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1959 Article


Though there have never been any special Mennonite publishing houses in the Netherlands, and books written by Mennonites have from the very beginning been published by non-Mennonites, as for example as early as 1577 by Gillis Rooman, who probably was not a Mennonite, yet there have been a large number of Mennonite printers and publishers, who have also published Mennonite books. Among those to be mentioned, the first is Nicolaes Biestkens, who at first operated a printing shop at Emden, and from ca. 1580 one at Amsterdam; his business was taken over by his son A. Biestkens. Reiner Wylicks at Utrecht published Mennonite books in 1593. About the same time Passchier Wesbus(ch) was a Mennonite publisher at Haarlem as were his son Hans Passchiers van Wesbusch and his grandsons Passchier and Isaac van Wesbusch. They published numerous Mennonite books. Other Mennonite publishers of the 17th century were J. A. Calom at Amsterdam, Zacharias Jansen (Harteveldt) and his son Pieter Sacharijasen at Hoorn, Jan Theunisz at Amsterdam, Claes Jacobs at de Rijp, Pieter Arendsz at Amsterdam, Geleyn Jansz and his son Jan Geleynsz at Vlissingen, and Pieter van der Meersch at Leiden. In the 18th century we find Isaac Tirion at Amsterdam, Denys van der Schuere, Jan Bosch, and Isaac van der Vinne at Haarlem, Folkert van der Plaats at Harlingen, and Hendrik Rintjes at Leeuwarden. In the 19th century there were several members of the Plantinus family at Drachten, Johannes Müller at Amsterdam, and in the 19th and 20th centuries the publishing houses of François Bohn and Tjeenk Willink at Haarlem, the J. H. de Bussy publishing house at Amsterdam, H. Born and L. Hansma at Assen, J. Over and son at Borne, D. Rooda (firm A. H. Schut Azn) at Groningen, and A. H. Veenbaas (G. Taconis Lim) at Wolvega. The Algemene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit issued several pamphlets under its name, thus being in a sense the only official church publishing agency, except possibly a committee of the ADS called De Commissie tot de Doopsgezinden in de Verstrooiing, which published a series of pamphlets, 61 in number, from 1897 to 1940, under the general title Geschriftjes ten behoeve van de Doopsgezinden in de Verstrooiing. -- Nanne van der Zijpp

Germany, Switzerland, and France

Mennonites in these countries by the 1950s never had an official conference publishing agency, and very few Mennonites here ever went into the printing or publishing business. No Anabaptist presses were known except the one which operated for a time in Lübeck and later in nearby Wüstenfelde which published a number of Menno Simons' writings ca. 1550-1561, and Simprecht Sorg, called Froschouer, who followed Hubmaier to Nikolsburg in 1526, where he published some of the latter's writings. In modern times the South German Mennonite Conference (1885) published a few pamphlets and the hymnbook of the conference. Heinrich Schneider, a Mennonite minister and printer in Karlsruhe, Germany, published a number of Mennonite books after 1930 and printed others. Recently some evidence has been uncovered to suggest that Pilgram Marpeck had a printing press.

United States and Canada

The first Mennonite publishing agency in the United States was established at Mountain Valley (Singers Glen), near Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1847 by Joseph Funk (Mennonite Church) and continued as Joseph Funk & Sons until 1862, when Funk died. His sons, who were not Mennonites, continued the business. John H. Oberholtzer (General Conference Mennonite) published alone at Milford Square, PA, 1848-1856 (press from 1852), followed by the Mennonite Printing Union (Mennonitischer Druckverein) 1856-1866, a semiofficial private company, which was taken over by J. G. Stauffer 1867-1908(?), a Mennonite who did some Mennonite printing for about 20 years. John F. Funk (MC) started publishing in Chicago in 1864, moved to Elkhart, Indiana in 1867, and established there in 1875 the Mennonite Publishing Co., which continued as a vigorous and influential private company with a substantial Mennonite publications list until 1908, when most of the business was sold, although Funk operated the MPC until 1925 for the full length of its 50-year charter. David Goerz and others operated the Western Publishing Co. (GCM) at Halstead, Kansas, 1875-1881. The Mennonite Book and Tract Society (MC) operated under several addresses 1889-1908.

The era of official conference publishing agencies began with the Evangelical United Mennonite Publication Society (Mennonite Brethren in Christ) in 1875-1885 (Goshen, Indiana, USA), followed by the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Publication Society 1885-1908, and the Bethel Publishing Company (1910, as a private concern, from 1920 as an MBC conference agency, from 1928 at Elkhart, Indiana). The next conference publisher was the Christliche Central-Buchhandling der Allgemeinen Conferenz (GCM) at Berne, Indiana and Halstead, Kansas, 1882-1893, followed by the Mennonite Book Concern (1893- ?), which in turn was followed by the Mennonite Publication Office at Newton, Kansas, 1939- . A private publishing agency was established at Newton in 1900 by members of the General Conference Mennonite Church, called Western Book and Publishing Company. It has continued into the 1950s, operating since 1920 under the name Herald Publishing Company. D. W. Friesen & Sons operated at Altona, Manitoba, as publishers for the Manitoba Mennonites since 1933.

The official publishing agency of the Mennonite Church (MC) after 1908 was the Mennonite Publishing House at Scottdale, PA, owned and operated by the Mennonite Publication Board. It was preceded 1905-1908 by the Gospel Witness Co. at Scottdale. The Board bought out this latter company and the periodicals of the Mennonite Publishing Company at Elkhart. The MPH became a relatively large agency, and was for years the major Mennonite publishing agency in the western hemisphere, the only one with a substantial list of Mennonite books and pamphlets. The Amish Publication Society, started in 1912, represented most Old Order Amish interests in a church paper, the Herold der Wahrheit, though a purely private organization. Several individuals of the Old Order Amish group, such as L. A. Miller at Arthur, Ill, and J. A. Raber at Baltic, Ohio, have for many years served as publishers for sections of the group.

The official Mennonite Brethren Publishing House was established as a conference agency in 1915 at Hillsboro, Kansas, displacing several previous private Mennonite Brethren publishers. A Canadian MB minister established the Rundschau Publishing House in 1923 at Winnipeg, MB, to serve the Canadian MB churches. This agency became the Christian Press, Ltd. in 1940, owned in part by the Canadian MB Conference and in part by private persons. The Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Publishing House was established at Chicago in 1915 as a conference agency of the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church. The Central Conference Publication Board served the Central Illinois Conference 1910-1958.

A number of private publishing agencies had been established by the 1950s, most of which have had only a limited publishing scope, and some of which continued only a short time. Chief of these was the Echo Verlag founded at Winnipeg in 1944, which has published a notable historical series on the former Mennonite settlements in Russia. Others to be noted are the Warte Verlag (A. B. Dyck) at Steinbach, Manitoba, the Prairie Press (Jacob Regehr) at North Kildonan, Manitoba, the Salem Publishing House (J. H. Klassen) at Inman, KS, Peniel Publishing House (J. W. Tschetter) at Chicago, Illinois, Bethel College Press at North Newton, Kansas, which became the Mennonite Press, jointly owned by the college and the General Conference. Sometimes the term Press means only a printing shop; sometimes it is equal to "publisher."  -- Harold S. Bender

1990 Update

Publishing is a complex enterprise and "of making many books there is no end" (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Publishing requires authors, editors, and printers as well as capital for investment and marketing of the product. Throughout their history, Mennonite and Brethren in Christ conferences have prepared printed materials for transmitting the faith to their young, interpreting the tradition for other people, and for strengthening the faith of the community of adherents.

In recent decades many new publishers have appeared on the Mennonite roster. New periodicals and the annual production of major trade books by the main Mennonite publishers in North America have more than doubled from ca. 20 per year in the 1950s to more than 40 in the mid-1980s. Mennonite publishers frequently operate their own bookstores. These too have grown in number, but equally significant is the variety of books and other materials on their shelves.

Mennonite publishing takes place in many countries, but Mennonites in Canada and the United States publish the most. The largest publishers are Mennonite Publishing House and Herald Press (MC), Scottdale, PA; Faith and Life Press (GCM), Newton, Kansas; Kindred Productions (MB), Winnipeg, Manitoba and Hillsboro, Kansas; and Evangel Press (BIC), Nappanee, Indiana. These publishers sometimes work together in common ventures. For example, Meetinghouse Publications is a functional association begun in 1972 in which the articles and news reports of inter-Mennonite activities produced by one periodical are made available to editors of other member publications. Initially only Gospel Herald and The Mennonite were involved, later Evangelical Visitor, Mennonite Reporter, The Messenger, the Christian Leader, Mennonite Brethren Herald, and The Mennonite Weekly Review joined.

A significant publication and joint effort of the Mennonite Church, General Conference Mennonite Church, Brethren in Christ, and Church of the Brethren beginning 1955 was "The Foundation Series," a Mennonite and Believers' church Sunday School curriculum which is an alternative to the International Sunday School lessons. It emphasized the Believer's church heritage from a biblical perspective for children, youth, and adults. It was superseded by the "Jubilee: God's good news" curriculum in 1994. Other major series published in recent three decades include Classics of the Radical Reformation (CRR), Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History, Believer's Church Bible Commentary, the Caring Enough series by David Augsburger, the Christian Peace Shelf, and a Mennonite Missionary Study series. 

Most of the Mennonite churches issue periodicals to keep their constituents informed. The Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, PA, published Gospel Herald (MC) weekly until 1998. Faith and Life Press published The Mennonite (GCM) biweekly until 1998. These two periodicals merged into The Mennonite published at Scottdale, PA by an Interim Publication Committee of Mennonite Church US., one of the new bodies resulting from the merger of the Mennonite Church and General Conference Mennonite Church. The Mennonite Brethren Church of Canada through Christian Press in Winnipeg, publishes The Mennonite Brethren Herald and Die Mennonitische Rundschau. The Mennonite Brethren Board of Communications publishes the Christian Leader at Hillsboro, KS for readers in the United States, biweekly. Inter-Mennonite Herald Publishing Co., Newton, KS publishes the Mennonite Weekly Review (1920). Another inter-Mennonite tabloid of news and opinion was Mennonite Reporter (1971-1997) from Mennonite Publishing Service, Inc., Waterloo, ON (biweekly). This was superseded by Canadian Mennonite also published in Waterloo on behalf of Mennonite Church Canada and the area conferences that form that body. The Brethren in Christ Board for Media Ministries publishes books and Evangelical Visitor, a monthly magazine, at Nappanee, Indiana.

Christian Light Publications (MC) at Harrisonburg, VA, has published Sunday school quarterlies, books, and grade one-to-twelve Christian Day School curriculum since 1969. Rod and Staff Publishers of Crockett, Kentucky has served Conservative Mennonites with periodicals, books, and tracts since 1958. Evangelical Mennonite Conference Board of Education and Publications (1962) of Steinbach, Manitoba publishes The Messenger (biweekly). Church of God in Christ, Mennonite (Holdeman), Moundridge, Kansas, has published Messenger of Truth (biweekly) since 1965. Mennonite Board of Missions and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Akron, Pennsylvania and Winnipeg, also publish a variety of materials. MCC issues MCC Contact (1977) and Jottings (1979), which offer information for constituent churches, and releases several quarterly newsletters. Mennonite World Conference publishes Courier (quarterly). Many district conferences, especially in North America, publish periodic newssheets or magazines to keep their local membership informed. Many other Mennonite agencies publish periodicals, most of which are listed in the Mennonite Directory under "Publications."

Amish publishers and publications have increased conspicuously in recent years. Amish Mennonite Publications (1981) of Minerva, Ohio serves the Beachy Amish Mennonites with devotional and theological books. The Beachy Amish also read the Calvary Messenger (1970). Pathway Publishing Corp. (1964), Aylmer, Ontario, provides religious and educational books and periodicals for Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites. The Sugarcreek Budget (Schlabach Printers, Sugarcreek, Ohio) serves the Amish and others all over America. Amish Brotherhood Publishers (1984) of Millersburg, Ohio, publishes doctrinal books and tracts of practical Biblicism. Pequea Publishers (1970) of Gordonville, Pennsylvania, produces devotional books and Amish genealogies.

The golden chain is published by the Old Order River Brethren at Colombia, Pennsylvania. The Hutterian Brethren publish many religious and family educational books in both German and English through the Plough Publishing House, Rifton, New York, and East Sussex, England.

Several privately owned printing companies such as D. W. Friesen and Sons, Ltd. of Altona, Manitoba; Hyperion Press Ltd., Winnipeg, Manitoba; or individual publishers such as Good Books of Intercourse, Pennsylvania, or Sand Hill Books, Inc., St. Jacobs, Ontario, have published religious or regional and ethnic interest books and papers. Two privately-owned "short-run" academic publishers that began operations in the 1990s were Pandora Press (1995), Kitchener, Ontario and Pandora Press U.S. (1997), Telford, Pennsylvania. Small Mennonite-related publishers of family history materials and fiction include Masthof Press (Morgantown, Pennsylvania), WillowSpring Downs (Hillsboro, Kansas, USA), Wordsworth (Newton, Kansas, USA) and Reader's Press (Hillsboro, Kansas, USA).  A growing proportion of Mennonite historical genealogical and cultural writings are privately printed and distributed by the writers themselves.

The Mennonite colleges also publish alumni bulletins, newsletters, yearbooks, and literary or historical research journals. Some have their own presses (Canadian Mennonite Bible College -- CMBC Publications; Goshen College -- Pinchpenny Press; Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries in conjunction with the Council of Mennonite Seminaries -- Institute of Mennonite Studies). Mennonite historical societies in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Fresno, California; Waterloo, Ontario; Steinbach, Manitoba, and elsewhere all publish researched information about the Mennonite past.

In Africa many of the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ conferences publish a yearbook or directory. Some have an official publication such as a newsletter or calendar but we are unaware of any publishing houses. Tanzania formerly had a publishing agency but it was not active in 1987. Mennonite groups in France, Germany, Switzerland, and The Netherlands also publish yearbooks and directories and official periodicals but have no official publishing houses. Historical societies, such as Mennonitischer Geschichtsverein or Doopsgezinde Historische Kring, publish occasional books of church history and regular historical journals. Since 1969 Mennonitische Heimatmission (Mennonite Home Mission) in West Germany through Proclama publishes a bimonthly bulletin as well as books for the protection of the environment. The Proclama book ministry (1976) as part of the Mennonite Home Mission and the Memra Publishing House, Neuwied, a private initiative with partnership in Proclama, separated from Home Mission in 1985. Agape Verlag in West Germany publishes items on Anabaptist-Mennonite theology and experience (church-state relations). A summary of European publishers is found annually in Mennonitisches Jahrbuch. Since 1986, Brucke (Bridge), a combined official periodical of the two main German Mennonite groups, continues the work of Gemeinde Unterwegs (Church Underway) and Mennonitische Blätter (Mennonite Pages).

In India the Mennonite Brethren Church issues an official paper. The Gereja Injili di Tanah Jawa (Evangelical Church of Java) publishes a yearbook and the Persatuan Gereja-Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia (Indonesian United Muria Christian Church Conference) produces an official paper as well. In Japan official publications are issued by the Nihon Menonaito Kirisuto Kyokai Kaigi (Japan Mennonite Christian Church Conference), Nihon Menonaito Burezaren Kyadan (Japan Mennonite Brethren Conference), and Tokyo Chiku Menonaito Kyokai Rengo (Tokyo Area Fellowship of Mennonite Churches). The Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan produces both an annual conference report and a monthly publication. The Australian Conference of Evangelical Mennonites -- Church of Hope officially publishes De Mennist.

The Iglesis Evangélica Menonita, Argentina (Argentine Mennonite Church), publishes Perspectiva, the Belize Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference publishes Recorder, and Belize's Caribbean Light and Truth issues a newsletter. The Kleine Gemeinde in Belize publishes both Der Leserfreund and a yearbook. The Associação das Igrejas Irmãos Menonitas do Brasil (Association of the Mennonite Brethren Churches of Brazil) produces a paper and a yearbook. The Associação das Igrejas Menonitas do Brasil (Association of Mennonite Churches in Brazil) publishes Bibel und Pflug. The Associação Evangélica Menonita (Evangelical Mennonite Association) and the Convenção Brasileira das Igrejas Irmãos Menonitas (Brazilian Conference of the MB Church) both have official publications. So does the Telesis Evangélica Menonita de Colombia (Colombian Mennonite Church) and the Conferencia de las Iglesias Evangélicas Menonitas, Dominican Republic (Evangelical Mennonite Church). In Guatemala three Mennonite groups publish official papers. One of the Mennonite churches in Honduras produces a yearbook. The Jamaican Mennonite Church publishes The Quest. The Old Colony Mennonites of Mexico read Die Mennonitische Post, published in Steinbach, Man., by a committee of MCC (Canada), and the Iglesia Evangélica Menonita de la Mesa Central de Mexico (Evangelical Mennonite Church of the Central Plateau of Mexico) publishes Gaceta Menonita. The Fraternidad de las Iglesias Evangélicas Menonitas de Nicaragua (Fraternity of Evangelical Mennonite Churches of Nicaragua) publishes El Mensajero. Paraguay's Convención Evangélica de los Hermanos Menonitas (Evangelical Convention of Mennonite Brethren) publishes La Voz del Rebano, and Konferenz der Evangelischen Mennonitischen Brudershaft von Südamerika (Evangelical Mennonite Brethren Conference of South America) publishes Informationsblatt The Konferenz der Mennonitischen Brüdergemeinden von Paraguay (Conference of MB churches) issues Konferenzblatt. Puerto Rico's Convención de las Iglesias Evangélicas Menonitas (Mennonite Conventions) publishes both a paper and a yearbook. In Uruguay both the Consejo del less Congregaciónes de los Hermanos Menonitas (Council of MB Congregations) and the Konferenz der Mennonitengemeinden in Uruguay (Conference of Mennonites) publish newspapers as does Venezuela's Concilio de las Iglesias Evangélicas Menonitas (Council of Mennonite Churches).

The Mennonite Board of Missions (MC), with Arnoldo J. Cases as editor, has translated and published a Mennonite Faith series of books by J. C. Wenger, Myron S. Augsburger and others for use by Hispanic Mennonites. A Sunday school curriculum in Spanish for both adults and children is now available. A. Rafael Falcon also wrote Iglesia Menonita Hispaña en Norte America (the Hispanic Mennonite Church in North America, Scottdale, 1985, 1986) for both Spanish- and English-speaking audiences. SEMILLA is a publication arm of the Seminario Ministerial de Liderazgo Anabautista, a theological education by extension program, which is a joint effort of Central American Mennonites, Mennonite Brethren, and Brethren in Christ. It also produces and distributes biblical literature with an Anabaptist perspective in Latin America. The MCC Latin American Peace Portfolio and Mennonites in Honduras initiated Esperanza en Camino, a grass-roots journal which publishes reflective articles by Latin Americans on current issues. The Currícula Anabautista de Educación Biblica Congregaciónal (Anabaptist Sunday school curriculum in Spanish) is an emerging cooperative Anabaptist entity hoping to develop publications for the Latin American continent and Hispanics in North America.

Some publication companies (e.g., EMB Publications, Omaha, NE, or Choice Books of Mennonite Board of Missions Media Ministries in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA) are simply suppliers of printed matter but do not actually publish anything. Many Mennonite writers are published by non-Mennonite publishers such as Augsburg, Abingdon, Crown, B. De Graaf, Editions "Le Phare," Eerdmans, Martinus Nijhoff, McClellan and Stewart, Ltd., MacMillan, Methopress, Word, Westminster. Mennonite writers also appear in non-Mennonite religious journals, e.g., Christian Century, Christianity Today, Christianity and Crisis, Sojourners, and secular journals. Because of the diversity of modern publishing, it is almost impossible to include all publishers because they appear and disappear with some regularity. Publications of Mennonite groups, especially the newer churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, vary widely in degree of "official" status and in regularity of publication. Specific titles of periodical publications of the various conferences can be found in the Mennonite World Handbook (1978, 1984) published by the Mennonite World Conference. -- Alice Lapp


Mennonite Directory Scottdale, PA ; Waterloo, ON : Herald Press, 1999-2001.

Additional Information

Canadian Mennonite

Cascadia Publishing House

Christian Light Publications (Unofficial)

Kindred Productions

Masthof Press

Mennonite Brethren Herald

Mennonite Publishing House

Mennonite Weekly Review

Pandora Press

Rod and Staff (Unofficial)

WillowSpring Downs

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Harold S. Bender
Alice Lapp
Date Published 1990

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der, Harold S. Bender and Alice Lapp. "Publishing." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 23 Mar 2019.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der, Harold S. Bender and Alice Lapp. (1990). Publishing. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 March 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 228-230, 1147; vol. 5, pp. 734-737. All rights reserved.

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