Research Collections

The Young Center’s unique research resources include rare books and manuscript material related to the Amish, the Brethren and Mennonites in eastern Pennsylvania, and the Ephrata Cloister. The resources are now housed in the new Hess Archives and Special Collections facility in the lower level of High Library.

The archives is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. To arrange a visit, schedule a research appointment, or discuss possible donations, call High Library at 361-1451 or the Young Center at 361-1470 or send an e-mail to

Emmert and Esther Bittinger Research Collection

  • Several rare books from the Ephrata Press.
  • Rare books by Brethren writers.
  • A nineteenth-century music manuscript from the Snow Hill community.

Anna V. Blough Collection

  • Copies of the letters, diaries, and miscellaneous writings of Anna V. Blough, who was in China from 1913-1922.

Brethren Mission in China

  • Manuscript material and photographs from missionaries from the Church of the Brethren mission in Shansi Province, China, from 1908 to 1951.

Bucher Sisters Collection

  • 130 patterns for prayer coverings, some labeled or dated, that the sisters created for women in the Annville Church of the Brethren
  • Journals kept by all three sisters between the 1930s and 1960s

Christ’s Assembly Collection

  • Religious correspondence among members and congregations of Christ’s Assembly and their leader, Johannes Thalitzer, from about the 1960s through the 1980s. Newsletters and copies of hymns are included. Materials are mostly in English, with some in Danish and German.

Church Member Profile 2006

  • Some 6,000 survey questionnaires administered to a wide sample of congregation members in the Brethren in Christ Church, Church of the Brethren, and Mennonite Church USA, completed in 2006. The questionnaires measured attitudes toward faith and religious activity among members of these denominations.

Crumpacker Collection

  • Copies of the extensive diaries (1924-1951), correspondence, sermons, and miscellaneous writings of Frank and Anna Crumpacker, co-founders of the Brethren mission in China.

Richard Dawley Collection

  • Research notes, primarily on Amish communities in Wisconsin, by a scholar of the Wisconsin Amish.

Donald F. Durnbaugh Research Collection

  • Dozens of rare books related to German Radical Pietism, such as works by Gottfried Arnold, Brethren writers, and the Ephrata community
  • Hundreds of recent books on Pietism, Anabaptism, and communal groups
  • Durnbaugh’s research files and notes

G. N. Falkenstein Collection

  • Extensive diaries ca. 1898-1949 on his work with Elizabethtown College and his ministry correspondence
  • Family records and photos of the Falkenstein and Shellenbarger families—copies of early nineteenth-century tax and land records for southern York County
  • Approximately 600 stereoscopic slides from the turn of the twentieth century on such topics as political events, the Spanish American War, exotic geographical locations, and humor

H. Willard Good Collection

  • Over 200 letters written by Good, a Church of the Brethren conscientious objector during WWII, and his wife, Pauline, 1944-1946. Good did alternative service in a Civilian Public Service camp in upstate New York.

Ernest Hess Collection

  • Hundreds of survey questionnaires administered to Mennonite youth during the 1970s, measuring their attitudes toward faith and their religious practice.

Roscoe Hinkle Collection

  • Questionnaires completed by Church of the Brethren young adults in the early 1940s regarding religious beliefs and attitudes toward war, from a nationwide geographic sampling of Brethren.

Kings Ferry Collection

  • Congregational records of the Kings Ferry Church of the Brethren in Kings Ferry, New York, roughly from 1915-1961 with gaps from 1946-1955. Includes a congregation history written by Pastor Elmer F. Nedrow.

Henry Long Collection (Mid-West Institute of International Relations)

  • Speeches (by Elton Trueblood, Howard G. Moulton, George H. Blakeslee, Sidney B. Fay, and Dan West) and papers from a conference on international relations in Evanston, Illinois, in the summer of 1935.

Myers Collection of Prayer Coverings

  • Three boxes of hats and prayer coverings worn by women in the Church of the Brethren around the 1940s-1960s.

Roger E. Sappington Research Collection

  • Copies and abstracts of deeds, wills, and correspondence of Brethren in the Carolinas, Tenessee, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois and elsewhere from the late eighteenth century through the late nineteenth century.
  • Records related to Brethren in Idaho.
  • Extensive materials and notes about Brethren and social issues such as race, international service, and peace concerns during times of war.
  • Drafts of Sappington’s books, papers written for his various academic degrees (undergraduate through doctoral courses), and extensive research notes.

Donna and Paul Steiner Collection

  • Art, decorative items, household items, and musical instruments from the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) during the early 1960s.

S. R. Zug Collection

  • Dozens of letters between Brethren elder and Elizabethtown College leader S. R. Zug and church and business people primarily in eastern Pennsylvania, from the late 1850s into the early 1900s. Topics include seeking military exemptions during the Civil War, Zug’s care for orphans and indigent people, and church matters.

Additional Holdings

  • Cyrus R. Bucher diary, Civil War era: Bucher, Brethren farmer and later minister, kept a diary from 1862-1865 detailing farm and church life, with additional comments about the Civil War.
  • Copies of Martyrs Mirror (1685 Dutch edition, 1748 and 1814 German editions), the 1743 Saur Bible, and a variety of early American German hymnals.
  • Ephrata Music Book (mid-eighteenth century): manuscript illustrated book created by women scribes of the Ephrata Community containing music composed at Ephrata for their 1739 hymnal, the Zionitischer Weyrauchs-Hügel. A copy of the printed hymnal is also in the archives.
  • Israel Eckerlin letter books: Two books of manuscript copies of letters and treatises written by former Ephrata member Israel Eckerlin. The materials range from about 1745 to 1757. One letter is in Eckerlin’s own hand, the others are eithteenth-century copies.
  • Menno Simons Opera Omnia: The complete works of Menno Simons, printed for the first time in 1681. The book is in Dutch.
  • Sammlungen of the Community of True Inspiration (Wahre Inspirations-Gemeinde, Amana, Iowa): Over 20 volumes of collected inspired writings and sayings of leaders of the Community of True Inspiration, printed in German during the nineteenth century. The Sammlungen also contain information on the history of the group.
  • Back issues of Die Botschaft and The Budget, as well as periodicals related to the Mennonite Church in the United States and Canada, the Church of the Brethren, and Brethren in Christ history.