According to their informational brochure, the Menno Simons Historical Library’s primary purpose “is to collect, preserve, and make available for study and research the recorded history, doctrines, life, and arts of Anabaptist and Mennonite groups.” As a secondary function, the library also gathers materials on the genealogy and culture of the Shenandoah Valley.
The Archive aspect of the library contains the official papers of Eastern Mennonite University, the Virginia Mennonite Conference, and the personal papers of local prominent Mennonites.
Materials housed within the library collections and archives do not circulate. Arrangement for access to documents and volumes is arranged through the library and archival staff noted below.
The Menno Simons Historical Library and Archives began in 1926 with faculty member Ernest G. Gehman began his acquisition and donation of books on Mennonite and Anabaptist history. This original core was substantially added to by the library’s most well-known benefactor, Irvin B. Horst, in the 1940’s.
Since that time, it has grown throughout the years to its current size of 36,500 catalogued volumes with the dates of the collection ranging from 1501 to the present.
As detailed in the library brochure and the university website, highlights of the collection include:
• “Approximately 450 sixteenth-century items” on the rise of the European Anabaptist-Mennonite movements
• Detailed material relating to the Amish
• An “outstanding collection” of central Shenandoah Valley materials
• Pennsylvania German materials (Ephrata and Saur imprints)
• The most extensive collection in North America of Dutch artist, Jan Luiken’s etchings (1649-1712)
• Publications of Joseph Funk, and publisher of the Singers Glen community
Eastern Mennonite University
Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462
• Lois B. Bowman ([email protected])
• Cathy D. Baugh
• Nathan E. Yoder
Virginia Mennonite Conference Archives
• James O. Lehman
Monday-Friday, 10 AM to 12 Noon, 1 PM to 5 PM
Archives by appointment
Menno Simons Historical Library & Archives, Eastern Mennonite University, undated.