Scott, Stephen Edward (1948-2011)

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Stephen Edward Scott: researcher and authority on conservative and Old Order Amish and Mennonites, was born 12 April 1948 in Portsmouth, Ohio, USA to Elvis Edward “Duffy” Scott and Roxie Darlene Patrick Scott. He had one brother, Phil. In 1973 Stephen married Harriet Sauder; they had one son and two daughters. Stephen Scott died suddenly of a heart attack on 28 December 2011. He is buried at the Silver Spring Cemetery, West Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Steve Scott grew up in Beavercreek, Ohio, and attended Cedarville College and Wright State University, both located in Ohio. As a young adult his religious convictions led him to become a pacifist, and he did alternative service at Lancaster Mennonite School starting in 1969. While living in Lancaster County, Scott joined the Old Order River Brethren and met and married his wife of 38 years.

Early in life, Steve Scott embraced the study of various cultures, especially Native American peoples. He also had a keen interest in history. These early interests led to his lifelong study and interpretation of Plain churches. Scott conducted wide-ranging, detailed research on distinctive traits of Plain groups, including dress, modes of transportation, family life, schooling, music, and rituals. He developed close personal friendships with members of many of these groups all across North America.

After working for Good Enterprises in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, for 12 years, Scott was hired at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County in early 1997. He worked there until his death. He was instrumental in broadening and deepening the Young Center's research on Anabaptist and Pietist churches, especially Plain groups.

Scott's published books include Plain Buggies (1981), Why Do They Dress That way? (1986), The Amish Wedding and Other Special Occasions of the Old Order Communities (1988), Living Without Electricity (1990), Amish Houses and Barns (1992), and An Introduction to Old Order and Conservative Mennonite Groups (1996), as well as numerous entries in reference books and articles in periodicals.

Scott contributed significantly to books by Donald B. Kraybill, including the Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites and Mennonites (2010) and the book, The Amish, co-authored by Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner and Steven M. Nolt. Stephen's ability to track and retain minute details built a renowned reputation for the Young Center's annual update on the Amish population in North America. He was an invaluable guide to researchers from around the world. Scott was a popular speaker in many venues and was invited to Japan in 2010 to give presentations about the Amish.

Steve Scott was active in several professional groups. He served on the executive board of the Brethren in Christ Historical Society. He participated in the Eastern Mennonite Archives and Library Association and in advisory work for the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO).

Steve Scott's deep faith and care for people revealed his gift for humor and his humble attitude in relating to others. His depth and breadth of knowledge were sometimes underestimated because of this personal humility. He will be remembered both for his contributions to scholarship and his expansive circle of friendships.


Bach, Jeff. "In Memoriam: Stephen Scott (1948-2011)." Mennonite Quarterly Review 86 (April 2012): 147-148. This GAMEO article is derived, with permission, from the MQR memorial article.

"Stephen E. Scott." Public Opinion Online. Web 31 May 2016.

Books by Stephen Scott

Scott, Stephen. The Plain churches of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and related groups: Mennonite--Amish--Brethren--River Brethren. Pennsylvania : S. Scott, 1975. [Map]

Scott, Stephen. Plain buggies : Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren horse-drawn transportation. Lancaster, Pa. : Good Books, 1981. A revised edition was issued in 1998.

Scott, Stephen and Kenneth Pellman. Living without electricity. Intercourse, Pa. : Good Books, 1990. New editions were issued in 1999 and 2016.

Scott, Stephen. Why do they dress that way? Intercourse, Pa. : Good Books, 1986. A revised edition was issued in 1997.

Scott, Stephen. The Amish wedding and other special occasions of the Old Order communities. Intercourse, Pa. : Good Books, 1988.

Scott, Stephen. Amish houses & barns. Intercourse, Pa. : Good Books, 1992. A revised edition was issued in 2001.

Scott, Stephen. An introduction to Old Order and Conservative Mennonite groups. Intercourse, Pa. : Good Books, 1996.

Author(s) Jeff Bach
Date Published May 2016

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bach, Jeff. "Scott, Stephen Edward (1948-2011)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2016. Web. 23 Jun 2021.,_Stephen_Edward_(1948-2011)&oldid=135170.

APA style

Bach, Jeff. (May 2016). Scott, Stephen Edward (1948-2011). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 June 2021, from,_Stephen_Edward_(1948-2011)&oldid=135170.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, HERALD_PRESS. All rights reserved.

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