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 scanner. This scanner can handle various sizes of negatives and transparencies, and I was finally able to scan a nice selection of images from the Macinskas collection.
A group of Macinskas’ slides and transparencies help document an interesting period of transition – the late 1940s through 1950s – in the Indian Creek Church of the Brethren, Vernfield, where he attended. The changes happening in that congregation during this time reflected the significant cultural changes occurring in the wider Church of the Brethren in Pennsylvania in the early-to-mid twentieth century.
Peter Paul Macinskas, Jr., was born in Philadelphia, 1922, the son of Peter P. Macinskas Sr. (1893-1972) and Mary Survell of Philadelphia, immigrants from Lithuania in 1914. By 1935, the Macinskas family moved to a small farm along Sumneytown Pike in Upper Salford Township, Montgomery County. The family attended St. Stanilaus Catholic Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Peter Jr. attended Souderton High School and graduated in 1941. Here he likely met Sara C. Price, daughter of Jacob A. and Amanda Cassel Price, members of the Indian Creek Church of the Brethren, where Jacob was a deacon.
Peter served in the 20th Combat Squadron of the Army in Okinawa during World War II, from November 1942 to the end of 1945. He married Sara C. Price (1920-2021) in May 1948 at Indian Creek Church of the Brethren. At the time of the 1950 census, they lived with Sara’s parents, along the Old Sumneytown Pike just below Vernfield. They had one child, Dean, born in 1951.
Sara graduated from Souderton High School and Elizabethtown College (Pennsylvania) and was a teacher at the Salford Hills Elementary School for many years. Peter worked as a photo engraver at the former U. S. Gauge plant in Sellersville, Pennsylvania.
I’ve selected thirty images from Macinskas’ slides, transparencies and prints to create a photo story of transition in the Indian Creek Church of the Brethren in the mid-twentieth century.
New construction on the old meetinghouse is progressing – 1953