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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives: Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

Eastern Mennonite University: Special Collections

Introductory Information

Eastern Mennonite University

Address: 1200 Park Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22802. Top floor of Hartzler Library.

Telephone number: 540-432-4178

Contact information

Online catalog

Digital Collections link

Access Policies

Hours of service: Monday, Wednesday & Friday - 9 am - 12 noon & 1 pm - 4 pm; Tuesday & Thursday - by appointment only

Open to the public: Yes

Interlibrary loan: No

Reference policy: Reference requests are accepted by Ask-a-Librarian form, chat, telephone, email, in-person

Background note: Eastern Mennonite University was founded in 1917; the Menno Simons Historical Library was begun in 1926.


Books and monographs
The inclusive dates of the collection are 1501 to the present. The Historical Library has major research holdings on the history, doctrine, life, and arts of Anabaptists and Mennonites, beginning with the 16th-century Reformation. The particular focus of these materials is the Dutch wing of Anabaptism. There are significant works on the history and development of the Mennonites from the 17th century to the present, including Pennsylvania German materials such as Ephrata and Saur imprints; extensive materials pertaining to the Amish; and an outstanding collection of central Shenandoah Valley imprints (Harrisonburg, Singers Glen, Dayton, New Market), including large holdings of the publications of Joseph Funk. Eastern Mennonite University has perhaps the most extensive collection in North America of the etchings (mostly in books), of the Dutch artist, Jan Luiken (1649-1712)

Periodicals and newspapers
Inclusive dates of this collection are 19th century to present. The Historical Library collects published records that apply to any Mennonite group in the area, as well as some unpublished material. The collection includes many regional and local journals, area conference proceedings, and newsletters.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
Inclusive dates of this collection are 1910 to present. The Archives contains the official papers of Eastern Mennonite College/University and some manuscript collections of individuals related to the school. The Archives also has collections that support four main research themes related to EMU's mission. They are as follows:

  • Mennonite revivalism with a focus on George R. Brunk II and Myron Augsburger.
  • The Concern movement in Europe following World War II and its legacy in North America.
  • Conflict transformation and restorative justice as scholarly disciplines.
  • Interfaith engagement with a focus on Anabaptist-related initiatives to Jews and Muslims.

516 microfilms; The subject matter is Mennonite history in the form of journals and dissertations. Some finding aids are available for this collection.

Videos and sound recordings

  • 1100 audio tapes, mostly of special Eastern Mennonite College and Seminary and, after August of 1994, Eastern Mennonite University events.
  • Sound clips

Vertical files

Approximately 4,500 engravings, paintings, photographs, prints and 2,000 slides. Most of the collection is 20th century although the engravings and broadsides are 17th century. Most relate to Mennonite history. The Luiken collection includes broadsides and engravings. Many of the latter are in books.

Databases and/or electronic resources

Digital collections 

Subject Headings

Amish; Anabaptists--History; Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712; Mennonite genealogy; Mennonites; Mennonites--History; Reformation