Overview of Archival Holdings at the Mennonite Library and Archives

The set of record groups (actually one might better call them supergroups) that is listed below was designed for the MLA at some time in the distant past (probably by John F. Schmidt in the 1950s). Although it is far from perfect, we continue to use it because the existing holdings already have been labelled and organized according to it. It was originally meant to be in the form of an outline, although it does not follow the standard outline structure. It was designed to have a place for everything. The Mennonite Library and Archives is the official archival repository for Bethel College, and the Western District Conference, and the records of the former General Conference Mennonite Church.

"A place for everything and everything in its place."

General Conference Mennonite Church
Personal manuscript series, over 700 at last count, personal papers (letter, diaries, etc.) of pastors, missionaries, and other leaders, and papers of non-leadership persons and families reflecting everyday Mennonite life
SA ("Small Archives"):
accessions of papers from various sources—individuals and organizations—usually not more than 1 folder in bulk, have been put into a separate record group because of the small amount of material in each series
OH (Oral history documentation):
release forms, transcripts, etc. for tape-recorded interviews
World War 1 (Schowalter) collection
CONG (Congregational records):
papers from individual congregations, including membership records, minutes, weekly bulletins, newsletters, yearbooks, reports, etc. (includes extinct and dissolved congregations)
Bd.Ms. (Bound manuscripts):
mostly church membership and minute books that should eventually be incorporated into the CONG record group
MLA correspondence files and internal archives going back several decades
Images (Photographs):
subject photos and personal photos (portraits), slide collection (35mm), motion picture collection, video tapes, glass lantern slides
Manuscripts (similar to MS except on microfilm), church records (similar to CONG and Bd.Ms.), ship passenger lists, census returns, nearly complete film of Amsterdam Mennonite archives (microfilmed dissertations and serials are treated as part of library rather than archives)
Mennonite Sources from IDC (microfiched dissertations and serials are treated as part of library rather than archives)
Paintings and etchings, mostly by Mennonite artists or of Mennonite-related subjects, originals and reproductions, large collection of Marie Birkholtz-Bestvater paintings, Dutch 19th century, etc.; printed finding aid available