Veteran EMU Prof Co-Authors Church History Volume

Edsel Burdge and Samuel L. Horst
Edsel Burdge (l). and Samuel L. Horst review the final draft of their book prior to publication in the Menno Simons Historical Library at EMU.
Photo by Jim Bishop

A retired EMU history professor has collaborated with one of his former students on a massive church history volume, "The Mennonites of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and Washington County, Maryland, 1730-1970."

Samuel L. Horst of Harrisonburg, a professor emeritus of history at EMU, and Edsel Burdge, Jr., of Shippensburg, Pa., a 1981 EMU grad who studied under Horst, co-authored the 928-page hardcover book, published by Herald Press of Scottdale, Pa.

The book tells the stories of three centuries of faith and life among the Washington County (Md.), and Franklin County (Pa.) Mennonites.

From small beginnings in colonial American settlements, issues such as personal spiritual commitment, corporate accountability, nonconformity and peace have been constants. As questions of language, fashion, work, education and mission produced internal stresses, the group struggled to maintain group unity.

"This history describes in detail the particulars of that struggle as well as recounting stories illustrative of community life in general," Dr. Horst said.

The book was officially released June 14 at the annual meeting of the Mennonite Historical Association of the Cumberland Valley.

Horst, who taught American history courses at EMU 1949-51, 1954-1967 and 1972-84, is the author of "The Fire of Liberty in Their Hearts: The Diary of Jacob E. Yoder of the Freedman’s Bureau School, Lynchburg, Va.,1866-1870" (Library of Virginia, 1996), "Education for Manhood: The Education of Blacks in Virginia During the Civil War" (University Press of America, 1987), co-author of "Conscience in Crisis: Mennonites and Other Peace Churches, 1739-1789" (Herald Press, 1979) and "Mennonites in the Confederacy" (Herald Press, 1967).

Burdge, a Franklin Co. native, is a curriculum writer for Christian Light Education and edits the "Concococheague Mennonist," a publication of the Mennonite Historical Association of Cumberland Valley.