City of Residence: Ottawa
Myron Momryk was born in 1946 in Karlsruhe, Germany to parents originally from Western Ukraine. His family immigrated to Canada in 1949 and moved to Val d’Or, Quebec and later to Oshawa, Ontario. He completed an M.A. in Canadian history in1972 and then in 1973 obtained a position as an Administrative Officer for the Department of the Secretary of State. From 1975 to 1980 he worked for the Secretary of State’s Multiculturalism Program, with his duties requiring that he familiarize himself with the ethnic holdings of the National Archives of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada, or LAC). He moved to the LAC in 1981, where he served as Archivist (until 1988) and Head (1988–1994) of its Multiculturalism Archives Program and then as a Project Archivist with the LAC Social and Cultural Archives Section (into which the MAP had been integrated).
The LAC’s Ukrainian fonds were not fully organized at the time Mr. Momryk began working there. He quickly conducted a survey of the archive’s collections and then quietly set out to systematically gather new acquisitions that would build up the Ukrainian holdings and fill in its ‘gaps.’ He also undertook or arranged the cataloguing of numerous collections. In other words, Mr. Momryk oversaw the shaping of the single largest archival collection dealing with Ukrainian Canadians (86 fonds and over 230 metres of textual material as of 2006)—an invaluable source of documents critical to the history of Ukrainians in Canada and Ukraine—and served as its caretaker for 25 years. Moreover, he guided generations of historians and other researchers through these collections, opening their eyes to sources they were unaware of, while also advising many Ukrainian community groups on how to put their organizational records in order. He did all this in a competent, professional manner (which certainly is expected with such positions), although it might more accurately be said that he made it his vocation to develop LAC as a preserve for the collective memory of Ukrainians in Canada. Even in retirement he continues to assist scholars in their research at LAC.
Mr. Momryk is held in high regard by the Ukrainian-Canadian academic community. The forthcoming University of Toronto Press collection Re-Imagining Ukrainian-Canadians: History, Politics, and Identity, has been compiled as a tribute to him by his colleagues (with notable contributions from younger scholars who benefited from his guidance and assistance in their thesis research at LAC). On the occasion of his retirement from LAC in 2006 he was feted by the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa with an evening in his honour. The Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Ottawa honoured him with its Filip Konowal, VC Award for Lifetime Achievement in December 2004. And the majority of books and theses on Ukrainian-Canadian topics that have appeared over the last 25 year have included an acknowledgement to Mr. Momryk for his unfailing and valuable assistance.