Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church

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The Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church was established by the 1911 session of the Mennonite Church General Conference as a committee of ten with the assignment to prepare a Mennonite church history, and continued as a standing committee of the conference. In 1937 it was authorized to co-opt additional members and after that usually had a membership of 12. Officers through 1956 were: chairman, S. F. Coffman 1911-1947 and H. S. Bender 1947- ; secretary, John Horsch 1911-1927, L. J. Burkholder 1927-1935, H. S. Bender 1935-1947, J. C. Wenger 1947- ; custodian of the archives, H. S. Bender 1940-1947 and Melvin Gingerich 1947- ; treasurer, J. C. Wenger 1939-1941, 1945-1947, Edward Yoder 1941-1945, and  Ira D. Landis  1947- .

The committee early promoted the building up of a Mennonite historical library at the Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, which was for a time its property, with John Horsch as librarian, but later this library was turned over to the House. The committee appointed historians for the various district conferences to secure material for a history of the Mennonite Church in America. Throughout its history it from time to time recommended, promoted, and supervised the publication of historical works, and served as assistant to the Mennonite Publishing House and the latter's Publishing Committee in the choice of historical writers and in the production of historical literature.

A new phase of the committee's work began in 1939 with the organization of the Mennonite Historical Association, whose officers were the officers of the Historical Committee. At the same time it began the publication of the Mennonite Historical Bulletin, which was published by the Historical Committee of Mennonite Church USA until 2012. In 1940, by direction of the Mennonite General Conference, it established the archives of the Mennonite Church first located in two rooms in the Goshen College Library, at Goshen, Indiana. The Mennonite Church USA Archives was located on the Goshen College campus until 2017 when the collections were moved to the denominational building in Elkhart. The committee also subsidized the publication in Europe of the series of volumes of Anabaptist documents known as the Täuferakten. The committee helds annual business meetings.

After the merger of the Mennonite Church (MC) and the General Conference Mennonite Church, the committee was superseded by the Historical Committee of Mennonite Church USA. The Historical Committee continued to meet until 2012 when the board was disbanded. The archives continues to function under the authority of the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 25 Jul 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Historical_Committee_of_the_Mennonite_Church&oldid=162847.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1956). Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 July 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Historical_Committee_of_the_Mennonite_Church&oldid=162847.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 749. All rights reserved.

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