Goshen College librarians help make peace archives available online

GOSHEN, Ind. – With the help of Goshen College librarians, more peace is now available around the world – at least in the form of online documents related to peace studies.

In collaboration with the other two historic peace church colleges in Indiana – Earlham and Manchester – Goshen College has unveiled the Plowshares Digital Archive for Peace Studies, available at: replica.palni.edu/plowshares/.

The expansive digital collection of peace resources – which covers a period of about 300 years – contains 32,000 pages of material in different formats such as diaries, minutes, books, journals, questionnaires, newsletters, newspapers and essays. It also covers a broad range of peace topics, including draft resistance, slavery, race relations during and after the civil rights movement, student activities and European peace conferences.

“I think this is the first digitization project of this nature and scope – peace-related archival documents pertaining to Brethren, Mennonites and Quakers,” said Anne Meyer Byler, who worked on the project and is reference and instruction librarian at Goshen College’s Good Library.

Items unique to Goshen’s collection include correspondence and questionnaires related to Mennonites in military camps during World War I, Civilian Public Service camp newsletters during World War II, diaries and committee papers from work in Vietnam during the war and documents from peace church conferences in Europe during the 1900s. All of Goshen’s digitized documents originated in the Mennonite Church USA Archives, from the Goshen collection. Librarians and archive staff collaborated on the venture.

By July 2008, Goshen had uploaded 7,000 individual pages. Earlham College had contributed 23,500 individual pages to the archive and Manchester College contributed 39 issues of theirBulletin of the Peace Studies Institute.”

Along with those documents, the Virtual Peace Library also contains webliographies – Web sites which link to sites on a specific subject – on topics from conflict transformation to economic aspects of peace and social justice. There are also bibliographic essays, student papers and syllabi for peace courses.

The five-year project was funded through the Plowshares Project, which was a multi-million dollar grant from the Lilly Foundation for collaboration between the three Indiana historic peace church colleges – Earlham (Quaker), Manchester (Brethren) and Goshen (Mennonite) – to improve the peace studies resources and expertise for undergraduate peace studies education. The digital peace archive is just one part of the Plowshares Project that aims to make peace studies resources available locally and nationally.

Along with the archive, the Plowshares Project has also funded other peace-related initiatives. It publishes a free online journal twice a year called “Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace” and funded peace-related materials for the three libraries. Also, through this project the Indianapolis Peace Institute was formed. The institute provides students from across the United States with the opportunity to study practical peace-building.

–By Tyler Falk

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.