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J. S. (John Samuel) Coffman Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description



Notebooks and Financial Records

Miscellaneous Materials

Barbara F. Coffman Material for John S. Coffman Biography

Bishop Samuel Coffman (1822-1894) Materials

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J. S. (John Samuel) Coffman Papers, 1861-1964 | Mennonite Church USA Archives

By Colleen McFarland and Theron Schlabach

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Collection Overview

Title: J. S. (John Samuel) Coffman Papers, 1861-1964Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1861-1899

ID: HM1/019

Primary Creator: Coffman, J. S. (John Samuel) (1848-1899)

Extent: 5.2 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: By series

Date Acquired: 05/11/1950

Subjects: Coffman, John S. (John Samuel), 1848-1899, Evangelistic work, Mennonites - Indiana

Forms of Material: Correspondence, Diaries

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

These personal papers of a late 19th century Mennonite evangelist are divided into five series:

(1) Diaries, 1871-1899

(2) Correspondence, 1866-1901

(3) Notebooks and Financial Records, 1861-1880

(4) Miscellaneous Materials, 1865-1905

(5) Barbara F. Coffman Material for John S. Coffman Biography, 1949-1963

(6) Bishop Samuel Coffman Materials, 1861-1893

Biographical Note

John S. Coffman, pioneer Mennonite (Mennonite Church) evangelist, was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, 16 October 1848, and died in Elkhart, Indiana, 22 July 1899.

John Samuel was the eldest of 12 children born to Samuel and Frances Weaver Coffman. His birth occurred on the J. R. Keagy farm, near Mount Crawford, and he grew to manhood on his father's farm near Dale Enterprise. At the age of 16, Coffman was converted and baptized in Muddy Creek, near the Bank Church. A short time later, to avoid being drafted into the Southern army, he escaped into Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, where he remained until the end of the war.

Coffman's formal education was limited, consisting chiefly of a number of terms in a night school established for the boys of the community by David A. Heatwole. By dint of much reading and private study, he was later able to pass the required examination to secure a teacher's certificate. He spent one term at Bridgewater Normal School in 1875.

On 11 November 1869 Coffman was united in marriage to Elizabeth J. Heatwole, daughter of John G. and Elizabeth Rhodes Heatwole. Seven children were born to them: William, Samuel F., Jacob, Ansel, Fannie, Daniel, and Anna Barbara. The first three years of their married life they were tenants on the Margaret Rhodes farm near Dale Enterprise, after which Coffman purchased a 30-acre farm on Gravelly Hill, at the foot of Mole Hill. In 1874 he began teaching the grade school at Montezuma, where he taught for two winter terms, followed by two terms at Paul Summit.

On 18 July 1875 John S. Coffman was chosen by lot and ordained to the Mennonite ministry at the Bank Church, near Rushville, Virginia. During the next four years hefilled many appointments in Rockingham and Augusta counties and in West Virginia. Being gifted in music, Coffman conducted a number of singing schools in the community, which did much to stimulate four-part singing and instill an appreciation of the better type of church music.

It was on the invitation of John F. Funk, head of the Mennonite Publishing Co., Elkhart, Indiana, that John S. Coffman moved with his family to Elkhart in June 1879. Here he became the assistant editor of the Herald of Truth, contributing many original articles and editorials during the next few years. In 1880 he began to work on material for Sunday schools, and produced a small volume for teachers entitled Infant Lesson Book. A second edition of the work was published in 1891. Later he edited weekly lesson sheets for the Words of Cheer, and from 1890 to 1899 served as editor of the lesson helps which appeared first in monthly editions and then in quarterly form. Other editorial work included collaboration with Funk on the Minister's Manual andConfession of Faith, 1891; and a small booklet, Fundamental Bible References, 1891. He was a member of the committee of five chosen to compile Hymns and Tunes, published in 1890, and following the organization of the Mennonite Book and Tract Society in 1889, Coffman served as tract editor for a number of years, as well as president of the organization.

But it was as evangelist that Coffman made his greatest contribution to the Mennonite Church. Since "protracted" or evangelistic services were generally in disfavor at this time, as savoring too much of aggression, Coffman proceeded with the utmost caution, his natural tact and winning personality being great assets in breaking down barriers and paving the way for the spirit of evangelism characterizing the church of the 20th century. Early in his ministry Coffman became burdened for the welfare of the many small, newly established congregations, frequently found in the western and midwestern states, struggling bravely to compete for the interest of the young people with other large denominations. He was particularly distressed by the number of young people being lost to the church through lack of spiritual encouragement and guidance.

Coffman's first series of evangelistic meetings was held in Kent County, Michigan, in June 1881. By the end of a week nine confessions had been made and the church greatly encouraged. During the next few years many invitations were received from all parts of the church for similar services, and by the end of the century practically every district of the church in the United States and Canada had benefited from his efforts, hundreds of individuals having been brought into church fellowship.

Coffman was a forceful and able speaker, commanding respect and attention from all classes of people. His effort was constantly directed toward building up the church, and major emphasis was placed upon teaching the Word and expounding the peculiar doctrines of the church. He also showed great charity and tact in his fellowship with the Amish congregations found in many Mennonite communities, and assisted in bringing about an amalgamation of a number of Mennonite and Amish congregations.

John S. Coffman was a strong promoter of Sunday schools and young people's meetings. He assisted in the organization of the first Sunday-school conference held in Indiana, October 1892, and encouraged Biblical instruction in the churches in the form of Bible conferences. He was also a prominent figure in promoting missionary activity in the church.

Coffman was one of the earliest church leaders to sense the need of providing a liberal education for young people under the auspices of the church. On the opening of a business and normal school at Elkhart in the fall of 1894 by Dr. H. A. Mumaw, Coffman braved the storm of opposition from church leaders and laity and bent his energies toward supporting the institution. He became the second chairman of the board of trustees of the private organization known as the Elkhart Institute Association, and during the few remaining years of his life gave much of his time to promoting the work of the school, which was the forerunner of Goshen College.

Coffman's death, which occurred at his home in Elkhart at the age of 51, was attributed to a malignnant growth in his stomach from which he had suffered for a number of years. Funeral services were held simultaneously in Elkhart and Virginia, and interment was made in the Prairie Street Cemetery at Elkhart.

Subject/Index Terms

Coffman, John S. (John Samuel), 1848-1899
Evangelistic work
Mennonites - Indiana

Administrative Information

Repository: Mennonite Church USA Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 10 archives boxes and 1 half archives box

Access Restrictions: These materials are open for public research.

Use Restrictions: Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright not owned by the Mennonite Church USA Archives.

Acquisition Source: S. F. Coffman and Barbara Coffman, Acc. 61

Preferred Citation: J. S. (John Samuel) Coffman Papers, 1861-1964.  HM1-019.  Mennonite Church USA Archives. Elkhart, Indiana.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Diaries, 1871-1899],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1866-1901],
[Series 3: Notebooks and Financial Records, 1861-1880],
[Series 4: Miscellaneous Materials, 1865-1905],
[Series 5: Barbara F. Coffman Material for John S. Coffman Biography, 1949-1963],
[Series 6: Bishop Samuel Coffman (1822-1894) Materials, 1861-1893],

Series 1: Diaries, 1871-1899Add to your cart.
Coffman's diaries contain brief but informative summaries of his activities and contacts with friends and colleagues.
Box 1: Diaries, 1871, 1877-1892Add to your cart.
Box 2: Diaries, 1893-1899Add to your cart.
Box 10: Diary Excerpts, 1871-1899Add to your cart.
Typed excerpts from Coffman's diaries, organized by subject
Box 11: Diary Excerpts, 1871-1899Add to your cart.
Typed excerpts from Coffman's diaries, organized by subject
Series 2: Correspondence, 1866-1901Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 1: Correspondence - generalAdd to your cart.
Correspondence with various individuals, with Elkhart Institute or its officials; in one folder some business papers (loan notes, etc.)
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Amstutz, D. C., 1897Add to your cart.
Four letters, datelined Marshallville, Ohio..  "D. C. Amstutz" was probably David C. Amstutz, born Jan. 4, 1842, in Wayne Co., Ohio, and died in same neighborhood April 28, 1924, ordained about 1872 and made bishop in 1885 in the Crown Hill congregation.  D. C. Amistutz served as Secretary of the Mennonite Board of Charitable Homes and Missions; the Menno S. Steiner papers have many letters from him (in the several A-B files) in that capacity.
Folder 2: Bender, D. H., 1886-1899Add to your cart.
Daniel H. Bender (1866-1945) was a member of the generation who followed John F. Funk and Coffman to further the Quickening by building new programs and institutions, editing and teaching, etc. (He also was an uncle of Harold S. Bender.)  From 1909-1930 he would be President of Hesston College and Bible School. 1/4" stack.  When these letters begin he was a school teacher (living at Tub, Pennsylvania) seeking to find his place in the work of the church, obviously ambitious.  By March of 1891 he is traveling to Elkhart.  By mid-1890s he wrote from many locations (as a traveling evangelist?).  By March 1997 he wrote as a strong partisan against John F. Funk and Funk's "bosom friend" J. S. Lehman, as the troubles were brewing at Elkhart.  April 6, 1897 letter indicates both Coffman and D. H. were quite critical of "George" (i.e., D. H.'s brother George, also of that younger cricle, and after 1897 father of Harold S. Bender); see also April 12.  For more on Elkhart matters see December 21, 1897 and February 20, (two items), April 20, 1899.
Folder 3: Bender, George L., 1890-1899Add to your cart.
1/4" stack.  December 8, 1897:  especially interesting letter at a time when Coffman was being criticial of George (see D. H. Bender folder--Box 3, Folder 11); this letter shows very low opinion of Funk and J. S. Lehman and their methods; see other, later letters also.
Folder 4: E. J. Berkey, 1894-1899Add to your cart.
1/4" stack, from Edward J. Berkey, content a mixture of faith/spirituality and business (buying a property for the mission, etc.)  January 6, 1896, interesting letter about applying nonresistance in mission affairs, implying it was easier to apply it to nations.  An 1897 letter is datelined Dale Enterprise, Virginia; an 1899 one is on letterhead of E. J. Berkey, Printer, at Middlebury, Indiana; that one is about starting a new paper.
Folder 5: Brenneman, Moses (on Ohio) matters, 1879, 1895, 1897Add to your cart.
Seven letters, most datelined Elida, Ohio.  Apparently they are from minister Moses Brenneman who was ordained in 1885 and died in 1923.  They strongly support Coffman's efforts to build up the church, but writing is not smooth and literary like that from many of Coffman's more famous younger followers.  Also the letters are quite provincial, dealing with matters (including one or more Coffman visits) in Brenneman's area but not much, if at all, with church-wide issues or developments.
Folder 6: Bricker, Malinda (new Christian in "Blenheim" congregation), 1894-1896Add to your cart.
Half-dozen letters, written as if Coffman is Bricker's spiritual mentor.  All datelined "Washington" [no state or province] except a June 28, 1894 one datelined 3804 Hamilton St., Philadelphia.  That letter refers to the local Mennonite church being very different from her home church (refers to being from Canada); mentions N. B. Grubb and Grubb's referring to a visit from Coffman some time ago.  March 1, 1895:  Supposed Coffman knew she had intended to join a Methodist Church as more active, but then had been converted in a Coffman meeting; and preferred Mennonite doctrines on infant baptism, nonjuring, secret societies, etc.  [Was she reared in the Mennonite church after all?]  Jan. 22, 1895, referred to speaking Pa. Dutch at home, but not being able to understand big words in the German Bible. [Courtship; endogamy?] Jan. 5, 1896:  when converted she had been engaged to an A. E. Bergey, a civil engineer and a Methodist who was younger brother of "our deacon"; but she disagreed with him about doctrine, and had broken off the engagement: he still wanted her, and she was trying to win him over.  Mar. 20, 1896: she had not refused absolutely to marry him, but foresaw a lot of pain if she did.
Folder 7: Brubaker, Clara, 1891, 1895, 1896, 1898Add to your cart.
Clara May Brubaker (later Shank), of Missouri, was a mission- and evangelism-minded church worker who lived 1869-1958.  In these (10 ot 12) letters she consulted Coffman as a mentor about attending Elkhart Institute, gave him church news from Missouri, showed herself conversant with larger church events, considered attending Elkhart Institute, and reported about work as a school teacher.  (At 55, Brubaker would marry John R. Shank, noted rural missionary and bishop in Missouri.)
Folder 8: Brubaker, John K., 1895-1896Add to your cart.
About 8 letters, datelined Rohrerstown, showing high concern for spiritual awakening and church renewal.  Probably, the author was the John K. Brubaker who died, eulogized as an avid church worker but apparently not ordained, at Rohrerstown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on August 22, 1898, at age 54.  Letters offer some church news of the "Quickening" type.
Folder 9: Burkhart, J. D., 1894-1896Add to your cart.
About 8 letters from John D. Burkhart, datelined Newville, Pennsylvania.  Many refererces to "Dillers" church.  Burkhart lived 1859-1919; obituary noted he was an avid worker in Dillers congregation, Newville, including as Sunday school superintendent.  Like many other letters to Coffman, these exude concern for church renewal and personal spirituality, in the idioms of the Quickening.
Folder 10: Burkholder, David, 1894, 1896Add to your cart.
Two letters, datelined Nappanee, Indiana.  The Mennonite Directory of 1905 lists David Burkholder as a bishop in the Nappanee Mennonite congregation.  Both letters have to do with criticisms of Coffman, with Burkholder warning him against for instance letting Daniel Brenneman's people (Mennonite Brethren in Christ) speak at his meetings--but also criticizing members who had denounced Coffman unkindly or attended as spies.
Folder 11: Burkholder, J. D. [John D. Burkholder], 1895-1896Add to your cart.
8 or 10 letters, some datelined Harrisonburg, Virginia, then some Dayton, Virginia where writer, John D. Burkholder (1873-1967), although married was attending school, then later New Hope, Virginia, where he farmed.  He sometimes seemed interested in getting a position (as music teacher?) at Elkhart, Institute.  Like so many, writer treated Coffman as a mentor and seemed to support the Quickening against traditionalists, yet he seemed quite concerned about maintaining dress standards and upholding the Mennonites' form of baptism against immersionists, especially among Dunkards.  Obituary does not mention any ordination.
Folder 12: Byers, N. E. [Noah E. Byers], 1896-1898Add to your cart.
Noah E. Byers was principal of Elhart Institute 1898-1903 and president of Goshen College 1903-1913.   About a dozen letters.  Frist from Sterling, Illinois, then Chicago (University of Chicago), then from Evanston (Northwestern University).  February 1896: saying young women objected to the church's required headdress; that the church should not require what was not scriptural, and asking Coffman to write something about this in Herald of Truth.  (Next letter: glad Coffman was dong so.)  Juily 1896: noting someone's lecture on biblical criticism.  July, 1897:  had attended YMCA convention in Wisconson and met "two Mennonite boys" there, J. B. Smith and C. Henry Smith.  July 26, 1897: some critical comment about a "Bro. Rutt" (apparently recently ordained at Sterling, Illinois?), and much expression of hope for what educated young people would do for the Mennonite church.  December 1897: used letterhead of YMCA at Northwestern University that listed Byers as Treasurer (and a J. M. Springer as Corresponding Secretary).  January 19, 1898, evidently declining an invitation to join Elkhart Institute faculty or administration just now.  January 23, 1898:  Although Byers said he was writing in haste without much thought, he gave extensive and specific comments about how Elkhart Institute should be run and about H. A. Mumaw and "Bro. Hartzler," a teacher.`  January 25: letter from someone speaking for the "Student Volunteer Missionary Convention" recommending that the Mennonites send Byers as missionary in their new work in India.
Folder 13: Coffman, John S., to Annie M. Charles, 1883, 1885Add to your cart.
Two letters, Coffman TO Annie M. Charles.  Reference to her husband, "Bro. Charles"; i.e., "Charles was her married name."  The letters are two of many examples showing Coffman as very pastoral, writing very spiritually (and pietistically) to correspondents.
Folder 14: Chicago Mission, 1895-1899Add to your cart.

Half-dozen or more letters from Barbara Sherk, worker at the mission, February, 1895, to October, 1898: she has strong indictment of a "Miss Robins" who apparently taught kindergarten at the mission; some criticism of E. J. Berkey; high regard for Fred (surely S. F. Coffman).  Some extensive comment on starting an orphans' home in Ohio.  By September, 1895, she was no longer at the mission: wrote from Iowa, then from Berlin, Ontario in 1898--in the latter lamenting conflicts regarding Elkhart Institute.

January, 1895, a letter giving all the indictments against the mission that were circulating.  Others from J. K. Hartzler (Jonathan K. Hartzler);  Lewis J. Burkholder, January 1895; anonymous, April 1895; C. K. Hostetler (Christian K. Hostetler), John Horsch, Silas Litwiller.  Much about the closing of the mission.

Folder 15: Claypool, Fannie, 1894-1899Add to your cart.
About 8 letters, datelined Fort Spring, West Virginia, and signed "your cousin, Fannie Claypool."  Almost entirely family and home news, although a bit of religious comment of a personal, spiritual nature.  Note: an internet search turned up a record of a Fannie Claypool of Fort Spring, West Virginia, having graduated in 1892 from Concord Normal School, Concord (Mercer County), West. Virginia.
Folder 16: Elkhart Institute Faculty (multiple from each), 1890-1891, 1895-1899Add to your cart.
Letters from E. W. Weaver; J. D. Brunk (John D. Brunk); J. M. Good; E. T. Hildebrand, J. B. Smith; N. S. Gingerich (Norman S. Gingerich);  John Horsch (including at interesting letter about Mennonites' German-language papers); C. Henry Smith; J. W. Yoder (Joseph W. Yoder, later the author of Rosannah of the Amish etc.).  Letters regarding Aldine Burkholder, Dale Enterprise, Virginia, and John Horsch, apparently as prospective faculty members.  (All male.)  A couple of printed programs.
Folder 17: Elkhart Institute Faculty), 1895-1899Add to your cart.
3/8" stack, from mostly 1897-1898.  All, or practically all, concern staffing of Elkhart Institute and many letters are from applicants or invitees for teaching positions or that of principal.  The letters are remarkable for NOT referring to the school's Mennonite or even Christian affiliation, or any other assumptions about any special character or value system in the institution.  Many correspondents probably were not Mennonite, but many surely were.  One letter each from Amos Ebersole (February 8, 1897); Anna H. Kauffman (March 22, 1897).  In some cases there are multiple letters from the same correspondent.
Folder 18: Elkhart Institute Financial Drive, 1895-1899Add to your cart.
(See also Box 3, Folder 4, for letters responding to financial drive.)  3/8" stack.  Letters all, or practically all, seem to be from fellow-Mennonites, often sending in $5 to $25, and apparently getting stock in the Institute's corporation.  One letter each from, for instance, Peter Unzicker, J. S. Shoemaker (Joseph S. Shoemaker). Barbara Sherk, S. H. Musselman (Samuel H. Musselman), A. H. Leaman (A. Hershey Leaman), Ezra H. Mellinger; three from Dr. H. W. Eby (Henry W. Eby); etc.
Folder 19: Elkhart Institute Gen'l & criticisms, 1895-1897Add to your cart.
Most letters are in response to appeals for funds to build the Institute's building.  (For more such, see Box 3, Folder 7).  Some enclosing money, but many refusals:  financial straits of the writer; many complaints about the Indstitute.  E.g., allowing a fancy-dressing Mason to speak and paying him $15 honorarum; M. S. Steiner preaching heresy; Coffman not wearing the right kind of coat; etc.  Some critics supported the idea of a school, but not this Insitute; others were against all the progressive activities of the Quickening generation.  One letter each from E. S. Hallman (Eli S. Hallman?), Danel Shenk, among many others; a few cases of two or three from same writer.
Folder 20: Elkhart Institute Students, 1895-1899Add to your cart.
1/2" stack. Some letters are from church leaders sending lists of potential students--including letters from A. D. Wenger, George R. Brunk.  In 1898, John H. Mosemann wished he could come and study at the Institute.  In 1899 C. Henry Smith wrote about  coming and boarding with the Coffmans. In 1899 S. F. Sprunger of Berne, indiana, inquired about a student who was attending Bethel College but found too much instruction was in German; Sprunger wanted to keep the student under Mennonite influence, and asked about cost, etc., at Elkhart.  Also, letters often are from parents, not students themselves.  Interesting is how much support there was in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  One letter each from A. D. Wenger (Amos D. Wenger), May 28 1896; George R. Brunk (Canton, Kansas, bookseller, October 20 1896); J. H. Mosemann (Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 13, 1898--does not have the tone of the later bishop, but may have been the same person); John Musselman (September 24, 1898). .  Two from C. Z. Yoder (Christian Z. Yoder).
Folder 21: Funk, J. F. [John Fretz Funk], 1871-1879, 1893Add to your cart.
1/4" stack of letters of John F. Funk to Coffman prior to Coffman's moving to Elkhart and joining Funk's publishing staff later in 1879, plus an 1883 letter of Phoebe Funk to "Dear friend.".  John Funk's second letter (January 19, 1872) begins "Your kindly reproof was duly received. . . ."  (Apparently Coffman had considered some remark about the "forefathers" unduly harsh.), and Funk's tone is much more humble than in later years.  Some deal with articles Coffman had sent in, and invite Coffman to be a regular writer.  One (February 27, 1879) alludes to Coffman's possibly finding his place at Elkhart rather than in Illinois.  Others are about arrangements of his coming.  The 1893 letter is from Phoebe Funk.
Folder 22: Gehman, Ester [sic] S., 1895Add to your cart.
Three letters.  Apparently Gehman was a young woman from Blair, Ontario, and a prior acquaintance of John S. Coffman.  One of the letters is datelined at Blair where she was home for a visit, but the other two datelines are Epworth Hospital, South Bend, Indiana, where she was in nurses' training.  She inquired about Mennonite congregations near South Bend, but her tone  is mainly practical rather than pietistic as in the case of many correspondents.
Folder 23: Grabill, Noah, 1878-1882, 1895Add to your cart.
3/8" stack of letters, most written from Cullom, Illinois.  Grabill was born in Virginia, lived  May 25, 1850; - Aug. 4, 1919, and died at Goshen, Indiana. He did some school teaching.  Letters are pious and give church news, not secular, often mentioning persons with typical Virginia-Mennonite surnames.  One (March 24, 1880) mentioned mirriage of Peter Unzicker, evidently to a school teacher.
Folder 24: Hartzler, J. S. [Jonas S. Hartzler], 1896-1899Add to your cart.
3/8"" stack.  Jonas S. Hartzler joined Elkhart Institute's faculty in 1895, and became an administrator at the Institute and then at Goshen College.  All items except perhaps 1 or 2 are about Institute matters.  3/8" stack.  By 1897 on Institute letterhead listing Hartzler as its Secretary.  Obviously Hartzler did much of the day-to-day and term-to-term work of running the institute.
Folder 25: Hartzler, Jonathan K., 1898Add to your cart.
Two letters.  Jonathan (J. K.) Hartzler (1838-1906) wrote from McVeytown in Mifflin County, central Pennsylvania.  A school teacher in his young adulthood, he was an active, progressive layman (apparently Amish Mennonite) nearing 60 at the time of thise letters and served as Sunday school superintendent, writer for church papers, and vice-president of the Mennonite Evangelizing and Benevolent Board.  The two items are about church affairs: resolving conflict with the help of the Amish Mennonite conference, making the transituion from German to English, etc.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Herr (eventually Lindeman), Barbara, 1881-1889Add to your cart.
3/4" stack of letters, all datelined Lancaster (Pennsylvania).  The collection is an outstanding (hence not entirely typical) example of Coffman having extended correspondence with certain young people, often young women, on spiritual and religious matters.  The author reported, March 2, 1890, that she had been married on November 28 [1889], and from that letter onward signed as Barbara Lindeman; apparently she was the Barbara Lindeman who died on February 12, 1929 as the widow of Jacob B. Lindeman and sister of a Miss Lizzie Herr--see brief Gospel Herald obituary, March 21, 1929 issue, pp. 1070-71.  She wrote in very small, precise, beautiful handwriting, and with very correct and nicely flowing English.  Nearly every sentence conveyed a deeply pietistic kind of faith, which was probably genuine, although a skeptic might suspect that for her, pietistic language was a rhetorical style.  Whatever the truth, rhetorically her writing was rather artistic.  The first letter, apparently the first she ever wrote to Coffman, is about an article she had sent anonymously and his figuring out who was the writer and apparently encouraging her to write.  In it she wrestled with the modestly of writing anonymously, and throughout the letters she wrote much of such inner struggles, often very self-effacingly. (August 20, 1882:  ". . . Your letter brought tears of humility, and unworthiness to my eyes"; she could hardly believe he wrote it to her.)  Her second letter is quite a discourse on Sinlessness (the topic of that anonymous manuscript), which she considered a possibility despite something Coffman had written.  January 9, 1885: she had noticed in the Herald that Coffman was calling for more articles, and she was sending one, after a long time.  It had "been ready for some time, but I thought it was not interesting. . . ."  Etc.  The letters are wordy and about personal spiritual  matters, and the pious sentences reveal very little about about circumstances or events around her.  However, November 13 1881 letter mentioned an uncle J. S. Hess [J. L. Hess?].  One of December 13, 1881 mentioned her father Christian Herr (living at the same address she had given for herself); July 15, 1883 mentioned his death--apparently his was an obituary, very cryptic and lacking information, in Herald of Truth of August 1, 1883, death having been on June 29. (Google sources indicate he was Christian Forrer Herr, b. 1807, married to Susannah Hess, father of 7. )  A letter of January 15, 1882 mentions that a brother of Barbara was editor of a publication of Highland Literary Society.  Was she the Barbara Herr of the Mellingers congregation, who died at age 81 on May 17, 1892 having never married and known for helping ministers with funeral arrangments?  (--Gospel Herald obituary, July 2, p. 303)  No, some facts do not fit.   March 12, 1882: comment on sleeping preachers.  November 17, 1882: "From your remarks [apparently in a letter] about excitable revivals I judge you are not in favor of them.  [But she again was able to disagree with Coffman:] I do not know whether they are right or wrong. . . ."  (July 20, 1884:  "... you know brother we have been disagreeing to some extent on certain subjects ever since our correspondence began.")  October 22, 1883: referred to advice Coffman had given her:  "'Be careful sister Barbara that you don't go to extremes in your notions.'"  March 18, 1884: reported a suicide (second one her letters reported).  Rather often Herr appreciated natural beauty--August 3, 1885: "The hills and valleys along Mill Creek and Conestoga are beautiful just now."  In same letter:  After passing "through a season of suffering, . . . I realize that we may 'glory in tribulation' as the 'trial of our faith is more precious than gold.'"  December 25, 1888:  "One of my brothers, a Methodist[,] was very much pleased with your sermon on Sunday afternoon, but cannot understand why Mennonites hold Close Communion.  I told him he should have heard the sermon in the forenoon. . . ."  Etc.
Folder 2: Hildebrand-surnamed correspondents, 1879-1881, 1883, 1889-1890Add to your cart.
1/4" stack of letters, almost all datelined in Virginia.  Main writers were: Ephraim T. Hildebrand, of Dayton, some on stationery of music publisher Ruebush, Kieffer & Co.; Jacob Hildebrand, of Waynesboro (if there was more than one, these are from the probably-younger, more literate one); one or two from John R. Hildebrand; and several from Simeon Hildebrand, also of Dayton.  (Quite a few more Ephraim T. Hildebrand letters are in another, Series 1 folder related to Elkhart Institute.)
Folder 3: Hostetler, C. K. [Christian K. Hostetler], 1896-1898Add to your cart.

3 letters, typed, and on letterhead paper.  (November 11, 1896, the letterhead is of "The Bible Institute Colportage Association," Chicago, D. L. Moody, President [Dwight L. Moody] and the letter, addressed to the Young People's Association at Elkhart, is signed by someone else with a handwritten note from Hostetler at bottom (about getting "Torrey's and White's Lectures"); seconbd (December 9, 1897) is on letterhead of "Young People's Paper Association, Publisahers and Booksellers," Elkhart; the third (December 8, 1898) is on that of "Mennonite Evangelizing and Benevolent Board," Elkhart

Hostetler (1865-1935) was within the circle of young activist around Coffman.  As he was of the Oak Grove congregation at Smithville, Ohio, others in the circle often turned to him to represent progressive Amish Mennonites.  Some of his activities (in words from his Gospel Herald obituary):  "He . . . edited the Young People's Paper, served as business manager of the Elkhart Institute, held a prominent position of the [Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities], served as . . . superintendent of one of the large Sunday schools in Birmingham, Ala., . . . and was superintendent of the Youngstown Mennonite Mission . . . ."

Folder 4: Johns, Daniel J., 1894-1898Add to your cart.
5 letters, one postcard.  Daniel J. Johns (D. J. Johns--b. 1850, d. 1942) was the leading Amish Mennonite (not Old Order Amish) leader nationwide in the 1890s and first decade or two of the 20h century.  A school teacher in early adulthood, he was ordained at the Clinton Frame congregation east of Goshen, Indiana in 1882 then bishop in 1887, and served as well as a traveling evangelist especially to win young people in Amish Mennonite congregations [see, for instance, James O. Lehman's history of the Oak Grove congregation at Smithville, Ohio].  In 1892 Clinton Frame hosted the first churchwide Sunday School conference, a new forum for the "active Christian worker" young adults who were prominent in the "Quickening" that John S. Coffman did so much to stimulate in the Mennonte and Amish Mennonite churches.  Johns cooperated with Coffman, John F. Funk, and other leaders of the Quickening based at Elkhart, the main Amish Mennonite leader to do so (although he was not progressive enough for some Amish Mennonites, so that his congregation had a division in the 1890s that resulted in the Silver Street congregation that affiliated with the Central Conference and eventually the General Conference Mennonites).  These letters illustrate Johns' cooperation with Coffman well, regarding Sunday school conferences and Elkhart Institute, with some personal asides and some allusion to politics and tensions among Quickened leaders [including a rather unfavorable remark about Menno S. Steiner].  (One postcard, June 17, 1898, is on work at Barker Street.)
Folder 5: Kauffman, Daniel, 1892-1899Add to your cart.
3/4" stack of letters Kauffman TO Coffman.  Very much the correspondence of two leaders of the Quickening.  October 27, 1894: Kauffman warns against the working of the Evangelizing Board taking the church toward a "hireling ministry"; also, comments about the proposal for a General Conference--Kauffman contemplates how to lay the groundwork; also, "I am glad to learn of the growth of the Elkhart Institute"; and Kauffman saying he himself was gifted to be a teacher than to be a preacher.  November 8, 1994: some comments on politics and on musical instruments.  July 24, 1995: institutions such as schools and missions stand on the boundaries between church and world, and can either serve the church's purposes or become agents of worldliness.  August 10, 1895: on the challenge of keeping a Mennonite school orthodox; also, "Is the fight still on for a General Conference?"  December 9, 1895: refers to some church members with good attitudes except their insisting that they had to go do others' camp meetings to receive the "second blessing" (i.e., second work of grace, as "holiness people" were teaching); thought Coffman could convince them of their error; some of them were having visions, etc.: "A flock that does not trust its leader is in danger of being scattered."  May 21, 1896: unflattering comments about the "Stuckeyites"; also, lengthy section on how other churches have books explaining their beliefs, but Mennonites depended on Menno Simons; called for a "handbook" that included "ordinances and restrictions" [note relevance to Kauffman's later doctrinal books; later letters having him working on what surely became his Manual of Bible Doctrines--see especially September 1, 1997].  June 11, 1896: writers for the book he had in mind must be "good, thorough, Gospel, Evangelical Mennonites."  June 24, 1896: about quarrels among Amish in Johnson County, Iowa, and inroads of Dunkards among them; see also May 30 and June 9, 1898, about same in Keokuk County.  August 11, 1896: re some misunderstandings Elkhart folks had about Missourians; also, "please use your influence against the present tendency of converting this evangelizing work into a machine.  I like system but system may be overdone."  October 19, 1896: some at the Olathe church were denouncing Kauffman as a "'dry goods Christian.'"  Various letters refer to working with "Bro. Johns" [Daniel J. Johns], as an Amish leader, to build up the Missouri congregations.  January 10, 1898: comments on the quarrel between Funk and the Tract Society; proposes a 7-point compromise (including confession and forgiveness).  (Following letters blame Mennonite Publishing Company more, and show the quarrel becoming more bitter, with M. S. Steiner having influence.) November 21, 1898: on whether sisters may wear "plain hats" [attire] and on biblical separation from the world.
Folder 6: Kolb, A. B. & A. C.  [Abram B. and Aaron C.], 1891-1898Add to your cart.
Very small (1/8") stack.  Abram C. Kolb was son-in-law of John F. Funk, an Assistant Editor at Mennonite Publishing Company, and holder of other offices in Quickening institutions.  Aaron was his younger brother, also went to work at the Company, and eventually married Phoebe Mumaw, daughter of the founder of Elkhart Institute, H. A. Mumaw; Aaron was much interested in the Institute.  [Preceding information is from Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.]  The letters are all very cordial, breathing personal admiration and friendship.  Those of Aaron are especially personal, perhaps because he was more in his youth..
Folder 7: Kulp, Isaac L., 1896-1899Add to your cart.
1/4" stack, datelined Danboro, Pennsylvania.  Kulp wrote earnestly about trends in the church, supporting the new Quickening activities, including Elkhart Institute while at the same time disturbed that evangelistic preachers and others were neglecting traditional doctrines such as feetwashing, anointing with oil, the prayer covering, and nonresistance.  Letters show that Franconia-conference supporters of the new activities were cooperating with their Lancaster-conference counterparts.  October 22, 1898:  Glad to hear that John S. Coffman  had "quit medicine and called upon God for divine healing" and had gotten "such early answers."  By the last letter (March 21, 1899) Kulp said someone wanted him excommunicated for not conducting "the work" in a conference-approved way; the conference apparently did censure him.
Folder 8: Lehman, Joseph S., 1890-1899Add to your cart.
Joseph S. Lehman was a minister who seems to have been surrounded with some sort of tension when living at Dakota, Illinois, and who became a close associate with John F. Funk in managing the Mennonite Publishing Company.  In the latter role he also was in the midst of tensions that developed between Funk and the generation of Menno S. Steiner, Daniel Kauffman, etc.--tensions that also swarmed around Elkhart Institute and John S. Coffman.  The 10 or 12 letters in this folder are, however, quite cordial.
Folder 9: Loucks, Aaron, 1891, 1895-1899Add to your cart.
1/4" stack, datelined Scottdale, Pennsylvinia.  (Loucks would later be a main leader for getting the Mennonite Publishing House established at Scottdale.)  The 1891 letter alludes to some massive deaths from employer-labor strife in the coke works in the region and mixes that with observations about persons who needed Coffman to call them to salvation.  The other letters refer to organizing a Bible Conference (one has draft of the program), and then to the "B. C. Outlines," probably referring to Coffman's Outlines and Notes Used at the Bible Conference Held at Johnstown, Pennsylvania from Dec. 27, 1897 to Jan. 7, 1898 (1898). Meanwhile they refer to "M. S." [surely Steiner], "D. H." [surely Bender], J. A. Ressler "S. F." [surely Coffman], J. N. Durr,  Daniel Kauffman, A. D. Wenger, and other church leaders.  By late 1897 a subject is growing conflicts among church leaders, centered at Elkhart. Quite a few references to the travels of the young evangelists associated with Coffman.  January 24, 1899: on a certain Mennonite who strong opposed the temperance movement, defending the use of whisky.
Folder 10: Martin, David H., 1881-1882, 1895Add to your cart.
8 letters, 2 postcards.  Nine were datelined from addresses in the Franklin County, Pennsylvania - Hagerstown, Maryland area; the 1895 item from Canal Winchester, Ohio. Spelling is erratic (e.g., "youshel" for "usual"), grammar somewhat better, but quite in contrast to the schoolteacher correctness of many Coffman correspondents.  Content is mostly local and sometimes petty, (weather, illnesses, and strife over small matters), not about large issues or broad church affairs.  Yet it shows Martin to have been a reader of the Herald of Truth and earnest about church life.
Folder 11: Mennonite Publishing Company associates, 1897Add to your cart.
Several documents of accounts (not Coffman's) with Mennonite Publishing Company, plusn3 letters from:  J. S. Lehman [Joseph S. Lehman], datelined Lancaster, Pennsylvania; G. L Bender [George L. Bender]; and A. C. Kolb [Aaron C. Kolb]..  The letters allude at least subtly to the conflicts between Funk and some associates at Elkhart on the one hand and younger leaders on the other; and from that perspective the Lehman letter is very interesting, as clearly Lehman and Coffman were trying to be mututally reconciled.
Folder 12: Coffman, J. S. to and from A. Metzler, 1885-1887, 1897, 1899Add to your cart.
4 or 5 letters.  Probably this "A. Metzler" was Abraham Metzler (1854-1918) who would become Superintendent of the Orphans' Home at West Liberty, Ohio.  The letters are to and from a personal friend and fellow worker in the church who was sending some money to support Coffman and his family.  There is material here on the Coffmans' finances, income (or lack of it), and poverty; also some subdued resentment at supposedly high salaries of managers at Mennonite Publishing Company, compared to what they paid Coffman ($200/year) for writing lessons.
Folder 13: Mumaw, H. A. [Dr. Henry A. Mumaw], 1895-1897Add to your cart.
5 items, one a fragment (apparently a P,.S. to letter of September 12, 1895), the other four on Elkhart Institute stationery.  Henry A. Mumaw was the main founder of the Institute; Coffman was a strong supporter, and in a896 other supporters made him president so that in the last years of his life he was dominant.  These letters are especially interesting in that they come from that period when control was shifting.
Folder 14: North, Garry W., 1894-1899Add to your cart.
1/2" stack, letters datelined Kokomo, Indiana.  Garry W. North was ??.  Letters have a strong tone of personal piety, and tone of a man for whom Coffman was a spiritual mentor.  Apparently a son, Harry, was boarding with the Coffmans.  (G. W. also had a brother Harry.)  G. W. wrote constantly of concern that son Harry follow what was right (and lamenting that he spent money for tobacco and had a bicycle and a guitar).  The families were close enough that 6 or 7 year-old son Homer (later a minister of North Goshen Mennonite Church, Goshen, Indiana) called J. S. "uncle."  Some letters report on members at Howard-Miami (rural Kokomo) who patronized saloons [alcohol].  April 8, 1895: to be holy, one could not use tobacco or go to saloon.  October 26, 1895: some brethren were against Mennonites having temperance lectures, but North would keep working for the Lord. February 9, 1896: very happy that meetings at the local United Brethren church had brought in 59 new members. March 5, 1899: seems to allude to the attacks Coffman was feeling in the difficulties at Elkhart, and commends Coffman for showing a forgiving spirit.
Folder 15: Nusbaum, Hannah, 1882-1884, 1887Add to your cart.
About 12-15 letters, all but one 1882-1884, last 1887--most from Middlebury, Indiana, but the last two from Cullom, Illinois.  Writer seems to have been a school leacher.  Collection is an example of a young woman in earnest correspondence with Coffman as spiritual mentor.  At outset she wrote of being "sinsick" and ready to begin a new life; she wanted Coffman to come at her congregation's communion preparation to draw young people to make new commitments.  Soon she wrote happily of enjoying beautiful weather and of her Sunday school.  Thereafter, she wrote of both joys and spiritual struggles and with laments for the condition of the church at Middlebury. (An issue was attire--women wearing hats; also, someone had joined the Lutherans, etc.)  February 3, 1884, mentioned attending the Barker Street meeting. In 1884 she wrote of deciding about answering a certain call to serve; whether that led to her move to Cullom is not clear.
Folder 16: Plank, Ellen, 1887-1891Add to your cart.
About 10 letters, almost all from Orrville, Ohio, generally well written but with some erratic spelling.  The first one refers to a remark Coffman had made that some people might think him selfish.  [humility.]  The second assured Coffman that John K. Yoder [J. K. Yoder, Amish-Mennonite leader at Oak Grove congregation, Smithville, Ohio, had nothing whatsoever against Coffman (evidently Coffman suspected otherwise).  Etc.  Letters are full of piety, interspersed with church news, references to deaths, and news of who was going through "fiery trials."  August 13, 1890:  "Brother let me tell you that I was greatly encouraged by your letters.  Jesus knows how much I need it.  Oh that I may have sufficient grace for the many trials so I can bare [sic] them with a submissive spirrit [sic] and humbly kiss the [illegible word]....  May Gods [sic] blessings go with you and your Evangelizing trip.  May the Holy spirit work wonders threw you [sic] so that souls will be save [sic] and chiristians wakened [sic] up to a holier life....  Another example of a female correspondent who looked to Coffman as mentor.
Folder 17: Ressler, J. A. [Jacob A. Ressler], 1897Add to your cart.
One letter.  J. A. Ressler was a school teacher and then a pioneer missionary to India (ordained bishop before going) and married Lina Zook (herself a home and then India missionary and later of the MC Mennonite children's paper Words of Cheer--in which children wrote to her as "Aunt Lina").  After returning from India (due to Lina's health) J. A. would write Sunday school materials for Mennonite Publishing House.  This letter from his pre-india days and datelined Scottdale, Pennsylivania, is somewhat informative, e. g. he had just gotten "a nice new suit of plain clothing." [attire]
Folder 18: Shank, Lewis H., 1892, 1894-1895Add to your cart.
Only one letter from 1892, note 1893, rest from 1894-1895.  Writing from Bowling Green, Florida, Shank indicated in January 1892 that he was a worker in a Methodist Sunday school but wrote very much as an active-worker Mennonite and a Coffman follower.  He wrote also of working at a trade for Coffman's uncle John  Weaver.  Wanted Coffman and/or Daniel Kauffman to come and evangelize in Florida.  Wrote of Methodists, Baptists, and members of Christian Church not knowing the "plain and simple" gospel or of "be ye separate."  Wrote also.of "roman heathenism."  Implying primitivism, wrote often of his community needing the "faith delivered to the saints."  Eventually [October 12, 1894] wrote of a community man who liked Mennonite doctrine. (Apparently in winter 1894-1895 Coffman did visit.)  Shank's wife died in Florida, and one letter (April 7, 1895) seems to reply to suggestions Coffman had made about eligible widows.  In one letter, wrote that he could not be very effective as a Christian worker without a "community of our people" (or some such phrase)--i.e., he felt the importance of the church.  Letters have some news about crops, etc., but not much secular content and such news is often in a framework of serving the Lord.  Last letter refers to how his neighbors had responded to Coffman's messages (evidently quite favorably).  It also tells of plans to go to Missouri in October: did Shank move there?
Folder 19: Shenk, Andrew, 1883-1885, 1891, 1894, 1897Add to your cart.
1/4 " stack of letters.  Andrew Shenk was one of three Shenk brothers, John M. Shenk, Andrew, and Daniel Shenk, all ordained (John and Andrew eventually as bishops), who carried on very pious correspondence with Coffman in the 1880s and 1890s.  Andrew (b. 1850, d. 1937), wrote most of these letters from Elida, Ohio, but the 1897 ones are from Orongo, Missouri, where he had moved and where he lived to his death.
Folder 20: Shenk, Daniel, 1879-1896Add to your cart.
3/4" stack of letters, written in beautiful handwriting and datelined Elida, Ohio. (Many Mennonites at Elida were from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia or in families of such Virginians.)  Although content is largely church news, the tone suggests that Shenk was an especially close personal friend of Coffman.This Daniel Shenk surely was the one born in 1853 in Fairfield County, Ohio, married to Rachel Stemen who died at 38 on February 19, 1890.  That Daniel died in 1943 near Denbigh, Virginia; see obituary in Gospel Herald 36 (Jan 6 1944) on pp. 852-853.  His mother was Susannah Brenneman Shenk, sister of John M. Brenneman, Daniel Brenneman, etc.; and he was ordained in 1900 apparently so he could serve as minister in the new Mennonite settlement in Virginia.  Most letters of 1895-1896 are on letterhead of Mennonite Evangelizing and Benevolent Board; letterhead indicates he was a board member.  As early as 1879 Shenk referred to articles he had written for Herald of Truth, and more such references appear in later letters.  March 16, 1880: wrote of being perplexed about predestination, sanctification, holiness (Coffman having published an article in the Herald on holiness which Shenk agreed with.)  October 24, 1880 and other letters: remarks about Andrew Crook.  December 12 , 1880, March 4, 1881: much on sanctification--clear Wesleyan (Methodist) influence.  August 28, 1881: on second work of grace; also, reference to "Uncle Daniel"--perhaps meaning Daniel Brenneman?  (December 3, 1890, March 8, 1891: also on "Second Work" and "Entire Sanctification.")  August 3, 1882: about controversy over holding Sunday school. August 29, 1882: refers to writing in Watchful Pilgrim; and, ". . . the Lord be with you in all your endeavors to build Zion and spread the gospel of Peace" [sic--and note that Shenk did not use individualistic language here].  October 8, 1882: wanted more "system" in the work of the ministers, writing that conferences too often discuss, then decide nothing; also some reference to views about musical instruments.  January 6, 1883: did not want a "salaried ministry" but thought maybe there should be support for those who visit scattered persons such as Andrew Crook famiily.  December 17, 1883,  reference to communication with "bro. Jacob Krehbiel of Clarence Centre N. Y.": also wants that Coffman "might be eneabled [sic] to go "in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Peace."  April 29, 1884: some personal remarks about C. B. Brenneman and Henry Brenneman.  August 29, 1884 and July 8, 1886:  about "Sister Lessie," girls going to Missouri, etc. [See also two letters from Lessie Shank ("Shank" not "Shenk") to Coffman, in "Correspondence--miscellaneous, S folder; they read as if maybe Lessie had lost her husband and been left with a family of girls.] More about her in other letters.  September 9, 1886, elaborated on what was apparently a dispute among relatives about Lessie and her girls moving to  Missouri (with concern about the welfare especially of "Ada."  July 8, 1886: ". . . The principles of non-resistance and nonconformity to the world are strictly scriptural and can be traced back in the history of the church to the Waldensian age or farther...."  [Note reference to Waldensians as predecessors, not Anabaptists.]  In mid-1880s quite a few letters about going to Missouri.  September 18, 1887: on Prohibition and Local Option--Shenk favored Prohibition but was confused about whether to vote for it; same letter refers to Malinda Good joining the church.  May 30, 1888:  had some concerns about the church at Elkhart.  January 17, 1890: about using "Hall's treatment" for health.  August 30, 1881: unfavorable remarks about "Menno" (surely Menno S. Steiner); more favorable toward John F. Funk; more on Steiner, September 11, 1891.  September 11, 1891, about correspondence he was having with someone regarding nonresistance.
Folder 21: Shenk, John (Bishop J. M. Shenk), 1879-1887, 1892-1895Add to your cart.
About 20 letters, signed variously John Shenk, J. Shenk, or John and Fanny Shenk--not J. M. Shenk until the 1890s, though clearly he was the same person.  Shenk was a brother of Daniel Shenk and of Andrew Shenk; they in turn were nephews of John M. Brenneman and of Daniel Brenneman.  These letters convey tone of great piety, and of concern about bring precious souls into the church.  March 14, 1881: that he was writing an article on "Nonconformity to the world and Uniformity in Dress" [sic]; elaborates about the question of attire.  June 20, 1881:  that "D. B. [Daniel Brenneman] is holding a protracted meeting almost in sight of his Brother J. M. B. [John M. Brenneman]"; Shenk obviously disapproved.  The letters demonstrate that a supporter and confidant of Coffman could be quite conservative.
Folder 22: Smith, J. B. [Jacob B. Smith], 1896-1898Add to your cart.
1/4" stack, almost surely from the J. B. Smith who later taught at Hesston College and then became the first president of Eastern Mennonite School [later College, and still later University].  These letters are almost all datelined Ada, Ohio (site of a teacher-training school many young Mennonites of Ohio attended), the last two at New Stark, Ohio, then Garden City, Missouri.  (In the folder's first letter, November 5, 1896, Smith wrote: "I am studying Eng. Literature, Sc of Rhetoric and am reading Homer & Tacitus.)  Smith's tone was that of an earnest young Christian worker.  He was becoming a church scholar and later in life (1870-1951) would teach at new Hesston College then become the first president of Eastern Mennonite School (later renamed "University").  As a Bible teacher he would be thoroughly premillennialist and Mennonite-Fundamentalist.  January 29, 1897 ff: interested in teaching at Elkhart Institute.  April 2, 1897: gives his grades for the term. May 3, 1897; see also May 22, 1897: understood that now "all concerned" favored his appointment at Elkhart, so was reluctant to accept (but then he did, but the Institute moved too slowly, and Smith became apparently a schoolteacher and perhaps a  minister in Missouri). April 20, 1898, on severing a relationship with girlfriend "Addie" as he was leaving for Missouri.
Folder 23: Smith, John O., 1883-1898Add to your cart.
1/4" stack, very fragile.  Writer may have been the John Smith b. 1824 in Germany and d. July 24, 1916 (listed in Gospel Herald's obituary without his middle initial); his wife was Susan Coffman, so he may have been a relative of John S.  Some letters undated, some do not show the year, and none have a place of dateline (although one has an envelope attached postmarked at Clarence Centre [New York?]).  These are letters of an intensely religious person whose style was more spiritual than coherent.  They are commentary on doctrinal and biblical points, personal spirituality, local church matters (including spiritual coldness of too many), etc.
Folder 24: Sowers, Annie and Rachel, 1880-1888 & unspecifiedAdd to your cart.
Half-dozen items, datelined Hampshire County, Virginia (sometimes Pleasant Dale, in that county).  Writers were a bit colloquial both in vocabulary and spelling.  They wrote to both John S. and his wife, quite personally and about health matters and local news (which seems not to come from the heart of the Mennonite community).  And they look to the Coffmans for spiritual guidance.
Folder 25: Steiner, M. S. [Menno Simon], 1888, 1891, 1893-1899Add to your cart.

3/8" stack.  For M. S. Steiner, see his collection of papers, which contains letters from Coffman to Steiner.

These letters are what one would expect of these two active leaders of the Quickening, with Steiner one of Coffman's proteges.  Personal news, church news from Steiner's many travels, seeking of advice, laments about the unQuickened, and during Steiner's Chicago interlude, news from the Home Mission of course. On politics, writing from Oberlin study, September 26, 1991: "Today was McKinley day for the [area and college] ... but we Seminary boys are expected to have a nobler work, than to take part in or to hear much of our corrupted politics, so our studies went on a usual"; however, did go see & hear "the great McKinley in the afternoon"; he gave a great speech on tariff etc. but never mentioned temperance.  October 22, 1891:  that selection of ministers by lot was a great disaster for the Mennonite church.  November 8, 1891: comments on nonresistance (pacifism) and other doctrines; on Higher Criticism; and about his lady friend [later Clara Eby Steiner?].  July 3, 1893: on having the second Sunday School conference in Ohio.  Letters have quite a few comments on "Bender" (probably D. H. Bender, Daniel H. Bender), and occasionally on others:  Abram B. Kolb, Phoebe Kolb, S. F. Coffman, C. Z. Yoder, Dr. and Alice Page, E. J. Berkey, Aaron Loucks, J. S. Shoemaker, C. K. Hostetler, etc.  April 27, 1997: on forming the charger for "'the Benevolent Organization of Mennonites'."  (For a time, this folder's letters are on letterhead of the Home Mission in Chicago.)   June 6, 1894: Illinois Conference leaders were quite amenable toward the benevolent organization, but Indiana ones were pretty stiff; meanwhile S. F. was "getting stirred up on the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] question and wants a special blessing" and "at the Home  [Home Mission?] we are now 'tarrying' for the special blessing of the Spirit."  [Second work of grace?  Anyhow, Steiner approves.]  April 4, 1895: Steiner being somewhat petulant, complaining of treatment, at leat partly about money.  August 4, 1895: favorable comments about Egli Amish, Stuckey Amish, etc., but not about "'Alliance folks', Brenneman [surely Daniel Brenneman Mennonite Brethren in Christ] second work [second work of grace] preachers, immersionists quacks ects. [sic]." or the "Sprungerites" [John A. Sprunger followers]. September 22, 1897: had given a "Men Only" lecture on "The Curse of Manhood".....   September 22, 1897: begins alluding to estrangement from some at Elkhart, pleads that he wants to be Coffman's friend.  July 15, 1899: very warm expressions from both M. S. and Clara.

Folder 26: Weaver, Anna, 1880-1892Add to your cart.
Six letters, 7 cards, one letter fragment.  Writer, nee Anna Hoover, was born in Ontario and reared there and near Goshen, Indiana.  She married Joseph W. Weaver, born in Pennsylvania and then moved to Elida, Ohio.  In their marriage they lived on farms six and four miles east of Goshen and apparently were members of Clinton Brick Mennonite Church.  (After her husband died in 1904, she moved to Goshen the town.)  Her spelling was erratic, but otherwise shw wrote quite well.  The greetings in her letters were generally to "Bro. and sister" Coffman, and the tone and content were very much those of family friends.  Often she mentioned his coming to preeach (or failing to do so), and so there is some church news.
Folder 27: Wenger-surnamed correspondents, 1880, 1885, 1890-1899Add to your cart.
3/8" stack from correspondents surnamed Wenger.  Perhaps half are from A. D. Wenger, written from 1895 to 1899 from various places, mostly in eastern or central Pennsylvania.  (Amos D. Wenger, 1867-1935, was one of the young evangelists who looked to Coffman as a mentor, did much traveling, served as a pastor in Missouri, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and in 1922 became president of Eastern Mennonite School [later, University].)  Multiple letters also from  Solomon B. Wenger [S. B. Wenger--a Virginia-born leader (1857-1941) who did much to build a Mennonite church and community at South English, Iowa]; Clemens D. Wenger [C. D. Wenger]; John G. Wenger.
Folder 28: Yoder, A. I., 1894-1897Add to your cart.
3/16" stack.  No obituary of A. I. Yoder found; until 1932 he was listed by initials "A. I." rather than name as a bishop in the Ohio MC conference.  One letter datelined from Chicago Home Mission and the remainder from McEwen, Dickson County, Tennessee.  (See GAMEO entry for Dickson County.)  The Tennessee letters say much about the situation in Dickson County.
Folder 29: Letters of Coffman mostly TO: Zook, Lina [later Lina Ressler, Lina Zook Ressler, spouse of J. A. Ressler, Jacob A. Ressler]., 1889-1892Add to your cart.
About a dozen letters plus a New-Year poem that evidently Zook had sent in for publication in the Herald of Truth but  which Coffman sent back for revision.  Letters are about that and other writings of possible writings by Zook; her work and situation as an active worker in Sunday school etc.; spiritual encouragement; events or church life in Wayne County [Ohio] and at Elkhart; etc.  February 24 (1891?): a bit about two young women, Mary Snyder and Emma Snyder of Ontario, both in "their upper twenties," who despite dressy friends now were "willing to be plain and put on the sister's prayer-covering" [attire].  Some letters are from Zook to Coffman.  The letters show a warm personal and spiritual friendship by certainly nothing improper. (In the early 20th century Lina, married to Jacob A. Ressler, would be a pioneer missionary to India and then, after returning because of health, the "Aunt Lina" of the children's paper Words of Cheer to whom children wrote, and editor of another paper, Beams of Light.)
Folder 30: Letters at time of John S. Coffman's death, 1899Add to your cart.
1/2" stack.  Letters from a variety of people, including e.g. J. B. Smith and J. S. Shoemaker.
Sub-Series 2: Correspondence - familyAdd to your cart.
Correspondence to or from relatives:  J. S. and Elizabeth's (Bettie's, Betty's) immediate families, their siblings and in-laws, and some uncles, aunts, and cousins.  NOTE: Very probably some such letters and collections of letters have not been identified as from relatives and are therefore in "Correspondence - general" or "Correspondence - miscellaneous"; vice versa, possibly not every letter in the "Correspondence - relatives" folder is actually from a close relative. but a misfiling in that direction is much less likely.  A large percentage of letters in the "Correspondence - family" subseries are from the State of Virginia.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Coffman, J. S., with his wife Elizabeth (Betty or Bettie or Elizabeth [Heatwole]) and family (including "Annie"), 1877-1891Add to your cart.

3/8" stack.  Written during Coffman's many travels--mostly letters of him to Elizabeth, although many addressed also to the family, including "Annie."  (The Coffman and the Heatwoles relatives included various women named Anna or Annie, but none seem to fit as, e.g., an unmarried sister or aunt living with Elizabeth as John S. traveled.  Nor does the Coffmans' youngest daughter, Anna Barbara, fit the pattern *.)  Tones are loving and tender, but there is not much that shows sharing of decisions, etc.  A few letters are from Elizabeth to John, although she does not seem comfortable putting her thoughts in writing, and her grammar and spelling while fairly good also have flaws and certainly are not equal to his.

(Folder also includes an undated letter, with Jacob, Ansel, Fannie, and Dannie, and Barbara all writing as children, on the same sheet.)

*NOTE:  It seems quite possible that "Annie" was an orphan living with the Coffmans and helping with housework, very much as part of the family but also for pay.  A John S. Coffman account book (box 8, f. 2) has a page of financial transactions with an "Annie R. Sowers" in 1875, she being paid 50 cents/week.  It mentions that she had attended school for a time (apparently Nov 6 to March 10).  The Federal census of 1870 shows an Anna R. Sowers, age 11, illiterate, living in Augusta County, Virginia.  One might guess from the layout of the census record that she was an orphan: she seems not to have been living with others named Sowers, but possibly with two women named Shickle who possibly had other minors living with them (as if perhaps operating a foster home).  The references to Annie in the Coffman family letters are consistent with that guess, but certainly do not prove the case.

Folder 2: Coffman, J. S., with his and Elizabeth's children.  #1 William (W. P. Coffman, William P. Coffman, William Perry Coffman.), 1895-1899Add to your cart.
Three letters.  Two datelined at Elkhart, Indiana: Auguist 14, 1895, on printing jobs (apparently at Mennonite Publishing Company), allusion to need for some shake-up at Elkhart Institute, etc.; July 1, 1899, responding to a card from J. S. and gratified at news that J. S.'s stay at the sanitarium might be "doing you some good", urging him not to worry about the cost, and gently warning not to expect too much.  One from Dale Enterprise, Virginia, from "W. P. and Lydia Coffman & Mary Smith," July 27, 1899, news from travelers, and refereces to L. J. Heatwole, also to Dr. Good and his practice in "the valley."  (W. P.'s dates were 1871-1964?;  his brother Daniel's obituary in 1940 listed William as living at Burbank, Calfornia.)
Folder 3: Coffman, J. S., with his and Elizabeth's children.  #2 Samuel (Fred, Freddie, S. F. Coffman, Samuel F. Coffman, Samuel Frederick Coffman), November 1889Add to your cart.
One postcard, a letter, November 28, 1889, J. S. to "Samuel.  My dear Boy."  News from J. S.'s travels, and then giving permission for Samuel to make decisions about the farm but also offering advice.  Samuel's dates are 1872-1954, so he was about 17 in 1889.  He later attended Moody Bible Institute, and eventually became a prominent bishop at Vineland, Ontario (fundamentalist in doctrine but irenic in spirit.)
Folder 4: Coffman, J. S., with his and Elizabeth's children.  #3 Jacob (Jacob Coffman, Jacob Manassa Coffman), 1889-1898Add to your cart.
Four letters, 2 postcards.  Jacob Manasses Coffman (August 18, 1873 - April 13, 1932) was the third son and seems to have left the Mennonite Church in his adulthood (see his Gospel Herald obituary). (For an additional, undated letter, with Jacob, Ansel, Fannie, and Dannie, and Barbara all writing as children, on the same sheet, see Folder 7.) One letter he wrote as a 16-year is about his grades; others, from his 20s, are about what the family was doing and what was happening in church.  Once (as a 24-year old) he used the "n" word for a person of color.
Folder 5: Coffman, J. S., with his and Elizabeth's children.  #4 Ansel (Ansel Victor Coffman), 1886-1896Add to your cart.
Five letters of Ansel--Ansel Victor Coffman--to his father, one Ansel to "Dear Folks," and three from 3 (obviously youthful) men named Rittenhouse (probably brothers) to Ansel. His brother Daniel's obituary in 1940 listed Ansel as living at Los Angeles, California.  Apparently Ansel Victor Coffman lived 1875-1941 (and probably was buried in Onarga Township Cemetery near Los Angeles).  He may not have been Mennonite at his death (no Gospel Herald obituary, at least), although at 21 he was writing warmly of wanting effective church work done.  The folder's letters are about personal, local, and church matters.
Folder 6: Coffman, J. S., with his and Elizabeth's children.  #5 Fannie (Fannie Coffman, Fannie Elizabeth Coffman Landis, Fannie Landis), 1886, 1891, 1895-1898Add to your cart.
1/2" stack.  (For an additional, undated letter, with Jacob, Ansel, Fannie, Dannie, Barbara all writing as children, on the same sheet, see Folder 7.) Fannie was born January 29, 1877, attended Elkhart Institute, and in 1906 married a John Christian Landis.  She has no Gospel Herald obituary unless she remarried and had another name; neither apparently does her husband.  Her brother Daniel's obituary in 1940 listed Fannie as living at Elkhart, Indiana. Letters are datelined Elkhart, Indiana, and well written. They begin with a childish one in 1886; from 1895 on Fannie seems to have been the family's main writer to John S. or often to both father and mother, and the letters are numerous, with detailed news about her siblings and sometimes her mother.  There is one letter of J. S. to her, February 25, 1895.  August 12, 1895: "I was out to the Camp meeting...."  In addition to family news, letters have news of a great many different persons, often people coming and going at Elkhart;  The letters are somewhat bland, but at least never mean-spirited or gossipy.  Frequent references to J. S.'s health.  December 9, 1896: about a "women only" lecture that Elkhart Institute students attended.  March 26, 1897: Mother went down to the Presbyterian church yesterday to year [special preacher] Mr. Yatman; she was delighted with his sermon and does not wonder that the rest of us like to hear him."  May 14, 1998:  "The Temperance program last evening was very good...."  November 26, 1898: "John Landis is here on a vacation...."
Folder 7: Coffman, J. S., with his and Elizabeth's children.  #6 Daniel (Daniel Jacob Coffman), 1886, 1889, 1895 and undatedAdd to your cart.
Seven letters.  The dates of Daniel Jacob Coffman were: born April 22, 1879; died April 7, 1940.  The first letter (September 16, 1886) is very much a child's letter, signed "Dannie". Two in 1889 are of J. S. writing to Daniel "My dear Boy."  The next two (November 21, 1895, December 23, 1896) are very adult in handwriting and composition, with the interests and outlook of a maturing youth interested in local and church matters.  Daniel's Gospel Herald obituary indicates he died at Logansport, Indiana but with the funeral and interment at Elkhart with J. S. Hartzler (minister at Prairie Street, formerly administrator at Elkhart Institute in the time of J. S. Coffman, then of Goshen College) conducting.  (Note: there was a state mental hospital at Logansport; had Daniel been committed there?)
Folder 8: Coffman, J. S., with his and Elizabeth's children.  #7 Anna Barbara (Anna Barbara Coffman Bontrager, Anna Coffman, Barbara Coffman, Anna Bontrager), 1895, 1898Add to your cart.
Four letters, the first three signed "Barbara Coffman", the last one "Anna B. Coffman." (For an additional, undated letter, with Jacob, Ansel, Fannie, Dannie, and Barbara all writing as children, on the same sheet, see Folder 7.) Anna was born March 12, 1881, was called by her middle name "Barbara" until sometime in adolescence, and married Jacob Benjamin Bontrager in 1917; when he died in 1945 she survived him and apparently they were members at Prairie Street Church in Elkhart Indiana.  (Her brother Daniel's obituary in 1940 also had the couple in Elkhart.)  The first three letters (all from 1895) are somewhat juvenile, the last (1898) has more mature handwriting and style; all are about local and family subjects.
Folder 9: Postcards J. S. to his home in his final days, June-July 1899Add to your cart.
Seven postcards signed "affectionately, father," postmarked Battle Creek, Michigan (where Coffman spent his last days at a sanitarium), June 27 - July 8, 1899.
Folder 10: Coffman, J. S., to his parents and siblings (+ siblings' spouses), 1878-1899Add to your cart.
1/4" stack.  Some addressed to brothers and sisters as well as to parents.  Letters are very familial in character, e.g. about state of the garden or about someone sick; but a researcher could glean information about the church in particular places as J. S. traveled and visited.  Late ones of course give information about J. S.'s health.
Folder 11: Coffman children to grandparents, 1891-1901Add to your cart.
Three letters and some envelopes.  Letters:  Ansel  to  “Grandfather and Grandmother” (whether Coffman or Heatwole not indicated), April 18, 1891, with news about Elkhart people, including the Mumaws (H. A. & family?); William P. to Grandmother (probably Coffman—his grandfather Samuel Coffman was deceased in 1897, his Heatwole grandparents both living), February 26, 1897, on family matters; Daniel to Grandmother (again, probably Coffman), January 2, 1891, family news.
Folder 12: Coffman D. H. [D. H. Coffman, Daniel H. Coffman, older brother of J. S.] to parents Bishop Samuel Coffman and Frances Weaver Coffman [Frances Coffman], 1891-1901Add to your cart.
5 or 6 letters.  Daniel H. (1859-1941) was a brother of J. S. who also moved to Elkhart and worked for Mennonite Publishing Company, after which he moved east of Goshen and became a deacon in the Clinton Brick Mennonite church.  An 1891 letter to both parents (Samuel & Frances), thereafter (1896 ff) letters to his mother, Samuel having died in 1894.  Letters are about family matters—children, health, chickens, etc.  Some mention of J. S. and family.
Folder 13: Postcards to J. S. Coffman (most from Jacob B. Coffman) monitoring Bishop Samuel Coffman's condition in his last days, April - August 1994Add to your cart.
(Jacob B. Coffman was the next sibling older than J. S. Coffman.)  Through July, 1994 the postcards, sent from Rushville, Virginia, and addressed to J. S. Coffman at Elkhart, were almost daily.
Folder 14: John's siblings & their spouses (mostly in Virginia), 1870-1899Add to your cart.
1" stack of correspondence from J. S. Coffman's siblings and spouses.  Almost every sibling is represented, but especially quite a few letters from J. W. Minnich [John W. Minnich], dry-goods merchant at Dale Enterprise, Virginia, and husband of J. S.'s older sister Elizabeth [Elizabeth Coffman Minnich, Elizabeth Minnich].  Hardly any mention of J. S.’s spouse Elizabeth [Elizabeth Heatwole Coffman, Bettie Coffman, Betty Coffman] or her activities, except that she included in many salutations.  Letters vary in quality of spelling and grammar, but for the most part show pretty fair level of literacy..
Folder 15: Relatives of Elizabeth (Mrs. John S.: Elizabeth Heatwole Coffman, Elizabeth Coffman, Bettie Coffman, Betty Coffman)(mostly in Virginia)0., 1878-1890 and undatedAdd to your cart.
½” stack.  (See correspondence from Elizabeth’s brother L[ewis]. J[ames].  Heatwole  also.) Letters from many different writers, including Gabriel D. Heatwole (1834-1922, a minister at Dayton, Virginia, and no doubt Elizabeth’s brother); his are very pious.  Another frequent writer was Christian Good.  December 11, 1884: D. A. Heatwole wondered what John S. thought of a Virginia Conference ruling that members should not report a thief to authorities.  Most letters are about who was ill, and such news.  (One was about a scandal in which a married man [with a name common among Virginia Mennonites] had gotten a young woman pregnant and used poison to abort the child, the young woman died, he was arrested and would probably hang, etc.)
Folder 16: Coffman, J. S., to Joseph W. Coffman (or Joseph and Sallie Coffman) [Sarah Heatwole Coffman; Sallie Heatwole Coffman], 1879-1898Add to your cart.
NOTE letters TO, not from. (For letters FROM Joseph see Folder 17.) Joseph W. Coffman (1857-1933) was a brother of John S. and would be ordained in 1907; in 1879 he had married Sarah (Sallie) Heatwole; at his death they lived near Dayton, Virginia, and she survived.  Letters are warmly relational, based on both family and religious ties; they give admonition (e.g., "I think you, Joseph, could improve yourself" and that Joseph might write occasionally "for the Herald"), family news (e.g., gardening), etc.  Variously signed by J.S. or John or John S. or by J.S.--or John S.  and Bettie, etc.  August 11, 1983:  "I am very poor in money."  January 8, 1890: extended dicussion of J.S. and Bettie's financial state.  Much news of J. S.'s travels and observations about the spirituality of the churches where he went.  The letters, like many others, show that J. S.was a master of the personal-letter-writing art.
Folder 17: Coffman, Joseph W. [TO J. S. Coffman], 1891-1899Add to your cart.
(For letters of J. S. to Joseph, see Folder 16.)  Joseph W. Coffman (1857-1933) was a brother of John S. and would be ordained in 1907; in 1879 he had married Sarah (Sallie) Heatwole; at his death they lived near Dayton, Virginia, and she survived.  Letters, datelined Rushville, Virginia, are very much family letters but include very many comments on church matters.  There is much material on local church affairs in Virginia, especially at the Weavers congregation (with frequent mention of L. J. Heawole).  Much also about what was going on among local Dunkards (Church of the Brethren).  Quite a bit about weather, farmwork, gardens, etc.  February 27, 1894: about helping their father (Bishop Samuel Coffman) arrange his affairs to avoid taxes on bonds at his death and to equalize inheritances.  June 13, 1896: charges by some in the local church that "we" are on the side of Elkhart, etc.  One letter is from a niece, Lillie             .
Folder 18: Heatwole, L. J.  [L. J. Heatwole, Lewis J. Heawole, Lewis James Heatwole] to Coffman, 1879-1882Add to your cart.
Letters TO Coffman.   [L. J. Heatwole, Lewis J. Heawole, Lewis James Heatwole] to Coffman. Letters in other, nearby L. J. Heatwole folders may offer further relevant information.  Heatwole, a teacher, weather-record-keeper, minister, and then bishop at Dale Enterprise, Virginia (and briefly in Missouri), was a brother-in-law to Coffman (married to Coffman's sister Mary [Mollie]) and very active intellectually and as a Virginia Mennonite churchman in his own right.  Some letters are signed "Lewis & Mollie" or some variation of that, or "Lewis, Mollie & Fannie," but all seem to be in Lewis' handwriting.  The letters show deep friendship as well as church and family subjects, engagement with Funk's activities at Elkhart, and sometimes weather matters.  Some reference to Coffman's father, Bishop Samuel Coffman.
Folder 19: Heatwole, L. J.  [L. J. Heatwole, Lewis J. Heawole, Lewis James Heatwole] to Coffman, 1883-1888Add to your cart.
Letters TO Coffman.  Letters in other, nearby L. J. Heatwole folders may offer further relevant information..  Heatwole, a teacher, weather-record-keeper, minister, and then bishop at Dale Enterprise, Virginia (and briefly in Missouri), was a brother-in-law to Coffman (married to Coffman's sister Mary [Mollie]) and very active intellectually and as a Virginia Mennonite churchman in his own right.  The letters show deep friendship as well as church and family subjects, engagement with Funk's activities at Elkhart, and sometimes weather matters.  Some deal with the idea of moving west.
Folder 20: Heatwole, L. J.  [L. J. Heatwole, Lewis J. Heawole, Lewis James Heatwole] to Coffman, 1889-1899Add to your cart.
Letters TO Coffman.  Letters in other, nearby L. J. Heatwole folders may offer further relevant information.. Heatwole, a teacher, weather-record-keeper, minister, and then bishop at Dale Enterprise, Virginia (and briefly in Missouri), was a brother-in-law to Coffman (married to Coffman's sister Mary [Mollie]) and very active intellectually and as a Virginia Mennonite churchman in his own right.  Some letters are signed "Lewis & Mollie" or some variation of that, or "Lewis, Mollie & Fannie," but all seem to be in Lewis' handwriting.  The letters show deep friendship as well as church and family subjects, engagement with Funk's activities at Elkhart, and sometimes weather matters.  Most letters are datelined Dale Enterprise, Rockingham County, Virginia, but in those from part of 1891, beginning August 7, are from Garden City, Missouri (or one, from Olathe, Kansas); then from late 1891 there is a gap until 1895, when letters again are from Dale Enterprise.  Some letters take up church troubles in Virginia, including controversy over whether to accept Heatwole's ordination as bishop when in Missouri.  July 20, 1897: on who in Virginia Conference's Middle District was demanding an end to Quickening activities--Sunday schools, "Series of meetings," and missions.  September 17, 1897: a letter addressed to Daniel Kauffman, Versailles, Missouri, regarding Missouri matters and the proposal for a General Conference.
Folder 21: Coffman, J. S., TO  L. J.  Heatwole [Lewis J. Heatwole, Lewis James Heatwole] and "Mollie" [Mary Heatwole, Mary Coffman Heatwole], 1881-1899Add to your cart.
NOTE letters TO the Heatwoles, not from.  3/8" stack, addressed variously to "Lewis and Mollie (or Mary)" or Lewis and Mollie Heatwole" or "L. J. Heatwole."  Letters in other, nearby L. J. Heatwole folders may offer further relevant information.  Lewis James (1952-1932) and Mary (Mollie) Coffman Heatwole--she, 1847-1926, sister to J. S. and twin of Joseph Coffman--lived at Dale Enterprise, Virginia. Lewis was ordained minister in 1887, bishop in 1892, and was quite a writer himself (in letters, church papers, and evidently the local paper).  He also kept weather records and offered forecasts.  January 1881: refers to "meeting" singing classes, apparently at Yellow Creek and Clinton Frame churches: "I get $2.00 per lesson."  This is an exceptionally valuable collection for studying J. S.'s person--his emotions, religiosity, interests, style, etc.--and the Coffman family, and the workings of Funk's Mennonite Publishing Company, new Quickening activities (e.g. Sunday school conferences), troubles at Elkhart, and more.  Coffman made many observations about persons, especially those who were forming the "Quickening" but even the "printer's devils" and choreboys who worked in the firm.  January 19, 1898: a very revealing letter as the difficulties between Funk and young Quickening activists, or between Mennonite Publishing Company and the Mennonite Book and Tract Society, began to brew.  ("The M. P. C. has in large measure monopolized the book trade of the church...."  Coffman wrote that he was working hard to make peace but that Funk and J. S. Lehman [Joseph S. Lehman] were not cooperating.  Etc.  Coffman expected "a 'blow up' of some kind" and "I expect to get hurt in the collision."  Was praying that God would "keep me in a sweet spirit...  But Satin is going to lie me into disrepute if possible.")  There was to be a members' meeting at the church.  "Many of the members have not felt well toward Bro. Funk for years....  I think Bro. Funk has many noble qualities, and noble purposes."  Etc.  (Coffman seemed to see J. S. Lehman as the real culprit.)  January 23:  "...I thank the Lord that the matter has been brought to a conclusion...[that is] so nearly satisfactory...." (But the rest of the letter is not so optimistic.)  Coffman speaks of intent to make a confession before the church.  Following letters give more about the Elkhart troubles and Coffman's being resigned to them.  June 9, 1898, re Elkhart Institute:  "Bro. Mumaw withdrew from the school, because he could not have absolute control", and was now "fighting to kill it."  July 12, 1898:  was working to get young people attending the Insitute into "better church order."  Last letter (January 16, 1899):  "Nothing has been done to settle our troubles.  A revival might settle us all according to His will and grace.  May it be so."
Folder 22: Heatwole, Reuben J. and Margaret, 1865-1896 and numerous undatedAdd to your cart.
Reuben J. Heatwole (R. J. Heatwole, February 27, 1847-June 7, 1921) moved as a youth [escaping the Civil War Confederacy's draft?] to Maryland and then Illinois, and by 1873 to Kansas, where he lived first in Marion County and later in Harvey and McPherson Counties.  He was a cousin of John S.'s wife Elizabeth, or Bettie (specifically, a first cousin of Bettie's father John G. Heatwole), and also a brother of the famous Susannah Heatwole Brunk Cooprider). An entry in GAMEO describes him as an "active ... layman on the the Kansas and Colorado frontier," pointing out that he "taught singing schools, helped organize Sunday schools and churches, served on the [church-wide Mennonite] Evangelizing Committee" and assisted ministers "and evangelistic services" (--Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online).  He married a Margaret Kilmer.  From the outset he wrote as a close friend of Coffman.  An early letter (April 11, 1865) is datelined Henry County, Illinois, with a typed transcription of that letter; that one comments on relationships with young women and on events as the Civil War was nearing its end.  (Once peace was well established, Heatwole intended to return to Virginia).  Thereafter, datelines are: Aikinson [Atkinson?], Illinois, and in Kansas: Newton; Peabody.  In 1887 he wrote from Dale Enterprise, Viriginia  in 1889 from East Lyme, Missouri, in 1890 again from Newton, Kansas, in 1896 from Trousdale, Kansas.  Letters intermix church conflicts with earnest and intense personal spiritual struggles and financial difficulties. The letters are to some extent familial in character, sometimes addressed to Bettie or to John and Bettie, but they are even more about church matters and especially personal expression of spirituality and faith.  There are a number of undated and/or fragmentary items.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: John's broader family (mostly cousins, some uncles and aunts), mostly in Virginia, 1862-1898Add to your cart.
1/2" stack.  The early letters in this folder show that there was a circle of cousins who were close friends.  They make some reference to church and sometimes weave in some piety, but are mainly about family events, community events, farm news, and personal matters--not much of a source for church news.  Quite frequent references to singing: evidently the family were avid in the Virginia singing-school tradition.  With a few exceptions,  good spelling, grammar, and syntax; often rather formal, school-taught style of letter-writing even though these are personal, not business letters.  Multiple letters from cousins in Greenbriar County, West Virginia, including multiple ones from W. G (?) Coffman.  W. G. (?) Coffman, July 25, 1870 [race, Negroes]:  "We have pretty lively times out here now.  'The colored population of Virginia,' [sic, phrase in quot. marks] are coming out here to work on the Rail Road and I guess we will have plenty of voters pretty soon."  John & Fannie Shank of Elida, Ohio, Feb. 21, 1875:  that J. M. Brenneman [John M.] had preached "earnestly" that of "the importance of trying to live to the honor of God and of glorifying his name....  [Let us cheerfully bear the yoke of Christ . . . [and] pray to him to make us more and more like him "Meek and lowly in heart...", etc. June 14, 1969, some reference to Dunkard meetings in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.  October 21, 1879: a letter with some political commentary (apparently the only one).  After J. S. and Elizabeth (Bettie) married in 1869, most letters are addressed to both; however, they have very little reference to her or her activities and interests.  Folder includes a few letters from Henry B. Brenneman (H. B. Brenneman), apparently the man whose obituary Mennonbits lists as "Henry R. Brenneman," obituary in Herald of Truth (Oct. 15, 1887), 318-19; if so, he wrote the "Brother Henry" column in the Herald of Truth.
Folder 2: Some Brunk-surnamed relatives of John S., 1879-1891Add to your cart.

Multiple letters each, from C. H. Brunk, Perry E. Brunk, and Samuel Brunk (or Samuel and Susannah Brunk).  A card and two letters from George or George and Mary Brunk, one from John G. Brunk.  C. H., John G., and Perry clearly identified themselves as cousins; George and Mary,  and Samuel and Susannah, did not specify that they were relatives..

From C. H. Brunk:  About 15 letters, often addressing Coffman as "Cousin.".  This is probably the Christian Brunk, son of Mary ("Polly"), a sister of John S.'s mother (he signed as "C. H. Brunk" and is probably the one whom the Gospel Herald obituary (d. May 7, 1921) identified only as C. H.  C. H. Brunk's letters indicate interest in music, and probably he is the C. H. Brunk who wrote some Sunday school music books.  According to the obituatry he was an activist of the kind who associated with Coffman, and late in life was on the Board of trustees of Eastern Mennonite School.  Letters are datelined Dale Enterprise, Virginia, and Harrisonburg, Virginia.

From George and Mary and from John G.:  Two letters from George and Mary Brunk of Broadway, Virginia, who presumably were uncle and aunt of John S. (Mary--called "Polly" being a sister of John S.'s mother Frances Weaver Coffman); if so, George and Mary were also parents of the C.H.and the Perry represented in this folder; one of the letters refers at length to Perry in tones suggesting the relationship.  The John G. Brunk letter is unremarkable.

From Perry E. Brunk: half-dozen letters, some with much about weather and crops, others more about church and spiritual matters.  In 1881 a reference to Andrew Crook in Indiana.

As for Samuel and Susannah Brunk, probably Samuel was son of another sister of John S. Coffman's mother, Anna, who also married a Brunk; that Samuel married Susannah Hartman.  (George and Mary also had a son named Samuel, but he apparently was known as "Samuel C. Brunk," and he married Anna Shank).  The letters from Samuel and Susannah number about 15 or 20, are datelined Harrisonburg, Virginia, and covey local news and church matters.

Folder 3: Relatives surnamed Good (Elizabeth's sisters' marriages), 1879-1898Add to your cart.

Letters of DeWitt Good (son of Elizabeth Coffman's sister Maria), of Solomon B. Good (son of Elizabeth's sister Anna), and of Susan and minister Henry H. Good of Elida, Ohio (Susan apparently being Susannah, sister of Elizabeth).  DeWitt Good spent some time on the Chicago Home Mission staff, and some working for Mennonite Publishing Company at Elkhart; some of his letters are from Chicago and/or on mission's letterhead' others from Berlin, Ontario, Elkhart, Indiana, Dale Enterprise, Virginia (his "home"?), and he wrote about attending various church meetings with much mention of preachers, church leaders, etc., with some mention of content of programs.  Eventually DeWitt Good became a Homeopathic doctor at Dale Enterprise, Virginia, and he may have left the Mennonite Church, for apparently the Gospel Herald has no obituary of him.

The letters of Henry H. and Susan Good are not very remarkable (except for the very poor spelling of those apparently written by Henry, even though he mentioned sending in an article for Herald of Truth).

Solomon R. Good (March 3, 1871 - May 17, 1933), wrote first from Ottawa, Illinois, then from Sterling, Illinois.  His first letter had him staying with "Uncle Noah Brunk" and inviting Coffman to stop with them, as they were away from any Mennonite church.  Coffman apparently said yes (but letters give no clear record that he did). Letter of January 17, 1896 refers to Good's "Sterling girl."  (A later one referred to "Mattie"; Good's Gospel Herald obituary says " He came to Sterling in the spring of 1897, and on Jan. 27, 1898, was united in marriage to Martha Burkholder. Bro. J.S. Coffman of Elkhart Ind., performing the ceremony")..  April 5, 1896: liked a lecture Coffman had given ("Spirit of Progress" lecture?);  also expresses desire to be of more service to the Master.  January 10, 1898, from Sterling: that "Cousin Fred" had been holding meetings there [S. F. Coffman (Samuel Frederick Coffman)?].

Folder 4: Rhodes, Agnes and Mary A. and Mary E., 1894-1897Add to your cart.

1/4" stack, interesting especially for women's roles in evangelism.

The family relationship of these Rhodeses to John and Betty Coffman is unclear.  Betty's mother Elizabeth was nee Rhodes but seems to have had only sisters.  Agnes and Mary A. addressed J. S. only as "Dear Brother in Christ."  Mary E. (one letter only) addressed him as "Dear cousin and Bro. in Christ."

Some letters from Agnes were datelined Hinton (Rockingham County), Virginia, and some from Melrose, Carroll County, Maryland where Agnes wrote she was doing mission work.  A tone of Coffman's being a spiritual mentor.  Apparently Agnes was an invalid, or partially so, who spoke freely of spiritual matters to visitors who came, who felt herself at least partly healed at a visit from Coffman, and who did some writing for church papers. She reported writing a book about her own life, and inquired about cost of having Mennonite Publishing Company produce it. Though of course not a preacher, "I spoke [at Mines Church] to a large audience."

Mary E. Rhodes, addressed Coffman as "Cousin and Bro. in Christ" in a letter of June 1, 1896.  Another letter that seems to be in the same handwriting and lacks any initial in the signature, written in March, 1895, is on stationery of the Chicago Home Mission and seems to be about internal frictions among the staff of the mission. Mary A. wrote in rather different handwriting from Melrose, Maryland and Hinton, Rockingham County, Virginia.  A letter from Hinton has a letterhead topped with the name "Mary A.Rhodes" and identifying her as "Secretary & Treasurer of I. H. N. Circle of the Shut-In Friend, Published [sic] by Chas. T. Zepp" of Melrose, Md.  March 9, 1897.  That letter tells of trips where she did evangelizing work; one one to eastern and southern Virginia, "After working very hard for two weeks I got good many people convinced ... that Christ was, and is their personal Saviour [sic]," including a very sinful young man of 22; she had also counseled a "black" or "darkey" woman [race; Negroes] who timidly came to her as a spiritual seeker.

Sub-Series 3: Correspondence - miscellaneousAdd to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 5: A - B, 1868-1899Add to your cart.
5/8" stack of letters from various people whose surnames begin with A or B. Multiple letters from:  Adam Baer; Mary S. Benner; John Blosser (President of Mennonitee Book and Tract Society), Noah O. Blosser (N. O. Blosser of New Stark Ohio, 1859-1936, teacher, sometime writer in Herald of Truth, pastor of Chapel Mennonite Church in Ohio),C, M. Brackbill (Christian M. Brackbill, of Gap, Pennsylvania, an early Sunday school worker then ordained as minister in 1896, later would be a bishop); Isaiah Brewer; John H. Brunk, C. W. Burkholder; S. M. Burkholder (Samuel M. Burkholder).  [Note: the correspondents named Brunk are especially likely to be relatives of John S., as two of his mother's sisters married Brunks and had substantial families; but evidence of such relatedness was not clear.]
Folder 6: C - E, 1868, 1879-1899Add to your cart.
3/4" stack of letters from various people whose surnames begin with C through E.  Multiple letters from:  Annie M. Charles, Barbara E. Cladabuck; Mary S. Denlinger; Joseph W. Driver [Joseph N. Driver?]; John N. Durr (about 10); the Ebersoles of Sterling, Illinois (Abram Ebersole, Amos A. Ebersole; Melinda Ebersole; Solomon Ebersole).  Also letters from John D. Charles (J. D. Charles) and from Isaac W Eby.
Folder 7: F - G, 1879-1899Add to your cart.
1/2" stack of letters from people whose surnames began F or G.  Multimple letters from A. J. Fretz; David Garber (Superintendent of Orphans' Home at Orrville, Ohio), Samuel G. Glick, J. F. Good, and William Gross and his daughter Sallie Gross.  A half-dozen from Lena N. Gingerich of Bradford, Illinois, are a fine example of a very pious woman's correspondence with Coffman.
Folder 8: H, 1868, 1878-1899Add to your cart.
3/4" stack of letters from various people whose surnames begin with H.  Multiple letters from: P. S. Hartman; J. F. Harms (in German); J. M. Herr (apparently Jacob M. Herr, preacher at Churchtown, Pennsylvania); Magdalena Hershey, Gertrude S. Hertzler (G. S., Gertie); Maria L. Hess; Susannah and Henry Hygema.  One letter from Benjamin F. Herr of Lampeter, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Several from J. K. Hooley
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: I - L, 1880-1899Add to your cart.
1/2" stack of letters from various people whose surnames begin with I through L.  Multiple letters from:  A. H. Kauffman; N. A. Lehman; W. J. Lineweaver, H. H. Loose.  Four from John R. Loucks of near Scottdale PA, and at least one from Daniel G. Lapp.
Folder 2: M - R, 1877, 1880-1899Add to your cart.
1/2" stack of letters from persons whose surnames begin M through R.  Multiple letters from: Plato Maness; Ed (or Ed and Lizzie) Musselman; J. T. Nice, Phillipson Clothing Company;  I. (or J?) G. Plank; A. Reichenbach; Esther R. Rupp; Henry R. Rupp (especially about the songbook Hymns and Tunes).  Several each from: Noah H. Mack (or him and his wife); Frances S. Mellinger; John H. Mellinger; A. Metzler.
Folder 3: S, 1879-1899Add to your cart.
5/8" stack of letters from various people whose surnames begin with S.  Multiple letters from:  M. S. Schrock (or M. S. and I. S. Schrock); Lewis and Mary Shank of Missouri, Michael Shank; Samuel Shank, E. G. and L. P. (?) Shope, Sallie E. Shover, and J. S. Shoemaker [Joseph S. Shoemaker--including letters of September 8 and 22, 1891 about trying to bring concilation with (apparently) Joseph S. Lehman, Illinois minister who became a manager of John F. Funk's Mennonite Publishing Company and a key figure in the conflicts of the 1890s and first 20th-century decade causing upheaval in the church at Elkhart, greatly troubling Coffman's final years, and leading to reorganization of Mennonite Church publishing].  Also has a brief letter from C. Henry Smith, apparently at the time of Smith's joining the faculty of Elkhart Institute/ Goshen College--concerning his possible arrangment for lodging.  And one from J. A. Sprunger--John A. Sprunger--the free-lancing Mennonite who led the "Light and Hope" deaconess home, orphanage, and mission--letter written in German.  Two letters from Lessie Shank, whom Daniel Shenk referred to in some letters.
Folder 4: T - Z, 1875-1899Add to your cart.
1/2" stack of letters from various people whose surnames begin with T through Z (except Wenger).  Multiple letters from Aaron A. Wall [A. A. Wall] (most in German), Anna Weaver, J. M. R. Weaver (John M. R. Weaver; John Musser Rohrer Weaver), John W. Weaver, Joseph Weaver; Samuel S. Weaver, Cyrus S. Wert, Martin Whistler, Caleb Winey; one from Oak Grove congregation bishop John K. Yoder (May 11, 1894, counseling against holding Sunday School Conference in Wayne County) and several from C. Z. Yoder [Christian Z. Yoder, John's son and a church leader in his own right (see GAMEO entry)].
Folder 5: Unidentified letters and fragments, Undated & 1880-1899Add to your cart.
About a dozen items.
Folder 6: Miscellaneous telegramsAdd to your cart.
Series 3: Notebooks and Financial Records, 1861-1880Add to your cart.
Includes records of the Coffman family finances and miscellaneous notebooks documenting study, congregational and family events, and miscellaneous writing.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Miscellaneous Financial Papers, 1861-1888, 1890, 1893-1894, 1897-1898, and undatedAdd to your cart.
Approximately 50 items, many of them very small chits of paper written quite informally.  A more than usual number of them are from mid-1879.  Also numerous are more formal items related to Ruebush, Kieffer, & Co. of Dayton, Rockingham County, Virginia, a firm which supplied music book and other music-related materials.
Folder 2: Account Book, 1869 (?) - 1875Add to your cart.
Bound account book, hard covers, about 6x8" and 5/16" thick between covers.  Not completely filled.  Folded into it is a sheet that might indicate payments made to people who sent articles in for Herald of Truth.  The records appear to reflect purchases for the Coffman household.  The book is not full, but the last filled-in page shows the Coffmans' payments to "Annie R. Sowers" (Anna R. Sowers?)
Folder 3: Account Books, 1875-1879, undatedAdd to your cart.
Three very small, bound account books, each only about 3x5" with hardly more than 1/8" of pages.  Two have only a very few miscellaneous pencilled comments and no dates.  The third, with different binding, has accounts that are different from in the book in folder 8/2: not household accounts (at least few of them) but rather records of transactions outside the family.  Some are labeled "School Accounts."  The small book has about about 11.5 pages of entries of transactions with Annie R. Sowers--both debits charged to her and record of weekly payments to her.  They show her being paid week-by-week, sometimes 50 and sometimes 75 cents, and sometimes $1.  Interestingly, there are pages of accounts also with a Daniel Switzer--interesting because (see box 5, folder 1 description) that 1870 census record shows that another orphan may have been a 15-year-old Henry Switzer.
Folder 4: Notebook, 1872-1873, 1878-1880Add to your cart.
Hardcover, lined-sheet notebook, approximately 6x7", 5/16" of pages between covers.  The book has various filled-in sections with many blank pages between.  Some household accounts from 1879, headed "Provisions bough [sic] at Elkhart.  Two pages of recipes of remedies for humans and animals.  A half-dozen pages of pencilled prose headed "Come to Jesus/ Chapter III".  Lists of deaths with dates, 1872-1873.  Lists of Bible texts indicating when and where used (apparently for sermons), 1878-1880.  Another page of accounts (possibly from auction sale), June 17, 1879.  Several pages of accounts apparenly from another, larger book folded in.
Folder 5: Notebooks from Study at Valley Normal Institute, 1874, undatedAdd to your cart.
Two notebooks, originally alike, each about 8x10", 1/8" of pages between soft covers  Both are marked "Minute Book" but appear to be notes taken from study and clases, not organizational minutes.  One says on inside, "Containing some of the work done in the 'Valley Normal Institute', Aug 1874"; the other seems to be a companion, but is undated.  Neither book is full.
Series 4: Miscellaneous Materials, 1865-1905Add to your cart.
Includes Coffman's professional licenses, documents pertaining to his ministry and social relationships, and information regarding his funeral.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Teacher's Licenses, 1872-1873, 1875-1876, 1876-1877Add to your cart.
Official certificates.  The first is dated October 15, 1872 and names an ending date of August 31, 1873.  The second is dated August 31, 1875 and is a "Second Grade Teacher's Certificate" that authorized Coffman's  to teach until July 31, 1876.  The third is a "Teacher's License" dated September 5, 1876 authorizing John S. Coffman to teach until July 3, 1877.  All three apply to schools in Rockingham County, Virginia. The first (1872-1873) is signed by Geo. W. Holland, County Superintendent of Schools and has a penned note saying "Authority to teach as assistant in Fairview School";  the second is signed by county school superintendent Jos. L. Loose, the third by county school superintendent Jasper Weaver.  Penciled on the third are grades (80-98) Coffman had  apparently received in 6 courses, highest in spelling and lowest in history.
Folder 7: Sunday school items, 1880, 1899, 1916Add to your cart.
3 documents:  Handwritten, pencilled minutes of a meeting at home of Henry B. Brenneman to organize or reorganize the Elkhart Sudday school, John F. Funk as president and J. S  Coffman as secretary, February 4, 1880; 16 pp. handwritten, penned manuscript of obviously a Sunday school lesson help, "Lesson I*. - July 2", "written by J. S. Coffman" "1899"; and  printed, 9-page tract-size, staple-bound document "Prairie St. Mennonite Suinday School [photo of the meetinghouse] December Twenty-Fifth ./ 1916", listing officers, teachers, and class member.
Folder 8: Mennonite Evangelizing Board, 1894Add to your cart.

3 items: 

(1) a printed 1-fold sheet (approx. 6x8" when folded), printed, with proceedings of annual  meeting of the Board, at Elkhart, January 17, 1894 (with some prominent names involved), and with the board's consitutiton, adopted at the Salem meetinghouse in Elkhart County, Indiana, January 20, 1892, and revised January 17, 1894.  (2) A letter on the Board's stationery, Samuel S. Herner (a board member) to David Bergey, datelined Mannhem, Ontario, November 15, 1894, informing Bergey that Coffman would be coming to the area apparently in the next few days; and a typed letter on the Board's stationery, by G. L. Bender [George  L. Bender] and A. B. Kolb [Abram B. Kolb] to David Bergey, New Dundee, Ontario, February 7, 1896, concerning efforts from a meeting on December 26, 1895, to incorporate the Board.

Folder 9: Speaking engagements, 1876-May 1899Add to your cart.
About 20 sheets listing appointments with dates in places from Virginia and Pennsylvania to Missouri and Kansas and including Ontario.  Lists are typed, suggesting the compiler was a later researcher, not Coffman himself.
Folder 10: Sermon notes, all or mostly undatedAdd to your cart.

About 10 notes more or less in outline, mostly single-page, often fairly small sheets.  Topics of sermons: Sleep, Woman's Work (lists Biblical women representing work ranging from prophesying to selling purple to exercising power--certainly no suggestion that women should be "barefoot and pregnant!"); Underneath the Ever\lasting Arms; Souls Awakening; Worship God; Reason.  In addition, some small sheets without  real titles.  Largest item has four large closely written sheets, with title "Ordinances and Restricdtions, As Founded in the Word of God", with a note in larger handwriting at end, "These doctrines are more fully considered in the Manual of Bible Doctrines, Published by the Mennonite publishing Co., Elkhart Ind.," surely referring to the book by Daniel Kauffman 1898; interestingly, there document (which is probably in Coffman's handwriting) does not object to putting nonresistance and nonconformity under the heading "Restrictions."

Inexplicably, the folder also has a photocopy of the first page of chapter III of a typed manuscript.  The chapter title is "John S. Coffman, 1848-1899: Life and Work" and the copying includes a folder label indicating it is from the Roy H. Umble collection.

Folder 11: Goshen College "Reflector" (yearbook), 1905Add to your cart.
Unpaginated, 1/4" thick between covers, done nicely on slick paper with quality photographs.  Covers are quality soft paper bound on with tied string and nicely printed and decoarated, indicating "Vol. Two" and "Class of '05".  Amother other features of interest is the attaire: very chaste but not severely plain; few prayer coverings.
Folder 12: Ontario church accessions from Coffman's sermons, 1891-1892Add to your cart.
Six typed sheets of names, listed by district or county.  Often an entry listed both man and wife, as if many who responded to Coffman were already married.  People listed had surnames usual for Mennonites in Ontario.  Lists are on letterhead of Mennonite Historical Society of Onterio and at the end signed by Lorna L. Bergey, surely as compiler.
Folder 13: Wedding and commencement (and a few other) invitations or notices, 1893-1899Add to your cart.
About a dozen intems, including for the following: George L. Bender and Elsie Kolb marriage, 1896; John Horsch/Christine Funck marriage, 1893; Noah E. Byers, Northwestern University commencement, 1898, also marriage to Emma D Le Fevre, 1898.
Folder 14: Sundry documents illustrating intellectual and artistic interests, 1865-1889, 1898, many undatedAdd to your cart.
Varied collection of  printed materials ranging from school text lists to items probably associated with music schools to moralistic tracts.  About a 3/4" stack
Folder 15: Several odd letters and a statement regarding conflicts in congregations (Ohio, Indiana), 1881, 1885, and undatedAdd to your cart.
One pencilled "Statement" giving record of a meet at Holdeman meetinghouse [west of Goshen, Indiana], undated; it indicated Joseph Holdeman "had opposed the proceedings.  Several letters and/or fragments, 1885, from a Jacpb Funk, Ada, Ohio, with rambling and bitter complaints of dispute especially with a Riley Ream and with the church's deacon (unlear whether perhaps Ream was the deacon); these items shows a low level of literacy.
Folder 16: Miscellaneous clippings and other items from public activities, 1870s - 1890, much undatedAdd to your cart.
A nearly 1" stack of various clippings (often multi-page articles), calling cards, and sundry other items.
Folder 17: J. S. Coffman funeral items, July, 1899Add to your cart.
Two items:  A printed greeting-size 1-fold piece done artistically (gold lettering on ivory-colored, raised-design type of heavy paper), with bierth and death dates, poetry, a Bible verse, etc.  A typed (2.6 double-spaced sheets) obituary from Herald of Truth, Vol. 36, p. 237 (1899).
Series 5: Barbara F. Coffman Material for John S. Coffman Biography, 1949-1963Add to your cart.
Materials gathered by Coffman's daughter to write his biography.  Also includes Barbara Coffman's typed manuscript of the biography, which was published in 1964.
Sub-Series 1: Materials apparently gathered by Barbara Coffman for J. S. Coffman biographyAdd to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Prepared reminiscences of J. S. Coffman, 1949, 1953, 1957, and undatedAdd to your cart.
Items:  Handwritten letter from "Lucille" of Wadsworth, Ohio, July 27, 1949, 5 pp.; typed letter, Silvanus Yoder, August 5, 1953, 1 page;;  clipping of 1-p. article, "Memories of John S. Coffman," from Gospel Herald, April 223, 1967 (reprinted from Mennonite Historical  Bulletin"; i-p. handwritten letter, Stanley Shenk to E. S. Hallman, n.d.,  making reference to "John S. Coffman Centennial Annivesary program [hence 1950?]; 1.25-p typed statement marked "for Barbara Coffman", from "Mrs. E. B. Burkhart / Goshen, Indiana"; letter "Mrs. Burkhart" to Barbara Coffman, April 2, 1949; typed m.s., "A few incidents and events in the life of John S. Coffman" by "E. S. Hallman" ("in regular correspondence till Coffman's death", 3-pp. + cover page, n. d.; "Rev J. S Hartzler's Reminiscenses of J. S. Coffman," 4 handwritten pages, n.d., perhaps incomplete
Folder 2: Miscellaneous items apparently for Barbara Coffman's use for J. S. Coffman biography, 1949 and undatedAdd to your cart.
Items:  4 or 5 letters; notes marked "J. B. Smith"; a 3-pp. handwritten ms. in outline form, tiutled "Charges against John F. Funk. . notes by L. J. Heatwole, Jan 31, 1902"
Sub-Series 2: Chapter drafts for Barbara Coffman's biography of J. S. CoffmanAdd to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Biography by Barbara Coffman, chapters 1-5, 1949-1963?Add to your cart.
Typed, double-spaced manuscripts.  See the book:  Barbara F. Coffman, "His Name was John: The Life Story of an Early Mennonite Leader" (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1964), 352 pp.
Folder 4: Biography by Barbara Coffman, chapters 6-10, 1949-1963?Add to your cart.
Typed, double-spaced manuscripts.  See the book:  Barbara F. Coffman, "His Name was John: The Life Story of an Early Mennonite Leader" (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1964), 352 pp.
Folder 5: Biography by Barbara Coffman, chapters 11-16, 1949-1963?Add to your cart.
Typed, double-spaced manuscripts.  See the book:  Barbara F. Coffman, "His Name was John: The Life Story of an Early Mennonite Leader" (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1964), 352 pp.
Folder 6: Biography by Barbara Coffman, chapters 17-21, 1949-1963?Add to your cart.
Typed, double-spaced manuscripts.  See the book:  Barbara F. Coffman, "His Name was John: The Life Story of an Early Mennonite Leader" (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1964), 352 pp.
Folder 7: Biography by Barbara Coffman, chapters 22-26, 1949-1963?Add to your cart.
Typed, double-spaced manuscripts.  See the book:  Barbara F. Coffman, "His Name was John: The Life Story of an Early Mennonite Leader" (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1964), 352 pp.
Folder 8: Biography by Barbara Coffman, chapters 27-32, 1949-1963?Add to your cart.
Typed, double-spaced manuscripts.  See the book:  Barbara F. Coffman, "His Name was John: The Life Story of an Early Mennonite Leader" (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1964), 352 pp.
Series 6: Bishop Samuel Coffman (1822-1894) Materials, 1861-1893Add to your cart.
This Samuel Coffman, married to Frances Weaver, was John S. Coffman's father.  This series consists of scattered correspondence, military documents, and other papers pertaining to Coffman's life and ministry.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Bishop Samuel Coffman (J. S.'s father) brief biography, 1870-1871, 1890Add to your cart.
2.5-pp. typed biography of Virginia Bishop Samuel Coffman, by Gerald R. Brunk, and photocopy of biography in Mennonite Cyclopedic Dictionary (1937).  [See also the biography in GAMEO, on line.]
Folder 10: Bishop Samuel Coffman (J. S.'s father) correspondence, 1870-1871, 1890Add to your cart.
Four letters and a note, 1870-1871, from John M. Brenneman [J. M. Brenneman], giving heartfelt comment on conditions in the nonresistant Mennonite Church and especially about impending split at Elkhart, Indiana (Yellow Creek). (A typed version also of one of those letters and the note.)  One letter, 1890, from Amos Herr lamenting that Mennonite children had to go other-than-Mennonite ministers to be married [apparently when they were not yet members of the church.]
Folder 11: Documents of exemption from (Confederate) military service, 1861-1864Add to your cart.
Items:  (1) Small note, dated June 26, 1861 and signed by Samuel Barley, clerk of the 145th Regiment, granting Samuel Coffman exemption after examination "by the Surgeon & Court".  (2) Gabriel S. Heatwole commutation fee receipt, dated December 31, 1862--official document on stationery of "Adjutant and Inspector Gerneral's Office," Richmond, granting a "furlough" to Private Gabriel S. Heatwole in return for his payment of $500 [Confederate, of course],; "By Command ofthe Sec. of war", signed by a Jno. Withers [a typed reproduction is in the folder also].  (3) A note, dated August 12, 1864 and signed by a John M Locke, and officer for Rockingham Co., acknowledging of receipt from Samuel Coffman of certificates of exemption for Joseph Weaver, Solomon Beary, and Abram B. Wenger as Mennonites.
Folder 12: Objections to Sunday schools from Mennonite Church of Rockingham County, Virginia, 1872?Add to your cart.
Six-page, handwritten document beginning "Objections to the Sabbath S. of the mennonite Church in Rockingham Co / We object . . . ."  It has exactly the same arguments, even the same language, Theron F. Schlabach reported on p. 227 of his book Peace, Faith, Nation, based on a source he found in the Menno Simons Historical Library, Eastern Mennonite University.  The document in this folder is undated, but Schlabach set the discussion at 1872.  [A main Sunday school opponent was Abraham Blosser.]
Folder 13: Miscellaneous documents, 1861-1862, 1871, 1893Add to your cart.
Two ordination documents:  what appears to be a slip to put in a book for casting the lost for bishop, specifiying May 11, 1861, and a paper with the official statement for confering the office (undated).  A slip of paper from 1862 in which a county official accepts Samuel Coffman's certification that one Abraham Swartz was a Mennonite.  An official county document giving Sameul Coffman legal right as minister to perform marriages.  A one-page, German-language printed statement, undersigned by John M. Brenneman, George Brenneman, and others, about the lack of peace in the Elkhart church (Yellow Creek) concerning Sunday schools, etc.  A printed program of the Sunday school conference at Bluffton, Ohio, October 4-6, 1893.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Diaries, 1871-1899],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1866-1901],
[Series 3: Notebooks and Financial Records, 1861-1880],
[Series 4: Miscellaneous Materials, 1865-1905],
[Series 5: Barbara F. Coffman Material for John S. Coffman Biography, 1949-1963],
[Series 6: Bishop Samuel Coffman (1822-1894) Materials, 1861-1893],

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