Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss. 1.138

Title: Samuel J. Steiner fonds

Dates of creation: 1964-1975, 1986, 2012

Physical description: 49 cm of textual records

Biographical sketch: Samuel J. Steiner (Sept. 18, 1946-    ) was the youngest child of David C. Steiner and Kathryn M. Smucker. He was born in North Lima, Ohio. He attended Goshen College from 1964-1967. During 1967-1968 he was military draft resistor against the Vietnam War, and immigrated to Canada in late 1968. From 1974-2008 he served first as Archivist, and later Librarian and Archivist, at Conrad Grebel College, Waterloo, Ontario.

On August 2, 1969 he married Susan D. Clemmer, whom he met at Goshen College. She has been a pastor in the Mennonite Church since the late 1980s.

For further information see chapter in The path of most resistance : stories of Mennonite conscientious objectors who did not cooperate with the Vietnam war draft by Melissa Miller and Phil M. Shenk (Kitchener, Ont. : Herald Press, 1982)

Scope and content: The fonds consists of correspondence and legal documents related to Steiner's experience as a draft resister, documents related to an earlier disciplinary incident at Goshen College, and research notes for his book In Search of Promised Lands: A Religious History of Mennonites in Ontario (Kitchener, Ont: Herald Press, 2015)

Custodial history: Donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario by Sam Steiner at various times

Note: Original descripion created by Sam Steiner and updated by Laureen Harder-Gissing

Box 1

  1. Draft resistance letters, newspaper articles, draft forms, 1968
  2. Correspondence, documents re: dismissal of charges by U.S. government, 1975
  3. Correspondence re: draft, 1972-1973
  4. Correspondence re: draft, 1975 (mostly with American Civil Liberties Union)
  5. Documents re: draft, 1964-1967
  6. Correspondence, documents re: draft, 1967-1968
  7. Miscellaneous material re: draft, 1966-1968
  8. Correspondence, articles re: suspension from Goshen College, 1966-1967
  9. "Sam and Sue" a document read at their wedding, Aug., 1969
  10. Miscellaneous documents re: draft, 1967-1974

Box 2

  1. Chicago Area Draft Resisters (CADRE) workbook
  2. Miscellaneous articles re: Vietnam War and military draft
  3. Materials re: the stage play Gadfly: Sam Steiner dodges the draft, 2012
    Note: For the published script, see the Milton Good Library.
  4. Materials re: Menno-Pause
    Note: For copies of Menno-Pause, see the Milton Good Library. File also includes reflections by Steiner on his experiences.
  5. Realia
    Note: Includes peace medallions and buttons
  6. Christmas letters, 2020-2022

Box 3 and 4: Research notes for In Search of Promised Lands

Scope and content: These boxes contain copies of primary and secondary source materials obtained by Steiner during his research on the history of Mennonites in Ontario. The materials are primarily organized by decade. Sources of the materials include newspapers, monographs and fonds of various archives. 

Note: During archival processing, some materials were transferred to other fonds within the archives. The source of the transfer is noted in the receiving fonds.

  1. 1800-2011
  2. Presentations by Sam Steiner
  3. Janet Douglas Hall, 1863-1946
  4. Published articles
  5. Genealogical research


Generally 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday to Friday. An appointment in advance is recommended.


Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24238