The Back Page
1, The premier issue, April 1940
2. Editor Leonard Gross's first issue, January 1971
3. Levi Miller's new design, January 1991
You have in your hand the last issue using the current design.
With the July issue we will launch a new design-crisp, white
paper, green color, new logo, more visuals, and more open space.
The new design will link the historical to the contemporary,
the juxtaposition we strive for in much of our programming.
Editor Levi Miller initiated the current design with the January
1991 issue. This design which also added four additional pages
to the customary twelve, reflected the "New Directions"
mandate to take our heritage "to the people in the pew."
The January issue carried articles on the arrival of Amish Mennonites
in Elkhart by Russell Krabill, the necessary linkage of social
history and church history by Janeen Bertsche Johnson, an introduction
of the Illinois Mennonite Historical and Genealogical Society
by Levi Miller, a tribute to Noah C. Good by Glenn Lehman, a
review of two dramas, book reviews, recent publications, news
and notes, and a sampling of recent acquisitions to the archives
by archivist Dennis Stoesz.
In its earlier incarnation, Leonard Gross was editor, beginning
with the January 1971 issue. The eight-page issue featured articles
on Anabaptism by Peter Stucky, Sleeping Preachers by Melvin Gingerich,
an address given by I.W. Royer at the 1963 Sunday school centennial,
West Liberty, Ohio, a letter from the John F. Funk collection
on the Wisler schism of 1872. In subsequent issues reader responses,
"News and Notes," and book reviews were added. Editor
Gross expanded the magazine from eight to twelve pages.
The Mennonite Historical Bulletin was first published in 1940
as a four-page quarterly. J. C. Wenger was the editor. It's purpose
was to "keep its readers informed of current progress in
Mennonite historical study; to provide a channel for brief articles
dealing with the history of our denominations; to review briefly
the current publications in this field; to provide an opportunity
for the publication of questions and answers dealing with congregational,
church, or family history; to make note of articles dealing with
Mennonite history in current periodicals; and to serve as a channel
of communication between historical workers. The first issue
was mailed to "a large number of ministers and other prospective
supporters." Melvin Gingerich, who joined the editorial
staff in 1945 was the longest serving editor. As co-editor and
then editor, Gingerich edited the paper twenty-six years.
This periodical and its previous editors have served the church
well. We want to build on that honorable tradition, as we find
new and fresh ways to serve Mennonite Church USA, as well as
our broad network of regional historians.
--John E. Sharp, editor