"Doing What We Could: Mennonite Domestic Servants in Winnipeg, 1920s to 1950s"

Klippenstein, F.E.
January 1989
Journal of Mennonite Studies;1989, Vol. 7, p145
Academic Journal
This article is based on taped interviews carried out in spring 1987 with thirty‐four Mennonite women who had some connection with the Mennonite "Maedehenheime" (hostels or girls' homes for working women) in Winnipeg between the 1920s and 1950s. Most of the women were born in south Russia and had immigrated to Canada following the 1917 Russian Revolution. In Canada, they faced the challenge of re‐establishing their livelihoods. For many of them, this involved leaving their families in the countryside and going to work as live‐in maids in the middle‐ and upper‐class homes in Winnipeg and other cities. The significance of this occupational structure has not been explored. The author sheds light on such questions as how the pattern of the women working as maids became so well established and how this work experience affected Mennonite family life, urbanization, city church establishment and shape, and assimilation.


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