In 1874, a group of nine hundred Mennonites migrated from Russia to the western plains of Canada and the United States, settling in and around Steinbach, Manitoba, and Jansen, Nebraska. This social hsitory shows how these conservative, German-speaking farm families adapted to an increasingly urbanized and industrialized world.
Royden Loewen examines how the men and women of this immigrant group decised strategies to maintain familiar social structures and cultural patters within a changing society. Because these Mennonites were highly literate, leaving a rich array of diaries, letters, and memoirs, their everyday lives and ethnic self-perceptions can be reconstituted in detail.
Loewen's account tells of three generations of Mennonites for whom the farm family was the primary social unit. The sectarian, lay-oriented church congregation interpreted life's meaning and enforced strict social boundaries on the community level. These traditionalist were coupled with a sensitive adaptation to the market economy of the outside world.
About the author
Royden Loewen is a senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg. His books include Horse-and-Buggy Genius: Listening to Mennonites Contest the Modern World and Village Among Nations: "Canadian" Mennonites in a Transnational World, 1916–2006.
"A clear and well-developed micro-study that by its example points out new, interesting avenues of approach for historians who work in the ethnic field."
Herman Ganzevoort, author of A Bittersweet land: The Dutch Experience in Canada, 1890-1980
Other titles by Royden Loewen
A Global History of Place and Sustainability
Listening to Mennonites Contest the Modern World
Young, Well-Educated, and Adaptable
Chilean Exiles in Ontario and Quebec, 1973-2010
Village Among Nations
"Canadian" Mennonites in a Transnational World, 1916-2006
Immigrants in Prairie Cities
Ethnic Diversity in Twentieth-Century Canada
Diaspora in the Countryside
Two Mennonite Communities and Mid-Twentieth Century Rural Disjuncture
Revisiting the Mennonite Migrants of the 1870s
From the Inside Out
The Rural Worlds of Mennonite Diarists