter from Weber to Helen Snyder's grandfather when Weber was in Chicago studing at the Moody Bible Institute


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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