Menno Simons Historical Library (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)
|Mary S. Sprunger (right) professor of history at EMU confers with
Lois B. Bowman librarian of MSH (2011).
|A row of Dutch Bibles in the special collections rooms.|
The Menno Simons Historical Library (MSHL) collects, preserves and provides access to the recorded history, life and arts of Anabaptists, and especially Mennonites in eastern North America. The library also actively maintains a large collection of materials on Shenandoah Valley history, culture and genealogy.
The library has grown from a small beginning in 1926, organized by Professor Ernest G. Gehman, to over 40,000 volumes in 2011. The MSHL was housed in several different locations on the Eastern Mennonite University campus until being moved to its present location on the third floor of the Sadie A. Hartzler Library in 1971. In 1957 Grace I. Showalter was appointed the first librarian and continued in that role until her death in 1990. Lois B. Bowman has been the librarian to the present (2011).
The MSHL has selectively compiled information that represents the wide spectrum of Anabaptist life from its beginnings through the present. The collection is particularly strong in its holdings of materials on Dutch Mennonites, the Amish and genealogical publications.
The Special Collections Room, named in honor of Dr. Irvin B. Horst, contains approximately 450 sixteenth-century items, including books on the rise of Swiss, German and Dutch Anabaptist-Mennonite movements. Horst, former professor of church history at Eastern Mennonite College and the University of Amsterdam, contributed judiciously and generously, over a period of five decades, to building its resources.
Other significant holdings in the Special Collections Room include:
- Original etchings in books by Dutch artist Jan Luiken (1649-1712)
- Early central Shenandoah Valley imprints, including pioneer Mennonite music publisher and teacher Joseph Funk (1778-1862)’s Harmonia Sacra and letters
- Early Pennsylvania German imprints, including Ephrata and Saur
The MSHL serves as a valuable research center for students, faculty and staff at Eastern Mennonite University. Local Mennonites and community patrons, including many from across the State of Virginia, are regular visitors. In 2010 researchers came from 17 other states, six foreign countries, as well as other colleges and universities.
The Hartzler Library also houses the Eastern Mennonite University Archives and the Virginia Mennonite Conference Archives, both on the ground floor.
Landes, Dan. "Menno Simons Historical Library." Eastern Mennonite University. Web. 12 April 2011. http://www.emu.edu/library/historical-library/
Address: 1200 Park Road, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Website: Menno Simons Historical Library
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Bowman, Lois B. "Menno Simons Historical Library (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2011. Web. 24 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/menno_simons_historical_library_harrisonburg_virginia_usa.
APA style: Bowman, Lois B. (April 2011). Menno Simons Historical Library (Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/menno_simons_historical_library_harrisonburg_virginia_usa.