New acquisition: Elizabeth Ruth show towel

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 1, 2018

A beautiful show towel was donated to the MHC last year, bearing the name Elizabeth Ruth and date 1836. Towels like this were made for display, not use, by young women in preparation for decorating their homes after marriage. At the bottom of this towel is a fine drawn-work panel featuring peacocks (or geese), hearts and a pot of flowers.

Gift of Beulah Hendricks Rittenhouse (2017.44.1)

The maker of the towel, Elizabeth Ruth (1819-1888), had an unusual story. She

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Excerpts from “Powwowing: Folk Medicine or White Magic?”

Written by Forrest Moyer on May 16, 2018

In February 1979, the MHEP Newsletter published notes from a talk by Mennonite pastor Gerald Studer on the topic of “powwowing”—In German, Braucherei—a combination of faith healing and folk medicine. This ancient practice brought by Pennsylvania Germans from Europe has been preserved in pockets of the American countryside to the present day. Opinions have varied in the Pa. German community about the effectiveness and propriety of powwowing. Individuals from all religious groups—Lutheran, Reformed, Mennonite, Brethren, Evangelical, etc.—made use of powwow

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New acquisition: Geyer-Ziegler family Bible

Written by Joel Alderfer on April 19, 2018

Recently, a German Bible published in 1693 in Frankfurt was donated to the Mennonite Heritage Center by Henry A. Ziegler of near Bally, PA. An inscription on the second page indicates the Bible was purchased by Johann Wilhelm Geyer in 1752 in Frankfurt, Germany, and was brought by him to Pennsylvania that year. He wrote: “1752 den 24 May hab ich Wilhelm Geyer diese Bibel gekaufft im Franckfort am Mayn” [1752, the 24th of May, I, Wilhelm Geyer have purchased

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Autobiographical notes: J. C. Clemens

Written by Forrest Moyer on April 5, 2018

Jacob Cassel Clemens (1874-1965) was pastor of Plains Mennonite Church and a well-known evangelist in Mennonite circles. In 1979, the MHEP Newsletter published his autobiographical notes written in 1954. The manuscript is in his papers archived at the MHC (Hist. Mss. 3).

Clemens’ reflections on the first half of the 20th century, as he experienced it, are illuminating. They remind us how much has changed in the last century, but also that many of our ancestors’ experiences are similar to ours—love

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Rosenberger

Written by Forrest Moyer on September 15, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

Henry the immigrant

The Mennonite Rosenberger family is descended from Henry Rosenberger who came to Pennsylvania with wife (name unknown) and sons Daniel and Benjamin in 1717. He settled, probably the following year, on

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A New Chapter of the Pennsylvania Mennonite Story

Written by Steve Diehl on September 5, 2017

For three years, Beny Krisbianto faced the fierce opposition of close-knit, deeply entrenched neighbors, difficulties with four contractors, and the intransigence of City Hall.  One contractor told him to stop trying to build his church for recently arrived Indonesians in South Philly.  Now people ask him in amazement, “How is it that you have a relationship with the mayor?”  Mayor Kenney recently visited, and the city council held a meeting in the new church.  Neighbors who once opposed him invited

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Allebach

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 21, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

A large pioneer family

Christian Allebach, a weaver, had three stepchildren when he and wife Margaret immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1719. The family came from Dühren, Germany, near Sinsheim in the Kraichgau, and likely

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Clemens

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 8, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

The old Clemens family of Lower Salford

Immigrant Gerhart (or Garret) Clemens (b. 1680) was among the first settlers of Lower Salford Township. A vinedresser and weaver from Nieder Flörsheim, Germany (just up the

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Cassel

Written by Forrest Moyer on May 10, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

Viewing comets in Kriegsheim

Hupert Cassel, an immigrant bachelor who came to Pennsylvania in 1717, and his brothers Yellis and John, who came ten years later, were from a pious Mennonite family of Kriegsheim,

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J. C. Wenger’s memories of writing Franconia Mennonite history

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 8, 2017

In 1976, MHEP Newsletter editor Joyce Munro interviewed John C. Wenger about his memories of writing the book History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference in 1936. It’s fascinating to read about the process of creating this substantial book that is still in 2017 the best source for information on some aspects of Franconia Mennonite history, including ministers who have served in the conference. The book is available for purchase at the Mennonite Heritage Center.

We’re forty years too late

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