If you’re like me, the mention of a “historical atlas” likely conjures up images of very old, difficult-to-recognize, black-and-white maps bound in a nondescript soft cover. The authors of the newly published Historical Atlas of the East Reserve have set out to wipe that image from our minds and have achieved a degree of success in doing so. This became evident at the launch of this beautiful full-colour volume last Saturday.
The old Chortitz Church at Randolph was filled to capacity as members of the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society launched its latest publication. This hardcover book looks like it will be more suited to coffee tables than to dusty archival shelves. Its 256 pages are filled with colourful maps and charts, beautiful photographs, and narratives telling many stories of villages that once existed in the Rural Municipality of Hanover, many of which have disappeared and are merely a dot on a map today.
The evening was chaired by Jake Peters, Chair of the EastMenn History Committee of the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society. Ernest Braun of Niverville, Glen Klassen of Steinbach, and Harold Dyck of Winnipeg - the three people who produced the atlas - each addressed the audience briefly with stories about the book’s production. Dr. John Warkentin, Professor Emeritus at York University in Toronto (and interestingly one of the founders of our Mennonite Heritage Village) took time to congratulate the authors, editors and committee for their fine work. Signed copies were presented to a number of contributing individuals and organizations.
The evening ended with a lot of visiting around coffee and cookies, as well as the opportunity to purchase a book and have it autographed. The public will find these books for sale at Village Books and Gifts at the Mennonite Heritage Village, at Die Mennonitische Post in Steinbach, and at the Mennonite Heritage Centre on the campus of Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg.