Reading at The Reach highlights Mennonite maids

Ruth Derksen Siemens presents a pictorial story from her book Daughters in the City.

A reading at The Reach will feature stories of the many Mennonite women from across the Fraser Valley who served as maids in Vancouver in the 1930s to the 1960s.

Ruth Derksen Siemens, a first-generation Canadian of Russian Mennonite descent, will present a pictorial story from her book Daughters in the City: Mennonite Maids in Vancouver 1931-61, at a conversation and tea event on Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m. at The Reach.

She will relay how in the early 1930s, young Mennonite women – mostly adolescents – began to arrive in Vancouver, seeking work as domestic servants. Most had recently arrived as refugees from Russia, having escaped the terror of Stalin’s regime.

These young single women were pioneers of their community: they broke through the barriers of the city, the English language and the upper-class British culture, shaping the settlement patterns of not only Vancouver but also western Canada.

To purchase a $5 advance ticket for the reading visit thereach.ca or call 604-864-8087. Tickets include admission, Mennonite sweet treats and a $2.50 credit towards the purchase of the book on March 1 only.