Cutrell, Benjamin Elwood (1923-1999)

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Benjamin "Ben" Elwood Cutrell: publisher; born 28 March 1923 in Scottdale, Pennsylvania, the third son (of eight children) of George Washington Cutrell (22 February 1891 - 6 September 1966) and Frances Nissley Cutrell (30 September 1893 - 12 August 1981). On 2 December 1944 Ben married Dorothy Stutzman (b. 9 August 1924) and they had two children, Kathleen and David. Ben died on 26 December 1999 in DeLand, Florida, and is buried in the Alverton Cemetery near Scottdale.

The Cutrell family moved to Scottdale in 1908, hence Ben grew up around Mennonite Publishing House, and family members worked there. He studied at the local public schools and was a 1944 graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in printing management.  

In 1944 Ben married Dorothy Stutzman of Louisville, Ohio. The couple moved to Colorado where he managed a printing business owned by his father. They returned to Scottdale in 1955 with their two children Kathleen and David. After the children were grown, Dorothy joined Ben in the publishing business, serving as as director of the Scottdale Provident Bookstore and for many years as editor of the book review service called Provident Bookfinder.     

Ben Cutrell served as publisher of Mennonite Publishing House at Scottdale, Pennsylvania, from 1961 to 1988. He was one of four publishers who served Mennonite Publishing House during most of the 20th century. Others were Aaron Loucks (1908-1935), Abram Jacob (A. J.) Metzler (1935-1961), and J. Robert Ramer (1988-2001). During Cutrell’s 27-year tenure as chief executive officer of the Mennonite Church’s publishing program, the business grew from $2 million to $13 million annually in sales, and a network of nine Provident Bookstores was established in Mennonite communities across North America. 

Cutrell pursued cooperative publishing with the General Conference Mennonite Church (Faith & Life Press at Newton, Kansas) as well as other Anabaptist-related groups in publishing initiatives such as Sunday school curriculum, hymnals, Believers Church Bible Commentary, and Rejoice! (devotional magazine). The commentary was a cooperative project which included several Brethren denominations, the Mennonite Brethren, and the Brethren in Christ. During his leadership, a youth monthly With was begun, the best-selling More-with-Less cookbook was launched, and a new warehouse was added at the Scottdale location. 

Cutrell chaired the book approving group for Herald Press, the trade book division of the Mennonite Publishing House. During his tenure, the Herald Press list expanded to producing about 25 new titles a year. In 1976, Cutrell took a six-month leave of absence to work as a publishing consultant in Papua, New Guinea. Later he and Dorothy gave similar volunteer service to Christian publishing projects in South Africa and Nanjing, China. After leaving publishing, the Cutrells lived for a number of years near DeLand, Florida, to be near their son and grandchildren.

Author(s) Levi Miller
Date Published April 2012

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MLA style

Miller, Levi. "Cutrell, Benjamin Elwood (1923-1999)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2012. Web. 4 Dec 2023.,_Benjamin_Elwood_(1923-1999)&oldid=123473.

APA style

Miller, Levi. (April 2012). Cutrell, Benjamin Elwood (1923-1999). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 December 2023, from,_Benjamin_Elwood_(1923-1999)&oldid=123473.

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