Fonds Photograph Collections 590 and 592 - Cornelius Krause fonds

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Cornelius Krause fonds

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Reference code

CA MHCA Photograph Collections 590 and 592

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1922-1923 (Creation)

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Physical description

194 photographs

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Cornelius Krause (1886-1968) was born in Manitoba on the Mennonite east reserve, near present day Steinbach to Johann Krause (1855-1941) and Katharina Kehler (1852-1935). Johann and Katharina came to Canada with their respective families from the Bergthal colony Russia in 1875 in search of religious freedom.

In 1905 Cornelius married Maria Rempel (1884-1939) in the Chortitzer Mennonite Church and together they had four children, three of which survived into adulthood. After WWI the government enacted new legislation which put restrictions on the Mennonite private schools. One of the promises given to the Mennonites prior to their arrival in Manitoba was the freedom to operate their own schools. The church saw the new legislation as limiting the church in educating their children as they saw fit. They believed it was the job of the church and family to educate their children not the state. Delegations of men were sent from various Mennonite churches in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to look for new land and new opportunities where they could maintain their beliefs and way of life. Starting in 1922 Mennonites began to leave Canada for Mexico and in 1926 for Paraguay.

The Chortitzer Mennonite Church decided to move to Paraguay after a delegation visit in 1921 but due to the difficulty of selling their land at satisfactory prices the group which became Menno Colony did not get started on their way to Paraguay until 1926. Some church members preferred to move to Mexico to be closer to relatives from the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church in Mexico. Cornelius Krause and two Old Colony church members, Jacob Froese and P.A. Friesen, took a trip to Mexico in 1923 to check out the possibilities for themselves. Once arriving in Mexico they were taken to various locations showing them the land, infrastructure, and other Mennonite colonists who were prospering in Mexico.

Custodial history

The photographs have remained with the Krause family after his death. In 2003 a grandson Jacob Doerksen allowed the Mennonite Heritage Centre to create negatives of the photos as well as high resolution digital images. All of the large format photos collected from the Mexican land agent were copied and about half of Krause's personal photos. The originals were all returned to the family in 2004.

Scope and content

This collection consists of copies of the photos collected by Cornelius Krause from a Mexican land agent that traveled with Krause and other Mennonite delegates from Manitoba and Saskatchewan who were investigating the possibility of the migration of a group of Mennonites from Canada to Mexico and photos taken by Cornelius Krause himself while investigating Mexico as a possible country to which a group of Manitoba and Saskatchewan Mennonites could move. The photos which Krause took himself show people and places visited on the trip in Mexico (Collection 592). The photos by the land agent (Collection 590) taken before the arrival of the Mennonite delegation and during their visit to Mexico. The photos were taken to encourage the Mennonites to move to Mexico. They show road and railway construction, wide open wild areas, places where there was water, villages, homes, and fields successfully developed by the Old Colony and Sommerfeld Mennonites who had moved to Mexico in 1922.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


There was no apparent arrangement of the materials so they were ordered by the number which appeared on the far right side of the large format photos in Collection 590. Described by Conrad Stoesz November 15, 2004.

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Availability of other formats

negatives and digital (CD ROM)

Restrictions on access

No restrictions to access

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Finding aids

Item level description available

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

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  • English

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