Manuscript & Photo Collections

Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville

Ministers & Church Workers
Historians & Genealogists
Artists & Tradespeople
Personal & Family Papers
Photo Collections

The Mennonite Heritage Center houses a growing body of manuscript collections from local Mennonite and Brethren individuals and families.  There are over 550 manuscript collections at the MHC, ranging in size from one folder to many boxes.  Below is a list of significant collections.

Highlighted names link to finding aids.

For research in museum and archival collections, please schedule an appointment with collections manager Joel Alderfer (phone: 215-256-3020, ext.111).


Ministers & Church Workers

Bean, Warren G. (1866-1949) – Hist. Mss. 69
–bishop, Upper Skippack congregation; moderator of Franconia Conference, 1937-1947

Clemens, Jacob C. (1874-1965) – Hist. Mss. 3
–minister and evangelist, Plains congregation; first secretary of Franconia Conference, 1909-1949

Detweiler, Richard C. (1924-1991) – Hist. Mss. 259
–bishop, Perkasie and Souderton congregations; moderator of Franconia Conference, 1969-1975; president of Eastern Mennonite College, 1981-1987; see also photo inventory

Fly, Harold and Mary Landis – Hist. Mss. 59
–minister, Towamencin congregation; Northern Light Gospel Missions

Fretz, Allen M. (1853-1943) – Hist. Mss. 414
–bishop, Deep Run West and Zion congregations; ministry throughout the Eastern District Conference

Groff, Llewellyn (1906-1986) – Hist. Mss. 77
–mission worker (exploration of Mexico missions, 1956)

Gross, Jacob (1743-1810) – Hist. Mss. 151 and HM 387
–bishop, Deep Run congregation (farewell letter to congregations; correspondence with minister Peter Weber in Germany)

Gross, Jacob K. (1780-1865) – Hist. Mss. 6
–bishop, Ontario, Canada (correspondence)

Grubb, Nathaniel B. (1850-1938) – Hist. Mss. 84
–bishop, First Mennonite Church of Philadelphia

Hunsicker, Abraham letters to John H. Oberholtzer, 1845-1851 – Hist. Mss. 360
–founders of Eastern District Conference (26 letters–photocopies)

Kolb, Elmer G. (1905-2004) – Hist. Mss. 30
–bishop, Pottstown congregation; secretary of Franconia Conference, 1961-1971; see also audio inventory

Kratz, Clayton H. (1896-1920) – Hist. Mss. 317 (collected material)
–MCC relief worker lost in Russia, 1920

Lapp, John E. (1905-1988) – Hist. Mss. 1
–bishop, Plains congregation; moderator of Franconia Conference, 1953-1969; Mennonite General Conference (committees, esp. peace); see also photo inventory and audio inventory

Lederach, Paul M. (1925-2014) – Hist. Mss. 435
–bishop, Franconia and Allegheny Conferences; Mennonite Publishing House (curriculum department); president of Mennonite Board of Education, 1966-1971

Lederach, Willis K. and Mary Mensch – Hist. Mss. 530
–mission workers, Norristown Mennonite Mission, 1920s

Mensch, Jacob B. (1835-1912) – Hist. Mss. 8
–minister, Upper Skippack congregation; church records, 1870s-1910; unofficial minutes of Franconia Conference, 1880-1907 (significant correspondence–1,600 letters, 1860-1911)

Mininger, Hettie Kulp (1874-1965) – Hist. Mss. 305 (photocopies)
–urban mission worker (biographical article)

Moyer, Jacob M. (1891-1967) – Hist. Mss. 27
–bishop, Souderton congregation; secretary of Franconia Conference, 1949-1961

Moyer, Mark E. (1920-2013) – Hist. Mss. 7
–Civilian Public Service (correspondence)

Nice, Garret S. and Jane Delp – Hist. Mss. 31
–treasurer of Franconia Mennonite Mission Board, 1917-1944

Rosenberger, Arthur S. (1898-1968) – Hist. Mss. 33
–minister in the Eastern District Conference and at Dalton, Ohio; educator; president of Bluffton College, 1935-1938

Ruth, Arthur D. (1892-1986) – Hist. Mss. 103
–bishop, Line Lexington congregation; moderator of Franconia Conference, 1947-1953

Ruth, Ella L. (1910-2010) – Hist. Mss. 440
–secretary, Brunk Brothers Revival Campaign, 1950s

Ruth, Joseph G. (1857-1928) – Hist. Mss. 205
–bishop, Line Lexington congregation

Ruth, Winfield M. (1909-2003) – Hist. Mss. 443
–bishop, Swamp congregation

Seitz, Kenneth L. (1916-2008) – Hist. Mss. 484
–missionary to Mexico

Shelly, Andrew B. (1834-1913) – Hist. Mss. 275
–minister in Eastern District Conference; president of General Conference, 1874-1896 (correspondence)

Shisler, Claude M. (1907-2000) – Hist. Mss. 423
–minister, Finland congregation; manager of Herald/Provident Bookstore, Souderton

Shisler, Sara C. (1896-1968) – Hist. Mss. 214 (also HM 436)
–Brethren missionary to Nigeria, 1926-1961


Historians & Genealogists

Bower, Mary L. (1876-1961) – Hist. Mss. 94
–genealogist, Latshaw-Bower-Borneman families, Boyertown area, Berks Co.

Bucher, Robert C. (1911-2008) – Hist. Mss. 79
–local historian (focus on Lower Salford Twp., Montgomery Co.)

Butterweck, Russel S. (1892-1976) – Hist. Mss. 225
–genealogist, Butterweck-Bergey-Smith-Keeler-Nyce families, Montgomery Co.

Clemmer, Abram L. (1894-1971) – Hist. Mss. 133
–genealogist, Clemmer-Lapp families, Montgomery Co.

Delp, Priscilla L. (1910-1988) – Hist. Mss. 233
–local Mennonite historian and genealogist; writer

Fretz, J. Herbert (1921-2013) — Hist. Mss. 414
–historian (focus on Eastern District Conference)

Fretz, Jacob Y. (1908-1987) – Hist. Mss. 36
–historian (focus on Bucks County Mennonites)

Halteman, Milton L. (1869-1955) – Hist. Mss. 163
–genealogist, Halteman-Haldeman family, Montgomery Co. and Chester Co.

Hershey, Mary Jane Lederach Hershey (1930-    ) – Hist. Mss. 407
–fraktur research collection

Hunsicker, Abraham C. (1909-1991) – Hist. Mss. 248
–genealogist, Hunsicker-Cassel-Kulp-Allebach families, Montgomery Co.

Kulp, Isaac Clarence (1938-2007) – Hist. Mss. 436
–historian and antiquarian
personal papers and project files
historical collection (incl. A. H. Bergey, Cassel-Shisler, and J. S. Renninger papers)
Brethren collection (incl. Indian Creek COB records and ministerial papers)
photo collection (incl. Jonas Nyce prints and negatives and Rebecca Foutz photo collection)
–audiovisual collection (search online catalog)

Landes, Henry S. (1871-1950) – Hist. Mss. 143
–genealogist, Landes-Landis family, Montgomery Co. (photocopies)

Landis, B. Harrison (1905-1984) – Hist. Mss. 76
–genealogist, Landis-Detweiler-Gehman-Hockman families, Bucks Co.

Lederach, Paul E. (1930-2001) – Hist. Mss. 517
–genealogist, Lederach family, Montgomery Co.; architect

Pennypacker, Samuel W. (1843-1916) – Hist. Mss. 13
–historian; author; antiquarian; governor of Pennsylvania, 1903-1907

Reinford, Wilmer L. (1916-2007) – Hist. Mss. 469
–historian and genealogist, Skippack area families, Montgomery Co.

Rice, Timothy P. (1958-    ) — Hist. Mss. 358
–church historian (Deep Run Mennonite Church East)

Rosenberger, Marvin C. (1920-1993) – Hist. Mss. 303
–genealogist, Shelly-Rosenberger-Ruth families, Bucks Co.

Studer, Gerald C. (1927-2013) – Hist. Mss. 328
–historian and author (focus on Christopher Dock; powwowing); minister

Ulle, Robert F. (1948-1986) – Hist. Mss. 247
–historian (focus on Germantown Mennonites; African-American history; social justice)


Artists & Tradespeople

Anglemeier, Adam – Hist. Mss. 242
–tailor (account book, ca. 1800), Lower Saucon, Northampton Co.

Bucher, Charles S. – Hist. Mss. 540
–cattle dealer, Harleysville, Montgomery Co.

Histand, William L. (1911-1994) – Hist. Mss. 23
–photographer, Doylestown, Bucks Co.

Hunsberger, Martin T. (1804-1872) – Hist. Mss. 325 (photocopies)
–musician, North Coventry, Chester Co.

Johnson, Henry M. (1874-1960) – Hist. Mss. 359
–schoolteacher (public school, 1897-1943), Skippack, Montgomery Co.

Johnson, Oscar M. (1900-1950) – Hist. Mss. 252
–schoolteacher (public school, 1916-1949), Skippack, Salford and Limerick, Montgomery Co.

Kulp, David C. (1777-1834) – Hist. Mss. 135
–schoolteacher, Bedminster, Bucks Co.

Nyce, Jonas H. (1884-1948) – Hist. Mss. 3-93 (also HM 436)
–photographer, Vernfield, Montgomery Co.

Nyce, William G. (1888-1958) – Hist. Mss. 382
–entrepreneur, Vernfield, Montgomery Co.

Overholt, Joseph G. (1832-1905) – Hist. Mss. 12 (also HM 429 and HM 436)
–carpenter, Bedminster, Bucks Co.

Rush, Walter D. (1899-1975) – Hist. Mss. 4
–photographer and entrepreneur, Plumsteadville, Bucks Co.

Ruth, Vincent M. (1885-1960) – Hist. Mss. 232
–veterinarian, Franconia, Montgomery Co.


Personal & Family Papers

Althouse, Wilmer B. (1901-1994) – Hist. Mss. 153
–deeds from his Doylestown, Bucks Co. farm, 1734-1868

Bergey, Henry R. (1843-1925) – Hist. Mss. 142
–thoughts, poems, memories, records, 1919-1925 (photocopies)

Bergey, Salome K. (b. ca.1849) – Hist. Mss. 90
–80 letters, 1866-1878, Doylestown, Bucks Co.

Bishop, Irene L. (1922-1998) – Hist. Mss. 276
–papers from Derstine-Loux-Bishop families, Hilltown, Bucks Co., 1840s-1920s

Cassel, Mary H. (1828-1916) – Hist. Mss. 267
–diary 1858-1863, Lower Salford, Montgomery Co.

Clemens family, Lower Salford, Montgomery Co. – Hist. Mss. 257
–family account book, 1749-1857

Clemens, Elizabeth Cassel (1850-1920) – Hist. Mss. 44
–diary 1901-1913, Mainland, Montgomery Co. (photocopies)

Delp, Ernest M. and Helen Ritter – Hist. Mss. 379
–papers and photos from Delp-Ritter families, Harleysville, late 19th-early 20th cent.

Derstine, Magdalene Moyer (1877-1916) – Hist. Mss. 366
–110 letters, 1897-1903, Blooming Glen-Rockhill area, Bucks Co.

Detweiler family, Rockhill, Bucks Co. – Hist. Mss. 37
–deeds and estate papers, 1730s-1870s

Detwiler, Henry D. (1854-1936) – Hist. Mss. 118
–diary 1875-1876, Souderton, Montgomery Co.

Freed Family Association, 1912-1955 – Hist. Mss. 384
–records of the Association and Reunion, 1912-1955

Fretz, J. Clarence and Ella Landis – Hist. Mss. 326
–papers from the Fretz family of Deep Run West congregation, Bedminster, 1845-1920

Fretz, J. Herbert (1921-2013) – Hist. Mss. 414
–family papers and collected material

Funk, Henry (d. 1760) – Hist. Mss. 308
–deeds from his Franconia, Montgomery Co. homestead, 1719-1945

Gehman, Abraham S. (1848-1905) – Hist. Mss. 9
–family letters; “Four Franconia Families Letter Collection” — 657 letters from the families of Abraham S. Gehman, Bally, Berks Co.; John F. Landis, Dublin, Bucks Co.; William G. Gross, Fountainville, Bucks Co.; and Preacher John Gross, Plumstead, Bucks Co., 1848-1927

Gehman, John Z. (1793-1882) – Hist. Mss. 49 (also HM 9)
–family documents, diaries, account books, etc., Hereford, Berks Co., 1786-1880s

Good, Lizzie Wismer Conver (1857-1930) – Hist. Mss. 403
–diary 1913-1930, Spring City, Chester Co.

Gottschall-Frick family, Franconia-Souderton, 1844-1903 – H.M. 336 (also HM 175 and HM 436)
–papers from the Gottschall family of fraktur artists, Souderton, Montgomery Co.

Gross, John W. (1814-1903) – Hist. Mss. 9
–family letters; “Four Franconia Families Letter Collection”

Gross, William G. (1839-1913) – Hist. Mss. 9
–family letters; “Four Franconia Families Letter Collection”

Halteman, Elmer S. (1890-1983)
–deeds from his Upper Salford, Montgomery Co. farm, 1741-1926

Hunsberger, Norman C. (1916-1987) – Hist. Mss. 134
–deeds, estate papers, etc., ca. 1765-1968, collected by Norman Hunsberger, Souderton

Johnson, Matthias
–deeds from his Hatfield, Montgomery Co. homestead, 1723-1789

Kolb, Amos B. (1879-1973) – Hist. Mss. 254
–deeds from his East Vincent, Chester Co. farm, 1799-1915

Kratz, Henry M. and Sophia Shaddinger – Hist. Mss. 439
–diaries 1870-1910, Hilltown, Bucks Co.

Krupp family, Lower Salford, Montgomery Co. – Hist. Mss. 295
–estate papers, 1739-1870s

Kulp, Jacob C. and Florence Alderfer – Hist. Mss. 441
–diary (Jacob), photos, family papers, Telford, Montgomery Co., 20th cent.

Landis, Clinton D. (1899-1973) – Hist. Mss. 361
–deeds from his West Rockhill, Bucks Co. farm, 1701-1903

Landis, John F. (1839-1906) – Hist. Mss. 29 (also HM 9)
–family documents, letters, diaries, photos, etc., Dublin, Bucks Co., 1866-1912

Longacre, Isaac W. (1841-1917) – Hist. Mss. 355
–diary 1870-1914, Lower Providence, Montgomery Co. and Milford, Bucks Co.

Lukens, George (1768-1849) – Hist. Mss. 187
–diary 1812-1814, Towamencin, Montgomery Co.

Mensch, Abraham B. and Jennie Heckler – Hist. Mss. 82
–papers from the Mensch-Heckler-Seipt family of Skippack, Montgomery Co.

Meyer, Christian (d. circa 1751) – Hist. Mss. 271
–letter from “beyond the Blue Mountain”, Nicholas and Elizabeth Oplinger to Christian Meyer and Henry Funk in 1752 re. Christian Meyer Sr. estate settlement

Meyer, Hans (d. circa 1748) – Hist. Mss. 222
–deeds from his Upper Salford, Montgomery Co. homestead, 1729-1918

Moyer, Allen C. (1867-1953) – Hist. Mss. 373
–papers from Moyer-Clemens-Shoemaker family, Franconia, Montgomery Co., 1794-1896

Nyce, Wynne J. (1900-1996) – Hist. Mss. 43
–family papers and business records, Doylestown, Bucks Co., late 19th-mid 20th cent.

Price Family Association – Hist. Mss. 349
–papers and photos of Association and Reunion, 1920s-1930s

Rosenberger, Emma G. (1884-1968) and Martha G. (1890-1960) – Hist. Mss. 273
–diary 1909-1935, Hilltown, Bucks Co.

Roth, Johannes and Barbara – Hist. Mss. 321
–marriage, emigration and passport documents, 1714-1719 (photocopies)

Ruth, Charles and Rosa Moyer – Hist. Mss. 206
–papers, diaries, deeds, etc. from the Ruth family of Line Lexington, Bucks Co., 1898-1958

Shisler, Horace F. (1888-1970) – Hist. Mss. 402
–deeds, etc., from Bower-Moyer-Shisler families, Harleysville, Montgomery Co., 1865-1957

Shisler, John B. and Hannah Cassel – Hist. Mss. 299 (also HM 214 and HM 436)
–family records, correspondence, photos, etc., from the Cassel-Shisler family, Lower Salford, Montgomery Co., 1843-1930s

Smith, Harvey K. and Barbara Overholt – Hist. Mss. 429
–papers, books and music manuscripts from the Overholt-Smith family, Bedminster, Bucks Co., 1798-1885

Souder, Ruth Kraybill – Hist. Mss. 520
–papers and photos, Rockhill, Bucks Co.

Weaver, Harold and Iona Souder – Hist. Mss. 519
–family papers and photos, Collegeville, Montgomery Co.

Wismer family, Bedminster, Bucks Co. – Hist. Mss. 162
–account books, dower book, ciphering books, estate papers, etc., 1769-1890s

Yothers sisters (Ruth, Esther and Miriam) – Hist. Mss. 385
–scrapbooks, papers and photos collected by three single sisters, Souderton, 1940s-1960s

Collection of sundry local deeds, 1729-1896
–Wismer, Gotwals, Detweiler, Kolb, Bean, Keely, Ruth, Harley, Clemmer, Clemens, Stauffer


Photo Collections

The Mennonite Heritage Center houses over 100 photograph collections, including thematic collections assembled here at the MHC and collections acquired from local individuals and families.  Below is a list of significant collections.

Assembled Collections

Brethren photo collection – Hist. Mss. 3-40
–local Brethren meetinghouses, preachers, families and observances

Family Reunions photo collection – Hist. Mss. 3-61

School photo collection – Hist. Mss. 3-13
–local school group photos, late 19th-mid 20th cent.

Tent Meetings photo collection – Hist. Mss. 3-18
–local tent revival meetings, mid 20th cent.

Acquired Collections

Allebach, Alpheus C. (1909-1996) – Hist. Mss. 250
–Allebach-Cassel families, Towamencin and Lower Salford, Montgomery Co.

Bower, Mary L. (1876-1961) — Hist. Mss. 94
–Latshaw-Bower families, Boyertown area, Berks Co., 1870s-1910s

Clemmer, Jacob L. and Edna Nice – Hist. Mss. 165
–Delp-Nice families, Franconia and Lower Salford, Montgomery Co., 1890s-1940s

Delp, Ernest and Helen / Moyer, Jacob and Fannie Overdorf – Hist. Mss. 379
–Delp-Moyer-Ritter-Keeler-Binder families, Harleysville, late 19th-early 20th cent.

Haldeman, Isaiah T. and Alice Rosenberger – Hist. Mss. 184
–Haldeman-Rosenberger families, Harleysville, Montgomery Co., early 20th cent.

Kulp, Isaac Clarence (1938-2007) — Hist. Mss. 436
–many local photos, including collections from Kulp, Gottshall, Cassel, Harley, Custer, Kriebel, and Metzger families

Rittenhouse-Ziegler families, Towamencin and Upper Salford – Hist. Mss. 221, 270, and 327
–collections of cousins Irene, Elizabeth and Abram Rittenhouse; late 19th-early 20th cent.

Ruth, John L. (1930-    ) – Hist. Mss. 73
–collected photo prints; photo files for Maintaining the Right Fellowship

Shisler, John B. and Hannah Cassel — Hist. Mss. 299 (also HM 436)
–Cassel-Shisler families, Lower Salford, Montgomery Co., 1860s-1930s

Stauffer, Jacob L. and Mary Jane Longacre – Hist. Mss. 347
–Longacre-Stauffer families, Chester Co. and Montgomery Co., mid 19th-mid 20th cent.


Foltz, Elwood L. (d. 2001) — Hist. Mss. 461
–approx. 1,500 slides of Pennsylvania German art and landscape

Histand, William L. (1911-1994) – Hist. Mss. 23
–images of Blooming Glen, Deep Run and Doylestown Mennonite communities, 1938-1950

Macinskas, Peter (1922-1969) – Hist. Mss. 557
–images of Indian Creek Brethren and Vernfield community, 1941-1962

Nyce, Jonas H. (1884-1948) – Hist. Mss. 337 (also HM 436)
–images mostly of Lower Salford community, ca. 1900-1910

Rush, Walter D. (1899-1975) — Hist Mss. 4
–images mostly of Deep Run Mennonite community, 1940s-1960