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Jan.–Apr. 1984 · Vol. 13 No. 1–2 · pp. 91–92 

Historical Endnotes

Ken Reddig


A large collection of books, periodicals and personal papers accumulated by the late Mrs. Selma Redekopp (1887–1975) was recently donated to the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Canada by the Henry W. Redekopp family of Winnipeg. This comprehensive collection of published Mennonite and Evangelical materials dates from the mid 1930’s–1975. Included are many rare books and periodicals which will enhance the collection of the Center in Winnipeg. Besides collecting these items, Mrs. Redekopp also spent much time in writing devotional and prophetic comments based upon her extensive reading. The extent of her writings comprises 30 linear feet of materials. A book on her life, including some of her writings, is presently being researched by Winnipeg writer, Mary Enns.


Plans are already being made for the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches to celebrate its Centennial in 1988. The first congregation was begun by mission efforts of Mennonite Brethren from the United States. While baptisms of new converts began already in 1886 the first congregation was not formed until 1888.

The Centennial observances will be held in conjunction with the annual convention of the Canadian Conference. For 1988 the site will be Winkler, Manitoba since it was near Winkler that the first congregation was formed. A Centennial Committee has already been formed in Winkler and the Historical Committee will assist in the Centennial preparations. Already being planned is a special book containing the biographies and photographs of Mennonite Brethren leadership in Canada.


A new reference guide to Mennonite Groups in Canada entitled, One Quilt, Many Pieces has been published by the Mennonite Publishing Service of Waterloo, Ontario. Written by Margaret Loewen Reimer the guide briefly comments upon the history and unique emphases of the 27 groups included. Also listed are the schools, institutions, publications and statistics of each group. Copies may be ordered from the “Mennonite Reporter,” in Waterloo. {92}


Pioneer Publisher: The Life and Times of John F. Harms, 1855-1945 is the title of a book which offers another informative treatise on the early history of the North American Mennonite Brethren Conference. The manuscript was prepared by Orlando Harms, former Manager of the MB Publishing House and editor of the Christian Leader for many years. It will be published in the near future.

Rev. John F. Harms, for many years one of the most influential men in Hillsboro and in the MB Conference, died at the age of 90 years, January 7, 1945. He was born in Kleefeld, South Russia and emigrated to the United States in 1878 settling in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. In 1879 he was invited by John F. Funk to serve as editor of the Mennonitische Rundschau, then in Elkhart, Indiana. In 1884 he moved to Kansas where he was influenced and joined the MB Church.

In 1884 Harms was appointed the first editor and publisher of the Zionsbote. He held this position for some 20 years. In addition to his journalistic writings he also wrote short stories, essays, poems, tracts and the Geschichte der Mennoniten Bruedergemeinde (1924). He was influential in helping found Tabor College, Herbert Bible School and various mission projects, particularly among the Comanche Indians of Oklahoma and the Doukhobors of North Dakota.

In writing this biography the author states that John F. Harms was a “driving force” in the development of the MB Conference. “His life and personal experience helped define the nature of his time.” This book represents an important contribution to MB Studies.


A four-volume edition of one of Canada’s best-known Mennonite writer’s Arnold Dyck (1889-1970), is being prepared by the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society. Immigrating to Canada in 1923, Dyck became the editor of the Steinbach Post, was founder and editor of Die Mennonitische Warte and established Echo-Verlag which for many years published important historical works on Mennonite Russia. He is best remembered for his hilarious Low German stories of “Koop enn Bua” and for his sensitive Bildungsroman Verloren in der Steppe. The first volume of this edition will be published in mid-1984. Editors of the series include Victor Doerksen, Erica Ens, Elisabeth Peters, George Epp, Harry Loewen and Al Reimer.

Ed. Ken Reddig.

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