Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss. 1.156

Title: John Braun fonds

Date of creation: 1968-2016; 1968-1973 predominant

Physical description: 6 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch: John Braun grew up in Abbotsford, British Columbia, and attended Simon Fraser University in the late 1960s. He was baptised into the Mennonite Brethren church at age 16 and released from membership in the South Abbotsford MB Church at 21 for denial of Christ's divinity. He was instrumental in the formation of the Radical Mennonite Union in 1968. The group circulated a manifesto in 1969 calling for radical change in society, and the Mennonite church in particular.  The manifesto garnered attention, posititive and negative, in many Mennonite communities in Canada and the United States, and was followed a few months later by "A Radical Confession of Faith." In the summer of 1972, with a grant from the Opportunities for Youth program, Braun and five friends conducted a "Mennonite Dissidence Study." The group traveled the country interviewing a wide range of Mennonites. The project's final report was titled "New Wine for Old Wineskins, or Why Mennonite Young People are Leaving the Church." John Braun graduated from the University of Waterloo with an M.A. and later a Ph.D. in History. Since 1992, he has taught in various colleges in Oregon. 

Custodial history: A few records were donated to the Archives at an unknown time. The bulk of the records were later donated by John Braun and received from Janis Thiessen in 2018.

Scope and content: See file list, below

Note: Audio interviews of John Braun by Janis Thiessen are located in Hist.Mss.9.24/19.
See also: Thiessen, Janis. "John Braun and the Radical Mennonite Union." Journal of Mennonite Studies 37 (2019): 119-132.
Original archival description created by Sam Steiner, and updated in 2019 by Laureen Harder-Gissing.

File list:

  1. John Braun autobiographical notes
  2. Radical Mennonite Union, 1968-1970
  3. Mennonite Dissidence Study, 1970-1973
  4. Academic papers, 1968-1970, 1973-1974, 1977
    Note: Includes papers written by Braun and a response to Braun's M.A. thesis by James M. Stayer.
  5. Personal correspondence, [196?], [197?], 1968-1973, 1976
  6. Newsletters and clippings, [196?], [197?],1968-1971, 1974, 1979, 1985
    Note: The Remnant Newsletter and Anabaptist Stomache newsletter from this file were transferred to the Milton Good Library.
  7. Miscellaneous writings
  8. Leaflets, [196-], 1969
    Note: File contains a card used in a political action at the Hudson's Bay Company in Saskatoon stating "Let's give the Hudson's Bay back to the Indians," and Braun's copy of The Philosophy of Christian Communism by Richard Hildebrandt
  9. "MEI graduating class of 1967: 50th reunion, August 26, 2017"
    Note: Consists of a 60 page document by the Mennonite Educational Institute (Abbotsford, British Columbia) reunion committee containing brief autobiographies of the graduating class of 1967, including John Braun


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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