Written by Joel Alderfer on January 20, 2023
For decades, we’ve known about some of the unusual photography of the late William L. Histand (1911-1994) of Doylestown, PA. In fact, over the years we’ve used several of his classic images of local Mennonite life from the 1930s and 1940s in various exhibits. I became acquainted with Bill in his later years when he visited at the Mennonite Heritage Center in the early 1990s and donated just a sampling of his photos to us. In the years since Bill
Written by Joel Alderfer on August 10, 2022
By Joel D. Alderfer
About five years ago, a collection of 35mm color slides, 2.5×2.5 inch color transparencies, and 8mm home movies taken by the late Peter Macinskas (1922-1969) of Vernfield, Pennsylvania, was donated to the Mennonite Heritage Center. For the last several years, we did not have a scanner that could process slides, transparencies, or negatives. That changed a couple months ago when we were able to purchase, thanks to a grant from Blooming Glen Mennonite Church, an Epson V850
Written by admin on June 7, 2022
Disarmed: The Radical Life and Legacy of Michael “MJ” Sharp. By Marshall V. King. Harrisonburg, Virginia: Herald Press. 2022. $17.99.
The first words we read in Chapter One of Marshall King’s tribute to MJ Sharp are disarming: “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe” (16). We are introduced to MJ’s peace-making story with the disarming words of World War II
Written by Joel Horst Nofziger on March 1, 2022
Nelson, Dawn Ruth and Beverly Benner Miller, How to Change the World One Penny at a Time: The story of Claude Good and the Worm Project, Morgantown, Pa.: Masthof Press, 2021. 203 pp. Grayscale photos. $14.
Reflecting on an experience of divine leading, Claude Good remembered, “It now dawned on me that the word ‘speak’ is not confined to just ‘words.’ We can also ‘speak’ through our action” (135). How to Change The World One Penny at a Time is a
Written by Joel Alderfer on January 19, 2022
In early 2020, Nan Weber Burch of Skippack, PA donated a significant group of related fraktur that had descended from her maternal grandmother’s ancestry in the Lower Salford-Skippack area. These include pieces from the Bergey, Tyson, Johnson, and Kulp families.
The oldest piece is a notenbuchlein, or manuscript hymn booklet, with fraktur-style bookplate, dated May 2, 1798, and made by Schoolmaster Andreas Kolb for student Elizabeth Bergey of Lower Salford Township. She was the daughter of Christian & Mary Bergey and
Written by Joel Alderfer on August 17, 2021
Over the last two years, grandchildren of William A. Derstine (1888-1961), of near Sellersville, PA, and a member of the Rockhill Mennonite congregation, have donated a small but interesting collection of his correspondence and photographs.
Derstine was an entrepreneur who owned several automotive garages, as well as a farm; became a lay leader in the Rockhill congregation, the Franconia Mennonite Conference, and in wider Mennonite Church concerns; and was active in civic organizations in the Sellersville-Telford area. Perhaps his most important
Written by Forrest Moyer on July 27, 2021
This essay by Paul Lederach was published in the MHEP Quarterly in 2001. He recalls an event that had far-reaching effects on the practice of local Mennonites in regard to evangelism, salvation, confession/forgiveness, and corporate/individual faith.
When I travel west from Souderton to Harleysville on Pennsylvania Route 113 and stop at the traffic light at Godshall Road – a CVS on the northwest corner and many houses on the northeast corner – I can scarcely remember when the northeast corner was
Written by Forrest Moyer on June 24, 2021
Recently Mary Jane and Hiram Hershey donated several old deeds, including one for the farm where her grandfather Abraham Mensch grew up, in Skippack Township. The address today is 4030 Mensch Rd, Schwenksville, just outside Skippack village.
The deed is from 1803, many years before the Mensch family owned the property. Abraham Markley (1723-1800) purchased this farm of 100 acres in 1751. After he died with no will in 1800, his heirs sold the farm to brother-in-law Mathias Tyson. Each sibling
Written by Forrest Moyer on May 19, 2021
This article was written by Jill Davidson, edited by Joel Alderfer, and originally published in the MHEP Quarterly (Spring 1999). Thanks to Jill, a longtime member and supporter of MHEP, for allowing us to republish. Images are courtesy of Archives of the Bible Fellowship Church.
When John H. Oberholtzer and other progressive Mennonites left the Franconia Conference in 1847 and formed the East Pennsylvania Mennonite Conference, or “New Mennonites,” not all were satisfied.
In 1858, Preacher William Gehman of the Upper
Written by Forrest Moyer on April 19, 2021
Recently, Univest Bank and Trust Co. donated an old wooden box of papers labeled “S. G. Schwenk, Schwenksville, Pa.” Presumably, it was found in the Schwenksville bank building when Union National Bank took ownership in 1962.
Inside the box were papers of the Schwenk family (for whom the borough was named) — Jacob Schwenk (1789-1852) who operated the store and post office there, his father Abraham Schwenk (1759-1843) of Skippack & Perkiomen Township, and Jacob’s sons, Abraham G. Schwenk (1826-1899)