As a Mennonite, I read with some amusement Helen Zado’s so-called pen picture of the Mennonites of Western Canada. I was amazed to learn that Mennonites had no country or rather nationalism; that there was such a thing asa “Mennonite language;” that we were not permitted to have pictures on our walls; that we were just barely emerging out of the hazy mist of medievalism; and a host of other things which as a Mennonite I should surely know.
So here are a few facts about Mennonites which, in justice to the large body of Mennonites, I hope you’ll publish.
To begin with, Mennonites are not a peculiar class of people but are simply members of the Mennonite Church in the same way as Presbyterians are members of the Presbyterian Church. Mennonites are conscientious objectors and do not take an oath; otherwise the main articles of their creed differ very little from those of the Presbyterians or Methodists. The form of worship in Mennonite churches is practically the same as that of the United Church of Canada.
As nationals, members of the Mennonite church are of German and Dutch origin, and as such their habits and customs on the whole are the same as those of some hundred million Germans. The language of the Mennonites is naturally German. Many speak a German dialect, depending upon the part of Germany from which they came. At least ninety-five per cent of the Mennonites of Western Canada speak English without any difficulty, and the younger generation are all as well as, or better educated than their English neighbors because practically all of them speak at least two languages fluently. #
Many of the Mennonites are students at universities and have taken their degrees. Some have won high honors. Thus a Rhodes Scholarship has been won by a Mennonite, an I. O. D. E. scholarship and others. And only this year another won the highest honors at a Western university.
This certainly does not look as though we are just emerging from the strait-laced orthodoxy of the Middle Ages. It is a fair picture of ninety-five per cent of the Mennonites in Western Canada, and it would be almost as appropriate to regard all the Catholics as monks and nuns living in solitary seclusion with medieval habits and customs as to picture all the Mennonites as Old Colony Mennonites retaining the habits and customs of the long, long ago.—A. W. Friesen, Rosthern, Sask.
A Sea-Going Magazine
Editor, MacLean’s :
I have a relation in Canada whose Christmas greeting for years has been a yearly subscription to your interesting paper. The copies are passed along the whole line of our family, also to a schoolmaster and a Canadian who came over with the Expeditionary Force from the district of Medicine Hat.
Then the magazines are saved in order until the arrival of a nephew who is a wireless officer. For many years they have travelled the high seas all over the world, being left at the ports or transshipped to other outgoing vessels. Some of the voyages I can remember were to China, Japan, Greenland, Australia, South Africa, South America, India, the Solomon Islands, and one world tour. The last batch are at present on their way to Patagonia.
Just to emphasize the interest taken in your magazine, one journey an issue was missing, and as the captain on board was deeply interested in one of your continued tales, we got a letter to forward it if possible to their next place of call.—H. Almond, Leeds, Eng.
In Praise of Stefansson
Editor, MacLean's :
As an admirer of Vilhjalmur Stefansson, allow me to draw your attention to the fact that it will be twenty-five years next month that he went north for the first time.
To the writer’s mind Stefansson is the greatest explorer living or who has lived. Sir John Franklin, Admiral Peary, Dr. Nansen, Captain Admundsen, have been wonderful men, but Stefansson is greater because he has accomplished as much by entirely new theories and methods. Besides he had vision that has materialized.
He predicted nine years ago the possibility of guiding airplanes by radio bearings. This happened when Captain Charles KingsfordSmith crossed the Atlantic in June last year.
In the Chicago Herald of May 31, 1931, Stefansson said: “Sir Hubert Wilkins says he got from me the ide8 of Polar exploration by submarine.”
This is the truth. The launching of the Nautilus is no other idea than Stefansson’s, and, if he keeps himself in the shadow, there is not a doubt that he is the guiding hand of this gigantic enterprise, and that very likely it would not have taken place if he had not given his advice and support.
Admiral Byrd lived two years in “Little America” and flew over the South Pole and back again to his base in seventeen hours.
Stefansson lived eleven winters and thirteen summers in the Arctic region. It is said that he has walked 20,000 miles. It is evident that his observations, his records, his data, his specimens gathered, must be more voluminous, more complete, more accurate, than those of Admiral Byrd.
I do believe the country owes him a little recognition for services rendered. —C. Rabier, Edmonton, Alta.
An Irish Woman Speaks
With reference to your delightful magazine which is sent to me by a friend in Montreal, I very much regret to note that the only item to which objection could be taken has been supplied by a reader in Great Britain.
In your issue of May 15 there was a letter signed by J. T. Homewood, London, England, in which the following lines occur: “Another, if not the most important feature is that MacLean’s is clean—a contrast to most of the periodicals at home here, which rely on the ‘seamy’ side of life to fill their columns, etc.” This is a statement which I deeply resent, as it may convey an impression to your readers in Canada who have never been in the Old Country, that we spend our leisure moments gloating over literary filth—whereas if Mr. Homewood will go to any railway station bookstall and buy twelve of the most popular magazines, I don’t think I exaggerate when I assert that he will get a dozen of the cleanest periodicals in the world.—“An Irate Irishwoman,” Portobello, Scotland.
Sorry, We Knew Better
Even though you have probably had many letters calling your attention to the fact that Miles Canyon is in Canada and not in Alaska, I am taking the liberty of adding my testimony to the fact that it is in the Yukon Territory. An unusual thing, if you will, but a bad slip-up for the Canadian Magazine.—H. Milton Martin, Edmonton, Alta.
A Cover Compliment
I would like to compliment you on the splendid pictures on the covers of MacLean’s. Not another magazine has a cover so attractive. Success to the artists.—Mrs. C. P. Morrison, Montreal.
The Disadvantages of Marriage
While in many respects I agree with the writer of “This Freedom,” yet with all due deference to her age, experience and wisdom, I think there are some points that she has not covered.
What woman worth her salt, even of this younger generation, does not yearn for “little fümbling arms around her neck?” What woman does not desire security, the love and companionship of a husband, the privilege of letting things go when she feels down and out, of slipping out to a movie? But what of the married woman who has to scrape to make ends meet, who has three or four little children constantly needing attention? Can she lie down for an hour or slip out to a movie? No; she must work and work and keep a pleasant face for her husband’s sake, be happy and carefree with the kiddies. She can't ask for an afternoon off or lock the office door at six o’clock and say, “I’m done for the day.” Hubby wants his meals, the children have to be put to bed, the dishes washed after supper, socks and small clothes to be mended, and countless other odd jobs to be done.
I wonder if “A Business Woman” looked at this side of married life.—J. C., Picton, Ont.
He Imports our Exports
Some months ago, you had a paragraph in MacLean’s, setting forth Canada’s exports to various countries.
The only one that happened to be in that list at the time for Great Britain, was, I think, canned strawberries!
I therefore append a list of the Canadian products used in my own small cottage:
Other Canadian products, to be bought in many shops around and used by friends are: Maple sugar, honey, cheese, also canned meats, vegetables and fruits, and canned
My Christmas pudding contained ingredients from six parts of the British Empire.
Other goods, bought locally, are Canadian gum-boots, canvas shoes, and hotwater bags.
Canadian Geographical Journal, MacLean's and Chatelaine are also among imports.— E. M. Johnstone, Beaverlodge, Sand Marsh, Ripley, Surrey, England.
Marie, A Masquerader?
I was much interested in the article by Frederick Beck on Canadians in Hollywood, but was a little disappointed at the space devoted to Marie Prévost. She is quite as capable as any of the others mentioned, but is by no means a French-Canadian, though some gal.
Marie Prévost was bom in Sarnia, Ont., back about ’98 and her father, Teddy Dunn, was in the employ of the St. Clair Tunnel Company and was asphyxiated in the tunnel in 1900 if my memory is not at fault. Her mother before her marriage was a Miss Maggie MacDonald. So you see she is more probably a good Scotch-Canadian, though Teddy may have been Irish.
MacLean’s has improved immensely in the last few years and I enjoy reading the stories' and articles very much indeed.—J. D. MacEdward, Vancouver, B.C.
Praise for “Business Woman”
You are to be congratulated for giving space in “Canada’s National Magazine” to an article so magnificently courageous and so pertinently expressed as “This Freedom” by “Business Woman” in your recent number. —Canadian Mother, Chatham, Ont.
Limited Protection for Patents
In a late issue you have a most interesting article regarding the Research Department. Its basic intention is to advance Canadian industry by the distribution of findings and facts resultant upon the Department’s discoveries.
But elsewhere in Ottawa is another public building in which every effort is made to do the very opposite; that is, to restrict discovery to the individual that he in turn may exploit the public. I refer to the Patent Office.
Without apology or argument I am suggesting:
That, instead of present patent rights, a patentee be given only one year after patent within which to manufacture and put on the market his patent; and then a limit of three years protection after his article is on
That where the patent is an improvement of a manufactured article, the manufacturers adopting such improvement should pay the inventor a sum to be fixed by the patent office—without legal process—as remuneration, whether the patentee himself manufactures or not.
That when a manufacturer or combine puts an unreasonable price or condition on the article, the department, so finding, should void the patent.
That an inventor—with protection under a caveat—may submit his invention direct to the Research Department; and the department may, in the public interests, purchase it for a reasonable sum on its merits.
Query: Is it in the interests of the general public, and so a fit subject for legislation, that any patents for invention be granted or continued?—H. Percy Blanchard, Ellershouse, N.S. _
The Oldest University
As a constant reader of your magazine,
I beg to call your attention to an error in your issue of July 15 which has already been commented on by many friends of this, the oldest university in the British Empire outside the British Isles.
I refer to the question, “What is the name of Canada’s oldest University?" and the reply, “Dalhousie University.”
The University of King’s College was established in 1789, and the Royal Charter granted in 1802. If you look into the records of Dalhousie University, you will find that it was fifteen or twenty years later that that university was founded.
In the interests of accuracy, I take the liberty of sending you this information.— Marjorie S. Morrow, University of King’s College, Halifax, N.S.
War Records at Ottawa
The actor playing the part of the prisoner in the play “The Valiant” presented over Radio Station WB2, one Sunday night spoke the following: “The Official Records at Ottawa are in such bad shape that they don’t know what became of half of the men they lost.” This might not be the exact wording, but you can see what I would like to know. Is this true? And if not, why do they put in such parts in a play? I notice that plays presented over American Radio Stations sure razz anything British or Canadian.—Subscriber, The Glades, N.B.
Editor, MacLean’s :
Keep up the good work. Your magazine is the real class of reading that has been needed in Canada for years past. Our family will do all we can to encourage your magazine among our many friends.—W. Pratley, Edmonton, Alta.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.