Fonds PR0671 - Peter and Olga Savaryn family fonds

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Peter and Olga Savaryn family fonds

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    • Source of title proper: The title is based on the provenance of the fonds.

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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    • 1919-2013 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    34.28 m of textual records and other material.

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    Name of creator

    Biographical history

    Peter Savaryn was born to Mykhaylo and Anna (Atamaniuk) Savaryn in Zubretz, Ukraine, on September 17, 1926. During the Second World War, Savaryn was a volunteer member of the Nazi Waffen-SS 14th Grenadier Division (1st Galician).

    After immigrating to Canada in 1949, Peter graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1955 and a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1956, both from the University of Alberta. He established his own Edmonton law practice in 1959.

    Olga Prystajecky was born June 4, 1930 to parents Joseph and Olena Prystajecky in the village of Zhyznomyr, near Buczacz in Ternopil province of Ukraine. She started her education in Ukraine and in 1948 she, her parents, and her brother were sponsored by an aunt and moved to Spirit River, Alberta. Olga finished her grade 11 and 12 in Spirit River, Alberta and completed a 2 year diploma at Alberta College.

    In 1951 Peter Savaryn married Olga (Olya) Prystajecky, and together they had three children: Vera (Hnenny), Michael and Halia (Yarovenko).

    Peter Savaryn was active in the Senate and Board of Governors at the University of Alberta, the Office of the Chancellor of the University of Alberta, the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta as well as the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Ukrainian Village, the Multicultural Commission, as well as numerous Ukrainian community organizations in Alberta and Canada. He was also the Edmonton representative for the association of veterans of the Waffen-SS 14th Grenadier Division (1st Galician) and wrote positively of his service in the Nazi regime in his published memoirs ("We took Ukraine with Us. From Tarnopil to Alberta." Kyїv: KVITs 2007).

    In 1987, Savaryn received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta and was made an Order of Canada for his exceptional contributions to the community.

    In the 1990s, Peter Savaryn continued to actively participate in community life. At the University of Alberta, he participated in the Friends organization and served at the CIUS Advisory Council. He continued provide leadership in the Ukrainian community by serving on the board of the Alberta Ukrainian Commemorative Society, Shevchenko Scientific Society, Plast (Ukrainian youth organization), and Friends of the Ukrainian Village Society. During this period, Peter Savaryn also wrote numerous articles in the Ukrainian press and took active part in local and federal political campaigns. On the international stage, Peter Savaryn was a delegate at the Ukrainian World Congress conventions.

    Olga was active in the Ukrainian Youth scouting organization, Plast in Edmonton, in the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Edmonton Branch, the Ukrainian Catholic Women's League of Canada (UCWLC), the Alberta Commemorative Society, the Budka Charitable Society, Friends of the Ukrainian Village Society, Professional and Business Club, Edmonton Branch, and the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, Gold Bar constituency. She worked in the office of her husband's law firm, sang in the Dnipro Choir, and co-hosted a Ukrainian program on CKUA for over 20 years. Olga Savaryn received several recognition awards from the Ukrainian Congress (Shevchenko medal, Hetman award), from the UCWLC and the Alberta Government and CKUA (Alberta Service Award) for her work on the radio program.

    Peter died in Edmonton in 2017, and Olga died in Edmonton in 2019.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of records pertaining to both Peter and Olga Savaryn’s participation in various community organizations including reports, administrative records, photographs, awards, studies, speeches, contracts, and newsletters. The records depict the history of the Ukrainian communities in Alberta, Peter Savaryn’s part in that history, and Savaryn’s own history and experiences.

    Peter Savaryn’s university education and law practice are captured by finances, newspaper clippings, personal correspondence, and cards. Records of his tenure at the University of Alberta as Chancellor and member of the Board of Governors and Senate includes administrative materials, convocation information, and programs. Also included are records of Peter and Olga Savaryn’s participation in the political community, containing campaign material, conference notes, newspaper articles, and audio-visual material. There are also collected publications from various Canadian Ukrainian communities and the University of Alberta Law School and Alumni and Ukrainian music publications.

    In addition to professional and community records, the fonds includes family archives such as photographs, negatives, and Christmas cards and letters from family members in Ukraine dating from the 1940s. Also included in the fonds is other correspondence, research notes, financial accounts, notebooks, scrapbooks, and photograph albums.

    There are also collected publications from various Canadian Ukrainian communities and the University of Alberta Law School and Alumni, hand-written cards, a membership notebook, and Ukrainian music publications. Several of these have been annotated by Savaryn.

    The fonds is divided into six series:

    • Community Involvement Records ([193-?]-2013)
    • Professional and Career Records (1951-2011)
    • Academic Involvement Records (1956-2011)
    • Political Activity Records (1958-2012)
    • Family Records (1919-2013)
    • Olga Savaryn Records (1959 – 1998)

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Deposits made to the Provincial Archives of Alberta by Peter and Olga Savaryn.


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        Language and script note

        Records primarily in Ukrainian and English. Some records are in Polish.

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        Restrictions on access

        Audiovisual records must be digitized prior to access.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        Some file lists are available. Speak to a reference archivist for more information.

        Associated materials

        Related records are located in the Mary Lobay fonds (PR0051), the Vera Kunda fonds (PR3671), the Alberta Ukrainian Commemorative Society fonds (PR0260), Ukrainian Canadian Congress fonds (PR3212), and the Northern Alberta Heritage Language Association fonds (PR0262) held at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

        For Peter Savaryn's memoirs, see "We took Ukraine with Us. From Tarnopil to Alberta." (Kyїv: KVITs 2007).


        Further accruals are expected.

        General note

        Information in the Biographical Sketch sourced from the fonds.

        General note

        Includes the following accessions: PR2000.1309, PR2005.0083, PR2010.0599, PR2010.0600, PR2010.0601, PR2010.0643, PR2010.0644, PR2014.0451, PR2016.0029, PR2018.0199.

        Physical description

        Includes 1203 photographs – ca. 16,727 negatives. – 2 drawings. – 5 maps. – 1 poster. – 8 audio discs [ca. 7 Hrs]. -- 2 CD-Rs. -- 1 vinyl disc [4 Mins.; 4 Sec.].

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