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Mennonite Research Foundation (Goshen, Ind.) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Mennonite Research Foundation (Goshen, Ind.)

Historical Note:

The Mennonite Research Foundation began operation in 1947 as a semi-autonomous, chartered agency of the Mennonite Board of Education.  Its mandate was "to conduct research through its own organization either on its own initiative or at the request of other agencies" and to "aid and co-ordinate research carried on by other agencies as may be requested and needful".  Thus it was to serve the needs of the Mennonite Church as a whole.

The Mennonite Research Foundation took on a wide variety of projects and published a number of reports in the Gospel Herald.  Projects sometimes resulted in dissertations, books, and study papers.  Some projects were terminated without completion, while others were declared complete without fulfilling the original scope.  A few unfinished projects were transferred to the Historical Committee in 1959.

Prominent staff members of the Mennonite Research Foundation included A. J. Metzler (treasurer from 1947 to 1959) and Melvin Gingerich (director of research from 1947-1955, 1958-1959), and Guy F. Hershberger (acting director of research from 1955 to 1958).  Board members included Paul Erb, chairman;  H. S. Bender, secretary;  the presidents of Eastern Mennonite College, Goshen College, and Hesston College;  and a member of the Board of Education.  Also represented were the Publication Board and the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities.

In August of 1959 the Mennonite General Conference decided to give the function of the Research Foundation a more official status within the church organization.  Thus the Mennonite Research Foundation ended, having its work absorbed by the Historical Committee.  The combined operation was named the Mennonite Historical and Research Committee.

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