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Baerg, Anna (1897–1972)

Proper Title

Anna Baerg fonds

Dates of Creation

1913–1978, 2005

Physical Description

25 cm of textual material and 25 photographs

Biographical Sketch

Anna Baerg was born January 28, 1897, in Bijuk, Buscow, in the Crimea, South Russia, the oldest child of Gerhard and Anna Matthies Baerg. She lived through the turbulent years of World War I, the Communist Revolution, and the ensuing civil war, in the Molotschna Mennonite colony in Ukraine. Because Anna Baerg had been crippled by a childhood illness, she could not participate in many activities with other young people, so she had an abundance of time to develop her writing talents.

The unsettling circumstances of the time and her own fragile health prevented her from obtaining the formal education she so much wished for. In 1924, she emigrated to Canada with the rest of her family, living first with her widowed mother and then with other members of her family in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. She died on February 16, 1972, in Clearbrook, British Columbia, after a lengthy illness.

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 was some poetry by Anna Baerg. In 2005, Gerald Wright sent photocopies of some of the poetry to Jack Klassen of Altona, MB, who transcribed them and sent these transcriptions to CMBS.

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 from Mennonite Central Committee. Textual material also consists of Anna Baerg’s poetry created between 1913 and 1959. Baerg writes in German using Gothic script. 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.

Notes

  • Volumes 913–914.
  • Description updated by Conrad Stoesz October 7, 2003 and June 23, 2005.
  • The accession number is 1981–13, 2003–036, 2005–020.
  • No restrictions on access.
  • Language: German and English.
  • Finding aid consists of a file list.

Series Descriptions

I. Anna Baerg Diary
1916–1977.
17 cm of textual material.

  • This series contains Baerg’s original German diary, the diary transliterated and typed by Clara K. Dyck in 1977, the published version in the Mennonitische Post, November 1978, and a critique by Peter J. Dyck published in Mennonite Life, December 1973.
  • Finding aid: Volumes 913–914, Anna Baerg file list 1–14.

II. Anna Baerg Poetry and other writings
1913–1964.
8 cm of textual material.

  • This series contains German poetry, with some transcriptions, and untitled material created by Baerg.
  • Finding aid: Volume 914, Anna Baerg file list 15–36.

III. Anna Baerg Photograph Collection
1914–1965.
25 photographs.

  • These photographs are mostly of Anna Baerg with various members of her family. Included is the portrait of Baerg that appeared in the Mennonitische Post with the publication of her diary. The photographs were donated by her sister, Kornelia Jantzen, of Waldheim, Saskatchewan, and by Mary Isaac of St. Catharines, Ontario.
  • Finding aid: The photographs are classified under NP110.

File List

Volumes 913

  1. Diary. – February to April 1925.
  2. Diary. – April 1925 to January 1926.
  3. Diary. – December 1925 to May 1926.
  4. Diary. – September 1926 to January 1927.
  5. Anna Baerg Diary. – 1917 to 1924 (typed draft copy).
  6. The Diary of Anna Baerg, a critique by Peter J. Dyck taken from Mennonite Life, December 1973.
  7. Tagebuch von Anna Baerg. – 1924 to 1959.
  8. Tagebuch copied from Die Mennonitische Post, November 1978
  9. The Diary of Anna Baerg 1916 to 1926 and 1959, pp. 1–99 / transliterated and typed by Clara K. Dyck. – 1977.
  10. The Diary of Anna Baerg 1920 to 1924, pp. 100–367 / transliterated and typed by Clara K. Dyck. – 1977.
  11. The Diary of Anna Baerg 1925 to 1926 and 1959, pp. 368–582 / transliterated by Clara K. Dyck. – 1977.
  12. Original diary of Anna Baerg. – 1916–1924.

Volume 914

  1. Original Diary of Anna Baerg. – February to May 1924.
  2. Diary May 1922–24 (majority of the material is written on evaporated milk can labels).
  3. Untitled. – 1929–1937.
  4. Untitled. – 1962 – 1964.
  5. Gedichte & Gespraeche von Walden. – 1928–1948.
  6. No. 34 Erzaehlungen (re: missionary experiences). – 1928–1948.
  7. Gedichte. – [19-].
  8. Gedichte. – 1917–1918.
  9. No. 3 Sammlung von Gedichten, Gespraechen & Versen. – 1924.
  10. Gedichte. – 1917–1921.
  11. Gedichte. – 1913–1917.
  12. Weinachts Gedichte sent to siblings. – 1932.
  13. Am Wegesrand. – 1925–1926.
  14. Untitled. – 1926.
  15. Sammlung von Gedichten & Gesprachen. – 1941–1959.
  16. Gedichte. – [19-].
  17. Gedichte. – 1921–1924.
  18. Gedichte. – 1929, 1932, and 1957.
  19. Steppenblumen Gedichte & Verse. – 1927.
  20. Saemanns-Lied. – [19-].
  21. Gedichte. – 1918.
  22. Miscellaneous original material. – 1927–1932.
  23. Poetry and other writings sent to Anna Regehr by Anna Baerg. – 1931.
  24. Transcriptions of Anna Baerg poetry/ Jack Klassen. – 2005. –

Note: in the transcription p. 1–8 originals are in file 22, p. 8–14 originals are in file 20, p. 15–42 originals are in file 21 p. 1–52.

NP110 Anna Baerg Photograph Collection

  • NP110–1–1 Original photograph of Anna Baerg’s picture which appeared with excerpts of her diary in Mennonitische Post. Donated by Aron J. and Mary Isaac. – [19--].
  • NP110–1–2 Anna Baerg with her brother Hans’ children in Winnipeg. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen (sister), Waldheim. – [195-].
  • NP110–1–3 Anna Baerg in her home in Winnipeg. Donated by Mary Isaac, St. Catharines. – [195-].
  • NP110–1–4 Anna Baerg with her nieces on the farm. Her brother Abram is cutting the grass. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [193-].
  • NP110–1–5 Picnic with a womens’ group in Dominion City, Manitoba. Donated by Mary Isaac, St. Catharines. – 1935.
  • NP110–1–6 Anna Baerg with her friend Tina Pauls. Donated by Mary Isaac, St. Catharines. – 1925.
  • NP110–1–7 Mother Baerg and sister Mariechen at Dominion City, Manitoba. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [193-].
  • NP110–1–8 At Coaldale. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – 1960.
  • NP110–1–9 Picnic with mother on the farm at Dominion City. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [193-].
  • NP110–1–10 Anna Baerg with her nieces in Winnipeg on the street adjacent to her home. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [194-].
  • NP110–1–11 Anna Baerg with her nieces in Winnipeg on the street adjacent to her home. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [194-].
  • NP110–1–12 Teacher at government training school at Apanlee. Anna Baerg took lessons at the David Dick estate. Donated by Mary Isaac, St. Catharines. – [ca. 1914–1916].
  • NP110–1–13 Brother Abram and wife Kaethe visiting mother and Anna Baerg. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [194-].
  • NP110–1–14 Anna, Mariechen, and Nela (Kornelia) in Arnaud, Manitoba. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – 1965.
  • NP110–1–15 Anna Baerg standing adjacent to her home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [194-].
  • NP110–1–16 Anna Baerg with her niece on the farm. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [194-].
  • NP110–1–17 Mother Baerg, Anna, and Mariechen. Donated by Mary Isaac, St. Catharines. – Christmas, 1932.
  • NP110–1–18 Anna with her sister Mariechen in the woods at Dominion City. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [194-].
  • NP110–1–19 Anna Baerg in the centre with the Mennonite Brethren women’s group at Arnaud, Manitoba. Donated by Mary Isaac, St. Catharines. – [ca. 1928–1930].
  • NP110–1–20 Willing Helpers group at Portage Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church in Winnipeg. Anna Baerg at back right. Donated by Mary Isaac, St. Catharines. – [194-].
  • NP110–1–21 Anna with her nieces in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [194-].
  • NP110–1–22 Anna with her friend Tina Peters in Gretna Manitoba. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [193-].
  • NP110–1–23 Anna Baerg on the farm at Dominion City. Donated by Mary Isaac, St. Catharines. – 1927.
  • NP110–1–24 Unidentified, probably mother Baerg and Anna at Winnipeg, Manitoba. Donated by Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim. – [September, 1951].
  • NP110–1–25 On the farm at Dominion City. Anna Baerg at left? Donated by Mary Isaac, St. Catharines. – [ca. 1935].
  • NP110–1–26 Letter from Kornelia Jantzen, Waldheim to Clara Dyck, Winnipeg regarding fifteen of the photographs. – 1978.
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