- 1917-1945 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.10 Linear Feet; 2 folders (This collections shares a half archives box with HM1-957).
Name of creator
Aaron Loucks, for many years a prominent leader in the (Old) Mennonite Church was born at Scottdale, Pennsylvania, USA, on 20 November 1864 and lived there all his life with the exception of 13 months' residence in Riverside, California. He died at Scottdale 20 August 1945 with interment in Alverton cemetery. He was the son of Jacob Stauffer and Mary Saylor of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, who were the parents of eleven children. The progenitor of the American branch of the family was Peter, who was born in Germany in 1706 and came to America in 1738, settling in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Aaron Loucks was twice married. His first wife was Amelia Medsgar, and to this marriage his three children were born. His second wife was Sadie Saylor, who preceded him in death by about a year. He became a member of the Mennonite Church in the spring of 1887, and was a charter member of the Scottdale congregation when it was incorporated in January 1898. He was ordained to the ministry at Stonerville (later named Alverton), Pennsylvania, and as bishop at Scottdale in 1893.
As one of a number of men who were active in the Mennonite Church in its "great awakening" in the years previous to and following the beginning of the 20th century, Loucks was active in establishing various organizations which grew up in that time. He was the founder of the Mennonite Publishing House and largely instrumental in beginning the publication of the Gospel Witness in 1905, which in 1908 was merged with the Herald of Truth, published in Elkhart, Indiana, to become the Gospel Herald. He helped to organize the Mennonite Publication Board in 1907. When this organization took over the Publishing House and all its publications in 1908, Scottdale became the official publication headquarters of the Mennonite Church.
Aaron Loucks was also interested in the other organizations of the church and was active in the work of the Mennonite Church General Conference, the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, and the Mennonite Board of Education, of which he was treasurer for a number of years. As chairman of the Mennonite Relief Commission for War Sufferers he made a trip to the Near East in 1918. He was a leader in the peace work of the church during World War I and was especially active in contacting government officials and in visiting brethren detained in camps.
Loucks was active in the Southwestern Pennsylvania Conference (later known as the Allegheny Mennonite Conference) and the Sunday-school conference of the same district, which he helped to organize in 1895. He was also in part the originator of the Bible conference movement which for a number of decades was widely used as a means of giving Bible instruction to the rank and file of the Mennonites. Through his leadership, the first Bible conference held in a Mennonite congregation was conducted at the Scottdale church for two weeks, beginning 28 December 1896.
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Scope and content
The collection includes early legal and financial documents related to the Mennonite Publishing House and relief work, World War I newspaper clippings, and assorted papers and notes covering Louck's involvement in publishing and relief work.
Of particular interest is the 1918 warrant obtained to search Mennonite Publishing House and sieze materials advocating "refusal of duty in the military and naval forces of the United States."
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Conditions governing access
Material is open to the public.
Conditions governing reproduction
Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright not owned by Mennonite Church USA Archives.
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