Family, Church, and Market - Book Cover

Family, Church, and Market

A Mennonite Community in the Old and the New Worlds, 1850-1930

Royden K. Loewen

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 Janse, Nebraska. This social history 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 devised strategies to maintain familiar social structures and cultural patterns 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 aims were coupled with a sensitive adaptation to the market economy of the outside world.

"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 filed."

— Herman Ganzevoort,
author of A Bittersweet Land:
The Dutch Experience in Canada, 1890-1980

A volume in the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Centennial Series

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: University of Illinois Press (June 1, 1993)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0252063252
ISBN-13: 978-0252063251