Fonds MSS 1 - Abraham A. Friesen fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Abraham A. Friesen fonds

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Dates of creation area


  • 1919-1958 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

4 reels of 16 mm microfilm
1 cm of textual records

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Abraham A. Friesen (1885-1948) was born in Schönau, Molotschana, South Russia. From 1909-1919 he was the instructor of chemistry at the School of Commerce in Halbstadt. In 1920 he visited America with the Studien-Kommission and by 1922 had permanent residence in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. From 1922-1926 he worked with David Toews as the business manager for the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization (CMBoC) which helped bring thousands of Russian Mennonites to Canada from 1923-1964. In 1923 he married Maria Goossen from Russia. After he ended his employment with the CMBoC he became the business manager of the Meilicke Lumber Company in Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan in 1927, which he held until his death.

Custodial history

The material was created by Abraham A. Friesen and donated to Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas in 1949 by his widow. The material was microfilmed in 1999 for the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg by , IKON Office Solutions, Wichita, Kansas. In November 2002 Friesen's son-in-law, John Enns donated 35 photographs which was processed as the Jacob Goossen family fonds. With this material was a business card and the sermon preached at his funeral which is placed in this fonds.

Scope and content

This fonds consists primarily of correspondence, official negotiation, and memoranda of the Study Commission sent to North America by Mennonites in Russia in 1920-1921 to investigate migration to North America. Also included is similar material for the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization. Extensive correspondence between Friesen and David Toews, Benjamin H. Unruh, Benjamin B. Janz, Peter H. Unruh, and other Mennonite leaders are included. Several files deal with the case of "the 62", sixty two young male Mennonite refugees who left Russia for the United States via Constantinopol in the early 1920s. Folder 124 contains a good photo of the group. Some genealogical material for Russian Mennonite emigrants for the 1920s can be found here. The "notebooks" folder includes Friesen's passport and diaries.

Notes area

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Immediate source of acquisition


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Location of originals

Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas

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Finding aids

File list available

Online version of finding aid available at:,%20Abraham%20A.%20fonds.htm

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Language of material note

Some German and some English

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  • English

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physical storage

  • Box: Volume 4870:11
  • Filing cabinet: Microfilm No. 781 to 784