Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta


MHSA Archival Description Record

Title and Physical Description
John J. Bergen fonds. — 1923-2008. — 90 cm of textual records and other material

Administrative/Biographical History
John Jacob Bergen, 1922-    . was born in Neuendorf, Chortitza Colony, Ukraine. He emigrated with his parents Jakob and Maria Bergen in 1923, and settled at Graysville, Manitoba. He completed school at Gretna Mennonite Collegiate Institute in 1940. He taught school at Big Black River in northern Manitoba in 1940-1941, attended normal school in Winnipeg in 1941-1942, and taught at Hopeland School in 1942-1943. In 1943 his teaching certificate was revoked due to his refusal to sell war savings stamps through the school system. He volunteered for non-combatant service and served in the Dental Corps in 1944-1946. In 1946 his teaching certificate was reinstated, and again he taught in the public school system of Manitoba, becoming principal of Winkler School. In 1963 he moved to Edmonton to pursue graduate studies in educational administration, and was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Alberta in 1967, and taught in the Faculty of Education there until his retirement in 1987. In his retirement years he pursued studies in Mennonite theology and history, occasionally preaching in Mennonite churches and leading group tours in Russia and Germany.  In 1953 he married Hilda Lohrenz (d. 1998), daughter of Gerhard and Anne Lohrenz. They had five children, Paul, Eric, David, Ruth, and Karl.

Scope & Content
The fonds includes copies of the Bergen family immigration papers; John’s correspondence with his wife, his children, and his extended family; records of his wife’s family;  records of his education and military service; professional essays and articles; theological essays and sermons; and records of tour groups. Includes a few photographs (not separated). Arrangement by John J. Bergen was retained.

Source of Supplied Title
Title based on the contents of the fonds

Source of Acquisition
Gift by John J. Bergen, 2011

Access Restrictions
No restrictions on access

Finding Aids
See Inventory

Related Materials
John J. Bergen’s autobiography is available in the MHSA Library: A slice of my life / John Jacob Bergen. – Edmonton : J. Bergen, 2006

Accession 2011.028
The material is primarily in English, with some correspondence and documents in German and Russian.
Inventory and description completed February 2012 – Jim Bowman


1-1Extended family. - [ca.  1967-ca. 2002]. - Personal documents, greeting cards, article, family reunion documents.
1-2Genealogy. - [ca. 1963-ca. 2001]. - Pedigree charts, articles, etc.
1-3Letters to Tina, Peter, Henry, Lena, Maria. - 1983-2008. — Correspondence with family members, greeting cards, articles.  
1-4Letters, Anne, Marie.  - [1962?]-2005. - Correspondence with family members.
1-5Letters from Hilda, courtship. - 1952-1953. - Correspondence from Hilda Lohrenz.
1-6Letters from Hilda. - 1953-1990.
1-7Letters to Hilda. - 1952.
1-8Letters to Hilda. - 1952-1953.
1-9Letters to Hilda and others. - 1953-1986.
1-10The end : Hilda’s papers. - 1939-2005. - Includes certificates, artwork, title page of her book, records of her declining health and death, funeral arrangements, eulogies, records of memorial gifts.
1-11The end. - 1997-2001. - Correspondence, tributes to Hilda, John’s “Reflections on marriage, death and life”.
2-12Family letters. - 1982-2003.
2-13Family letters. - [photocopied ca. 2001 (originally created 1944-2001)].
2-14Communicator. - 1976-2006. - Newsletter of First Mennonite Church, Edmonton, including items contributed by John and Hilda Bergen.
2-15Letters to her Spirit. - 1963-2001. - Letters to Hilda, reflections on her illness and death, greeting cards.
2-16Gary Harder’s tribute to Hilda. - 1953-1978. - Banns of marriage, silver anniversary tribute, eulogies, family photographs, greeting cards, John’s reminiscences on Mennonite Collegiate Institute.
2-17John’s parents. - 1966-1991. - Records of 60th wedding anniversary of Jakob Bergen and Maria Peters Bergen, photocopy of family register, photographs, tribute in English and German by Peter Bergen.
2-18John’s memories of his parents. - [ca. 1983-ca. 1991]. - Transcript of John’s interview with his parents, reminiscences.
2-19Lohrenz letters. - 1964-1987. - Correspondence with Hilda’s father Gerhard Lohrenz.
2-20Correspondence with Gerhard and Anne Lohrenz. - 1982-2000. - Correspondence, passport, tribute given by John Bergen at their 60th wedding anniversary.
2-21 Pertaining to the last will of G & A Lohrenz. - 1983-1991.
2-22Letters. - 1960-1998. - Material pertaining to the Lohrenz family and their genealogy.
2-23Life of G. Lohrenz. - 1925-1986. - Soviet passport, certificates, educational records, sermons, obituaries.
2-14Life of G. Lohrenz. - [ca. 1930]-1996. - Anne Lohrenz’s commonplace book, sermons, articles, inventory of the Gerhard Lohrenz Collection at Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives in Winnipeg.
3-15Ruth. - 1977-1991. - Correspondence. Ruth was John’s daughter.
3-16Ruth. - 1988-2007. - Includes photocopies of birth certificate and university diploma.
3-17Ruth. - 1963-2006. - Includes John’s 1963 income tax return.
3-18Ruth. - 1985-2005.
3-19Christmas letters. - 1965-2005. 
3-20Mennonite World Conference. - 1961-1989. - Articles by Bergen about Mennonites.
3-21Mennonite World Conference. - 1946-2008. - Articles, correspondence about Mennonites in general. Includes records of exhibit, “The Mirror of the Martyrs” at Provincial Museum of Alberta.
3-22Correspondence with Jacob Bergen (brother) and family. - 1954-2008. - Includes photographs.
3-23Letters to Margaret (sister). - 1942-1994.
3-24Letters to Margaret (sister). - 1995-2005. - Includes photocopies of her reminiscences.
4-25Education. - 1931-1946. - School report cards, certificates, diaries (1938-1940), military certificates.
4-26Education. - 1940-2000. - Teacher’s certificate, teacher’s contracts, diary (1940-1941), school reunion book (2000), University of Manitoba convocation records, correspondence.
4-27Education. - 1956-2006. - Correspondence, photographs, memorabilia of post-graduate studies and university teaching career.
4-28Professional life. - 1963-2007. - Correspondence, certificates.
4-29Professional life. - 1974-2007. - Correspondence, certificates.
4-30Curriculum vitae. - 1947-2000. - Includes copies of articles and term papers.
4-31Curriculum vitae articles. - 1963-1991.
4-32Symposium on Mennonites in Canada. - 1987. - Includes Bergen’s paper “Some inferences concerning the impact of World War II on education among Mennonites in Canada”.
4-33Education papers : my years as C.O. - 1987-1990. - Includes photocopies of correspondence and documents related to Bergen’s wartime Conscientious Objector status (1941-1946).
4-34Letters. - 1939-1998. - Photograph, poems, correspondence regarding Hilda Bergen’s illness and death.
4-35Letters to my children. - 1942-2002. - Correspondence from Bergen’s father to his siblings, correspondence related to family reunions.
5-36Germany tour. - 1949-1984. - Reminiscence of Christmas Eve in Germany (1949), program for tour (1984).
5-37Tours of New Zealand and Mexico. - 1987-1989. - Reminiscences.
5-38Tours. - 1989-1996. - Program for tour of Russia (1990), itinerary for tour of Spain and Portugal (1996), notes on tours of Manitoba and Maritimes (1989), Germany (1992).
5-39U.S.S.R. - 1990. - Lecture notes, information for Russia tour.
5-40Reflections on tours. - 1971-2003. - Brochures, correspondence, worship service programs, collected travel diaries.
5-41Mennonite World Conference (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe). - 2003. - Reports by Bergen, programs, articles, map.
5-42Sermons and theological essays. - 1948-1981. - By John Bergen.
5-43Sermons and theological essays. - 1981-1989.
5-44Sermons and theological essays. - 1990-2001.
5-45Immigration documents. - 1923-2008. - Bergen family (mostly photocopies).

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