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Frequently Asked Questions

What is my old book worth?

The Mennonite Historical Library frequently gets questions regarding old books and especially old Bibles. These questions fall into several categories:

  • Is anyone interested in this book?
  • How much is this book worth?
  • How can I best preserve this book?

The answers to these questions can be simple or very complex depending on the items in hand. Many factors go into determining the value of old books, including condition and rarity. Old books can remain in extremely good condition if they have been stored carefully. If a book has spent several generations in hot attics or damp basements it may be in poor condition. The value of old Mennonite books more often tends to be historical or sentimental rather than monetary.

The MHL can offer an assessment of the condition and significance of books as they relate to Anabaptist-Mennonite groups . Accurate assessments require on-site examination of the items. (Check with us in advance to make sure the proper staff members will be available. We cannot provide formal monetary appraisals. Although we are not professional conservators, we can provide some basic information on what steps may be beneficial or detrimental in preserving historical items.

The MHL continues to add both new and old items to our collection. Sometimes the tattered little booklet you have is one we need. We are happy to look at twenty books we do not need in order to find one which may be important to us. We are also glad to suggest other collections which may be able to use the items we already have represented in ours. A helpful web site answering many common questions is Your Old Books, prepared by The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. The late Peter VanWingen (a Mennonite) authored an earlier version of the text.

Another helpful article, What Is That Old Bible Worth?, appeared in The Bible Collector, the journal of the International Society of Bible Collectors, No. 54, April-June 1978. Written by the late Arnold Ehlert, we post it on our website with the permission of the Society’s current president, Mennonite pastor Gerald C. Studer.

Who are the Amish?

Who are the Hutterites?

Who are the Mennonites?

Related Links

MHL affiliated sites

Other Mennonite historical collections

Information about Anabaptists, Mennonites and related groups

Research Grants


An annual award of $1,500 supports scholarly research and publication in Anabaptist-Mennonite studies.. The intent of the grant is to assist in covering costs related to research, e.g., subsidy for writing time, travel, etc. The Mennonite Quarterly Review has the “right of first refusal” for scholarly articles that result from research funded by the grant.

To apply, send the following materials by March 1 to Leonard Gross, secretary, Mennonite Historical Society, Goshen College, Goshen, IN 46526: a 2-3 page summary of the project which includes an overview of the publication or research project stating its significance to the field of Anabaptist-Mennonite history; a budget of anticipated expenses (applicants for the Publication Assistance Grant should include relevant correspondence with a publisher and a projected timetable for publication); a vitae; and one letter of recommendation. All applicants must be members of the Mennonite Historical Society. Recipients of the award will be announced at the May meeting of the MHS Board of Directors. Disbursements will be made by June 1. The Prize Selection Committee may choose not to award the grants if none of the applications is deemed acceptable.

Texts and Bibliographies


Harold S. Bender, The Anabaptist Vision (1943)

  • In December 1943, Mennonite historian and theologian Harold S. Bender delivered a presidential address to the American Society of Church History entitled “The Anabaptist Vision.” This address is a classic statement of key Anabaptist-Mennonite convictions.

John D. Roth, ed. Refocusing a Vision: Shaping Anabaptist Character in the 21st Century (Mennonite Historical Society, 1995)

  • In the fifty years since Harold Bender delivered his presidential address to the American Society of Church History, The Anabaptist Vision has become a focal point for renewal and identity within the Mennonite church. In this collection of essays, six young Mennonite leaders offer their insights on the continued relevance of The Anabaptist Vision for the church in the 21st century.

Mennonite Confessions of Faith


Search Holdings


Click here to begin your search of our online catalog.

The default search setting currently returns results from many places (“Libraries worldwide”). By clicking on “Availability” for any specific work, users first will see information listed about copies available at the Mennonite Historical Library. If you want to search only for materials in the MHL collection, select “Mennonite Hist Library” from the “Libraries to search box” beside the purple Goshen College MHL symbol near the top of the page.

Many items in our collection are available for use only within the library itself. These are designated as “Library Use” in Availability. Other items, designated as “Local Loan” in Availability, are probably not available for interlibrary loan. We welcome all users to visit our collection and make use of materials on-site. In general, the Mennonite Historical Library does not make photocopies or reproductions of entire works.

Mennonite Historical Library

mennonite historical library

One of the world’s most comprehensive collections related to Anabaptist and Mennonite history

On June 13, 1906, the Alumni Association of Goshen College passed a resolution to establish a Mennonite Historical Library (MHL). The collection grew slowly, occupying only three shelves in the college library by 1927. About this time Harold S. Bender and Ernst Correll revived the Mennonite Historical Society and through it began a campaign to collect Anabaptist-Mennonite historical materials. The acquisition of the John F. Funk library in 1930 and the major part of the historical collection from the Mennonite Publishing House at Scottdale, Pennsylvania, in the 1940s greatly enriched the collection. The latter, maintained as a memorial to the Mennonite historian John Horsch, is particularly rich in Reformation materials.

The library includes bibliographies, texts and images on topics related to the Radical Reformation, the Anabaptists, Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish and various related groups.

MHL summer hours 2015

Closed June 27-August 16
Open: August 17-August 21: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
(Return to regular hours: August 24)

Regular hours

Monday-Friday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

We will also be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following Saturdays in 2015: Sept. 5, Oct. 3, Nov. 7, Dec. 5

If the Good Library is closed and the MHL is open, visitors can use the call box at the main building entrance.

Our hours between academic semesters and in summer differ and include periods when we are closed.  Special hours for these periods are usually posted by end of November or mid-May. If you hope to visit the MHL in December, beginning of January, or May-August and special hours have not yet been posted, please contact us before scheduling your visit. The Library Gallery is open whenever the main college library building is open. See here for library building hours.


We are located on the 3rd floor of the Good Library on the campus of Goshen College (Goshen, Indiana).

Contact information

Phone: (574) 535-7418
Fax: (574) 535-7438

See the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism to read about our current program initiatives.


The library provides special carrels for scholars doing research for extended periods, enabling researchers to work evenings, except during college vacation periods. Laptop computers may be used in these carrels. Microfilm readers and a photocopier are available, but there are no facilities for producing microfilms.

The staff is pleased to exhibit and explain parts of the library’s resources and to give talks about the collection to interested individuals and groups. Members of the staff will help researchers in any way they can.

Inquiries by mail and email ( will be answered as staff time permits. The serious researcher will find it more advantageous to visit the library and examine the collection in person. The library usually has more resources relating to a research project than can be determined by correspondence, and many of the library’s materials do not circulate.