The Archives Behind My Favorite Wikipedia Article

I love Wikipedia articles. The weirder and more specific, the better. “William Walker (filibuster),” “New Jersey Generals,” “Crumhorn.”

But my favorite Wikipedia article of all time tells the story of The Emu War. I will let the Wikipedia editors of the page, principally user Nick-D, tell the story.

“The Emu War, also known as the Great Emu War,[1] was a nuisance wildlife management military operation undertaken in Australia over the latter part of 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amok in the Campion district of Western Australia. The unsuccessful attempts to curb the population of emus, a large flightless bird indigenous to Australia, employed soldiers armed with Lewis guns—leading the media to adopt the name “Emu War” when referring to the incident. While a number of the birds were killed, the emu population persisted and continued to cause crop destruction.”

Photo from The Land Newspaper via WIkipedia: By Unknown – The Land Newspaper, Public Domain,

Continue reading “The Archives Behind My Favorite Wikipedia Article”

Schism at the Mennonite Church USA Archives

This week there was major news in the world of Mennonite archives. Or, seen a different way, nothing changed.

Some Prologue:

(WARNING: Initialisms Incoming!)

Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) was a denomination formed in a 2000 merger between the General Conference Mennonite Church (GCMC) and the “Old” Mennonite Church (MC). The archival collections of the respective denominations remained on the campuses of two Mennonite colleges: Bethel College (an institution of the GCMC in North Newton, KS) and Goshen College (MC-affiliated in Goshen, IN). A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was developed in which MC USA paid an annual subsidy to the Bethel College Mennonite Library and Archives (MLA) to maintain the GCMC papers under the umbrella (and ownership) of the MC USA Archives.

Now, to the present:

In the last year, MC USA moved its holdings off of Goshen College’s campus to its denominational headquarters and, at basically the same time, the MOU with Bethel College expired. The parties struck a deal that relieved MC USA of the burden of the subsidy (which last year amounted to about $42,000) and kept the collections at Bethel College, where they could be utilized by undergraduates. Continue reading “Schism at the Mennonite Church USA Archives”

Revisiting ‘Partly Dave’

I’m working on a paper for my methods course and decided to revisit an old project. I realized that while I posted about it on a previous blog (hopefully lost to history), I haven’t put anything on here. 

A few years ago, Colleen McFarland Rademaker, then the archivist at the Mennonite Church USA Archives in Goshen, Indiana,[1] approached me with the idea of digging through a recently donated box of materials connected to a hippy-era coffee house ministry in nearby Elkhart, Indiana and write something about the endeavor. The result was published in the Mennonite Historical Bulletin.[2] That particular version is probably lost but for a few copies on my shelf and in some Mennonite libraries, but a shorter version, shorn of its footnotes,[3] was published in The Mennonite and lives online:

More interesting is the collection of photos that live on the Mennonite Church USA Archives’ Flickr page[4]:

So today, after a week in which I’ve heard all about how non-profits run on volunteers and how unsustainable that is, I’m remembering the little coffee house that persisted on the backs of its volunteers until it simply couldn’t continue. *Raises cup of coffee in the general direction of Indiana*


[1] Both Colleen and the Archives have moved on; Colleen to Kansas, as Head Archivist at Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and the archival materials are in the process of moving to the MCUSA offices in Elkhart, IN. Crying Face Emoji!

[2] In the last ever issue. Crying Face Emoji again!

[3] Who’s cutting onions in emoji land?

[4] That collection of photos is great, especially the rapid evolution of Peter Stucky’s beard between 1971 and 1973.