Classification scheme: 
Hist.Mss.1.347 (s.c.)

Title: John Klassen fonds

Dates of creation: 1939-1942

Physical description: 2 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch:  John (Johann) Klassen (1914-1986) was born to Heinrich and Elisabeth (Rempel) Klassen in Ohrloff, Molotschna, South Russia. The family immigrated to Canada in the 1920s; John traveled alone from England separately from his family, arriving in Kitchener in December 1925. The Klassens settled in Reesor, Ontario. John attained a grade two education, then worked as a lumberjack in Reesor. He was a conscientious objector during the Second World War, serving as a farm hand. He was later a carpenter and farmer.

Custodial history: Donated to the Archives in 2021 by Rita Weigel

Scope and content: A handmade, cloth covered choral score containing hectographs of primarily sacred pieces in German assembled between 1939 and 1942 in Reesor, Ontario for the local choir. The pieces are notated in ziffern (cypher) style. Many of the pieces are dated, presumably with the date of performance. The last piece is "Beautiful Dreamer" by Stephen Foster, in English, for a Valentine's Day party, 1942. Fonds also includes a piece of correspondence from Rita Weigel with information about John Klassen's life, and a typescript entitled "Memories by Karl 'Charlie' Klassen, 1919, 2014." The typescript is similar to, but not an exact copy of, the typescript located in the Agatha Schmidt fonds, Hist.Mss.1.318/6.

Notes: Original archival description created 2021 by Laureen Harder-Gissing.
See also John H. Enns. The Story of the Mennonite Settlement of Reesor, Ontario. Reesor, Ont.: John H. Enns, 1973, 46-47 for a description of the Reesor choir.
A scan of the choral score was made by the Archives in 2021. A scan of "Memories" was made by the Archives in 2022.


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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
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