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Southern Alberta Hutterian Brethren collection

1527-1971, predominant 1527-1825, 1924-1971

Physical Description:
10 microfilm reels. -- 9 audio reels. -- 35 cm of textual records. -- 143 photographs. -- 3 film reels

The Hutterian Brethren is a sectarian group which lives communally on farms or colonies, as they are called. Hutterites date back to 1528 when a group of about 200 Anabaptists formed a communal society in Moravia (now in Czechoslovakia) to escape religious persecution. The basic Hutterian beliefs, which are still held today, were established at that time under the leadership of John Hutter. These beliefs include the separation of church and state, pacifism, adult baptism, and communal living and ownership of property. Over their history Hutterites have been subjected to periods of persecution which resulted in migration from Czechoslovakia to Hungary, Romania, Russia, the USA and to Canada. Because of persecution in the USA over their refusal of military service, the group emigrated en masse to Canada in 1918, settling in Manitoba and Alberta, and later in Saskatchewan. Some Hutterites subsequently returned to the USA. Colonies in southern Alberta include: Red Willow, MacMillan, Stand Off, Lakeside, Rosebud, New Rosebud, Wolf Creek, Cayley, New Ulm, Hand Hills, and Minburn.

Scope and Content:
The collection consists of Stand Off colony records: recording of church service (1963) and singing (1971); photographs (1940s-1964); recorded interview with Jacob Walter on early history of colony (1971); sketches of early buildings; ethnological study, recorded observations and films by Dr. Karl Peter on colony life; microfilm of early religious writings (ca. 1550s-1560s), chronicle of Hutterian history (1527-1665, 1947- 1960), and legal agreements with government authorities (1782-ca. 1960) (predominantly in German); articles of association for Stand Off colony (1924-1956); and genealogy of Jacob Walter family (in German). Also consists of records from a number of southern Alberta colonies, especially Red Willow: German songbooks (1800s-1955, and some microfilmed from 1696-1825); medical book (1612, in German); microfilm of religious writings (1696-1875); recorded songs and interviews; and photographs (1961-1964). Includes microfilm of correspondence between Russian Hutterite colonies (1800s).

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of Jacob Walter, Dr. Karl Peter, E.J. Spiteri, and Red Willow Colony, and purchased from John Wipf, New Ulm Colony, Cayley Colony, Wolf Creek Colony, New Rosebud Colony, and Brigitte Peter-Cherneff, 1962-2018.

The material is in German and English.

Originals and Reproductions:
Originals of early religious writings (ca. 1550s, 1560s), Hutterian chronicle, legal agreements, Stand Off colony articles of association, and Walter genealogy are held by Stand Off colony. Originals of religious writings (1696-1875) and songbooks (1696-1825) are held by Paul Stahl. Originals of Russian colony correspondence held by Minburn colony. Some religious writings (1795) are held by MacMillan and Red Willow colonies; also includes research materials of Karl Peter.

Photos cannot be published without archivist's approval.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-1381, M-1385, M-2805, M-3552, M-3556, M-3557, M-3558, M-3563, M-3564, M-3567, M-3569, M-3574, M-4740 (in vault), M-7852, M-9873, RDT-2, RDT-4, RDT-5, Microfilm-Hutterian Brethren, PA-609, PA-1042, NA-1752, NA-3193, F-65

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