Pair of Harms & Rempel Atlases: East & West Reserves!

Check out this beautiful pair of atlases — it’s a matched set!

As far as I know, these are the first Historic Atlases of the East and West Mennonite Reserves of Manitoba. In the case of the blue one, the Historical Atlas of the West Reserve, I believe it is the only one. (Thus far.)

My love of historical atlases began in 2015, when I discovered the freshly-published Historical Atlas of the East Reserve (by Ernie Braun and Glen Klassen).

As I pursued my family history, I realized many of my ancestors’ roots were in the West Reserve. My curiosity about yantzied was ignited.

“If only there was a historical atlas of the West Reserve!” I lamented to Andrew.

He promptly contacted the Mennonite Heritage Archives for a Historical Atlas of the West Reserve by John Rempel and William Harms.

When I picked up the book for the first time, I had a bit of a Micheal Bluth moment. I held it in my hands — yes, it takes both hands to hold this unwieldy book — blinked, and said, “I don’t know what I expected.”

Well wait. I guess, if I’m being honest, I do know what I expected: volume that looked exactly like the 2015 Historical Atlas of the East Reserve… which is a much more manageable size. (We own two copies: one for safe-keeping, and one that I toss in my bag when we’re heading out the door in warmer months, just in case we start to do some historical exploring!)

When Andrew learned that Harms & Rempel also published an East Reserve Atlas, he returned to the Mennnonite Heritage Archives to pick it up. (The MHA: always a logical place to go when you want a Mennonite book that’s out of print).

So exciting to see yet another historical atlas of our region! And to see it through the eyes of two people who were from yantzied, no less.

This volume is much slimmer and lighter than its counterpart, because the East Reserve is half the size of the West Reserve. I noticed the Harms & Rempel atlas about the East Reserve was published in 1988. Their West Reserve atlas was published in 1990. I’d assumed that because these gentlemen were from the West Reserve, they’d publish that one first… but upon weighing both volumes in my hands, I imagine they researched both at the same time, and were simply finished with the East Reserve book two years earlier!

As you can see, these atlases have seen better days… but today they’re enjoying terrific treatment here in the library of our home.