Anna Pinno was born on August 21, 1898 in the county of Gory, Poland. After obtaining her Professional Seamstress Certificate in Warsaw in 1928, Anna immigrated to Canada with her five-year-old daughter, Irma, to meet her husband, Gustav Kruger. The family relocated to Millet on March 13, 1931 with the hope of work and, ultimately, a better life. Soon after the relocation the Kruger’s second daughter, Edith, was born on December 10, 1931. Gustav was hired to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1929, yet the financial situation of the family was in need of further support.
Anna, an avid sewer, took it upon herself to begin sewing for townsfolk and found a growing demand for her dressmaking and sewing skills. As a result, she bought a treadle sewing machine in the summer of 1932. This new sewing machine saved Mrs. Kruger the trouble of having to travel to customer’s houses to complete her work.
Gustav and Anna added a third addition to the family, Janey, on May 8, 1936. After moving several times to accommodate the growing family within the limitations of a financially difficult era, Anna moved her family into their permanent home on the corner of 47th Ave and 51st St in the summer of 1937. Gustav, in addition to his C.P.R. work, became the caretaker of the Millet Curling Rink.
While getting familiar with their new home, another daughter, Annie, joined the family on January 28, 1938. Anna found time to learn the English language through studying her daughters’ spelling books in between farm work, running a household, and continuing her sewing work. An avid homemaker as well as seamstress, Mrs. Kruger maintained a vegetable garden from which she would can her crops to provide her family with food for the winter months.
After ordering material from the Eatons’ and Simpson Sears catalogues, in addition to occasional train trips to Edmonton, Anna would store all of her sewing supplies in her home. Anna quickly gained a reputation for quality and custom products. She soon had gentlemen approach her with trousers for alterations and women with difficult figures asking her for custom fittings. She also made sure to clothe her entire family.
Anna joined the Women’s Institute, and later continued on to join the Millet Social Group. The group aimed to keep their numbers small and focused on simply creating a social evening with a project to work on. Mrs. Kruger’s skills undoubtedly helped aid in the production of two blankets, thirteen quilts, fifty-two pairs of slippers, and much more.
At the end of her retirement Anna moved to the Seniors Lodge in Drayton Valley, Alberta. There, she continued to sew her own clothing until her passing on October 24, 1978.
Ak-p2-1 - Anna instructing a sewing class between 1918 and 1920.
Ak-p17-1 - The Kruger family. Standing, from left to right: Irma, Edith, Janey, and Annie. Gustav and Anna sitting.
Ak-p10-1 - Anna at work: a measuring tape around her neck, scissors in hand, and scraps of material laying around.
Ak-p16-1 - Anna and Gustav at the back of their home. Anna maintained a vegetable garden and canned many of the crops for her family for the winter in between her sewing jobs and maintaining her household.
Ak-p17-2 - Anna would continue to sew as she moved into the Seniors Lodge in Drayton Valley, Alberta, and until her passing on October 24, 1978.