Voth, Henry R. (1855-1931)

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H. R. and Barbara (Baer) Voth, 1884.
Source: Mennonite Life (June 2006)

Henry R. Voth, a Mennonite (General Conference Mennonite) minister, missionary, anthropologist, and home mis­sion worker, was born 15 April 1855 in South Russia. He came to America in 1874 and after teaching school the first winter entered the Wadsworth School in Ohio in preparation for mis­sion work. He later attended the theological semi­nary of the Evangelical Synod of North America at Marthasville, Missouri. After a short medical course in St. Louis he was sent to Darlington, Indian Territory, to work among the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. His wife, Barbara Baer, whom he married in 1884, died there in 1889. In 1892 he was sent to Arizona, to open a new mission field among the Hopi Indians. His second wife, Martha Moser of Dalton, Ohio, died in Arizona in 1901.

During his nine years in Arizona, Voth developed an intimate acquaintance with the Hopi Indians, collecting much original material relative to Indian religious life and folklore that was later displayed in the Field Museum, Chicago. He collaborated with George A. Dorsey in certain studies of the Hopis. He also wrote a number of original monographs published in the Anthropological Series of the Field Columbian Museum. Ed. G. Kaufman lists the following publications written by Voth and pub­lished in this series:

  1. Brief Miscellaneous Hopi Papers, 1912, vol. XI, No. 2;
  2. Hopi Proper Names, 1905, vol. VI, No. 3;
  3. The Oraibi Marau Ceremony, 1912, vol. XI, No. 1;
  4. Oraibi Natal Customs and Ceremonies, 1905, vol. VI, No. 2;
  5. The Oraibi Oaquoel Ceremony, 1903, vol. VI, No. 1;
  6. The Oraibi Powamu Ceremony, 1901, vol. III, No. 2;
  7. The Oraibi Summer Snake Cere­mony, 1903, vol. III, No. 4;
  8. The Traditions of the Hopi, 1915, vol. VIII;
  9. H. R. Voth joint author with G. A. Dorsey, The Mishongnovi Cere­monies of Snake and Antelope Fraternities, 1901, vol. III, No. 3;
  10. Voth & Dorsey, The Oraibi Soyal Ceremony, 1901, vol. III, No. 1.

On leaving Arizona Voth served as home mission worker in the Western District Conference, giving much of his time to new congregations in Okla­homa. In 1906 he married Katie Herschler of Perry, Oklahoma. In 1914-1927 he served the congregations of Goltry and Gotebo, Oklahoma. In 1927 he retired to Newton, where he died 2 June 1931. Voth was president of the Mennonite Historical Association 1914-1930. His interest in collecting historical items and in studying Indian language and folklore is reflected in the extensive H. R. Voth Collection in the Bethel College Historical Library. This collection contains his manuscript studies in the Arapaho language, and studies in Hopi cere­monial rites and folklore, in addition to a Hopi dic­tionary.


Kaufman, Ed. G. The Development of the Missionary and Philanthropic Interest Among the Mennonites of North America. Berne, 1931.

The Mennonite (June 25, 1931).

Thiesen, Barbara. "Every Beginning Is Hard: Darlington Mennonite Mission, 1880-1902." Mennonite Life 61, No. 2 (June 2006). http://www.bethelks.edu/mennonitelife/2006June/thiesen.php (accessed 28 November 2008).

Author(s) John F Schmidt
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Schmidt, John F. "Voth, Henry R. (1855-1931)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 Apr 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Voth,_Henry_R._(1855-1931)&oldid=143374.

APA style

Schmidt, John F. (1959). Voth, Henry R. (1855-1931). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 April 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Voth,_Henry_R._(1855-1931)&oldid=143374.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 858-859. All rights reserved.

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