Fonds CMBS Organizations Papers - Anna Baerg fonds

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Anna Baerg fonds

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CA CMBS CMBS Organizations Papers

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  • 1913-1978 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

24 cm of textual records
25 photographs

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Biographical history

Anna Baerg was born on January 28, 1897, in Bijuk Busow, Crimea, Russia, the oldest child of Gerhard and Anna (Mathies) Baerg. She lived in the Molotschna Mennonite colony in the Ukraine until emigrating to Canada in 1924. During her early life in Russia, she experienced the First World War, the Communist Revolution and the civil war that followed. Anna was prevented from pursuing formal education by both her fragile health and the unsettled political situation, but she recorded her thoughts and experiences in a diary. Because paper was scarce, much of the diary was written on labels from relief foods sent by the Mennonite Central Committee. Upon her arrival in Canada, Anna lived at first with her widowed mother, and then with other relatives in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. As her health permitted, she helped with Sunday School and church women's groups, writing worship material, among other things. She died after a lengthy illness on February 16, 1972, in Clearbrook, British Columbia.

Custodial history

Diary fragments were discovered in the home of Baerg's sister, Cornelia Jantzen of Waldheim Saskatchewan in 1972. They, together with other original papers, were donated to the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies in 1981 by Rev. John Baerg, brother to Anna Baerg. Another small donation came in 2003 via Mrs. B. Klassen who received a letter from Anna Regehr of Clearbrook BC. With this letter were some poetry by Anna Baerg.

Scope and content

The Anna Baerg fonds consists of the original draft copy of her diary created between 1917 and 1924 in Russia during a time period ravaged by anarchy, civil war and political suppression. Because of the scarcity of paper, some of the original diary is written on labels from evaporated milk cans and relief packages. Textual material also consists of Anna Baerg's poetry created between 1913 and 1959. Baerg writes in gothic script in the German language. A typed copy of the diary transliterated by Clara K. Dyck is included. This fonds also contains twenty-five photographs, created from 1925 to 1965. The Anna Baerg fonds is especially valuable because it gives us a rare glimpse into the inner feelings of a Mennonite woman who lived during the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1985 a part of her diary, entitled Diary of Anna Baerg 1916 - 1924, was translated and edited by Gerald Peters and published by CMBC Publications, Winnipeg.

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Much of the original material is in German.

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  • English

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