In this month’s Founders and Builders Series, we introduce you to Albert Schrauwers, a steadfast member who has contributed greatly to the success of CFHA.
By Ruth Jeffery-Maclean
Albert Schrauwers has been an integral part of the work of CFHA for many years. He has brought an expertise in research and writing, professional development, and a tireless work ethic to the goals of our mission statement.
During his fourth year of undergraduate study in anthropology, Albert was researching for a paper on the Children of Peace. The Sharon Temple National Historic Site was closed for the season and he ended up at the Canadian Quaker Archives in search of material. Albert recognized the Archives as an invaluable resource that existed in relative obscurity. Jane Zavitz as archivist was herself an invaluable resource. Albert gathered his research and continued to attend at the archives assisting Jane with the work of maintaining the collection. He was soon recruited for CFHA.
CFHA was already producing a newsletter but Albert envisioned the publication of a peer-reviewed journal of research articles on the history of Quakers in Canada. The first issue of the Canadian Quaker History Journal was published in 1989 with Albert Schrauwers responsible for production. He continued assisting with production and later as editor for many years.
In addition to time given to the Archives and to CFHA, Albert also contributed endless hours at the Sharon Temple Museum Society and the Children of Peace Burying Ground. The Site Director expressed his involvement this way: “It is not an exaggeration to say that without his vigilant watch over the Sharon Temple, it may not have been preserved to the level of historical integrity that we can enjoy today.”
It’s hard to believe that while giving so much time to the Archives and the Temple, Albert was continuing his studies at the University of Toronto. His master’s thesis was published under the title, “Awaiting the Millennium: The Children of Peace and the Village of Hope 1812-1889.”
Albert earned a PhD in Economic Anthropology from the University of Toronto and lectured at the London School of Economics for two years. When he returned to Canada he assumed a professorship in the Department of Anthropology at York University. And he continued to mine the history of the Children of Peace, authoring his book, ‘Union is Strength’: W.L. Mackenzie, the Children of Peace and the Emergence of Joint Stock Democracy in Upper Canada (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2009).
Albert Schrauwers has been unrestrained in his contribution toward the development of CFHA, but he is seldom seen. He avoids the footlights and needs no accolades but for anyone observing the development of the association, there is no doubt that Albert raised the bar for CFHA. He is a Builder.
Publications for CFHA:
Faith Friends and Fragmentations: Essays on Nineteenth Century Quakerism in Canada, CFHA, edited by Albert Schrauwers. 1995.
“The Best Man for Settling New Country”: The Journal of Timothy Rogers, CFHA, edited by Chris Densmore and Albert Schrauwers, 2000.