Bundling is usually associated with the Amish as a form of courtship in which the young people, fully clothed except for their shoes, occupy the same bed. The custom seems to have been quite general among them until the beginning of the 19th century. Somerset County (Pennsylvania) Amish ministers condemned the practice in a conference in 1830. Later several families left Somerset County to found a colony in Iowa hoping to leave the custom behind, but their efforts were not entirely successful. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the custom died out in some sections before 1880. Although disapproved by the Amish ministers and many family heads, the custom lingered on in parts of northern Indiana and elsewhere. One reason for the persistence of bundling among the Amish probably is their extreme reluctance to relinquish the customs practiced by the forefathers. Such long-established customs have acquired an almost religious significance. Either the custom is not so generally practiced as is commonly believed, however, or Amish young people observe it in a spirit of self-restraint. At any rate cases of illegitimacy are rare among the Amish. Bundling was not a custom confined to Amish families, but according to a research article in The Mentor (October 1929) it was imported to America in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Welsh, the English, the Dutch, the Germans, and even the Calvinistic Scottish. Jonathan Edwards preached against bundling, and Boston, Salem, and New York proscribed it by law. In the 1950s it was still to be found in a few townships in New England, survived in vestige form in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and was practiced in the mountains of Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 470-471. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Umble, John S. "Bundling." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 20 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B84725.html.
APA style: Umble, John S. (1953). Bundling. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B84725.html.