Fonds MHC Cassettes No. 2608 to 2650; Volume 5135 - Janis Thiessen fonds

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Janis Thiessen fonds

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  • Sound recording
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CA MHCA MHC Cassettes No. 2608 to 2650; Volume 5135

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  • 1996-2005 (Creation)

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Physical description

43 audio cassettes
3 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Janis Lee Thiessen was born in the late 1960s to Frank Thiessen (1925-2005) and Margaret (Loewen) Thiessen (1933-) of Winnipeg, Manitoba. She completed her B.Sc. in 1992 and her education degree in 1994 and became a teacher at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba where she has taught chemistry, social studies and Mennonite history. She received her M.A. from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba in 1997, during which time she worked on the Metropolis project, Winnipeg's Immigration History Research Group. She took two years leave from Westgate to work on Ph.D. studies at the University of New Brunswick, which she successfully completed with the defense of her thesis entitled "Faith and Factory: Russian Mennonite Workers in Twentieth Century Manitoba" on November 9, 2005.

Her research focused on three factories in Manitoba owned by Mennonites, namely Friesens Corporation of Altona, Loewen Windows of Steinbach, and Palliser Furniture of Winnipeg. Each of these businesses had primarily a Mennonite workforce at their founding and they each became the largest employer in their community.

The interviews and thesis explored themes such as immigration, unions, assimilation, urbanization, class differences, worker – employer relationships and religious values.

Since 1994 some of her research on Canadian Mennonite labour history has been appeared in publications such as Studies in Religion, Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, Mennonite Quarterly Review and Journal of Mennonite Studies. She has also given several presentations on the same topic since 1995.

Custodial history

This material was created by Janis Thiessen and deposited at the archives in 2006.

Scope and content

This fonds contains the information gathered on the subject of labour history in Mennonite family owned businesses in Manitoba. The fonds contains the audio recordings of interviews with owners and employees conducted between 1997 and 2003. The workers were selected from different gender and social classes. The content formed the basis for Thiessen's thesis on labour history of Russian Mennonites.

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Immediate source of acquisition


Described by Conrad Stoesz February 7, 2007.

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

Associated materials

Related material: Janis Thiessen, "Faith and Factory: Russian Mennonite Workers in Twentieth Century Manitoba", Ph.D. dissertation, University of New Brunswick, 2005. (CMU library)

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  • English

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