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Bender Travel Agency

5/16” stack. As a way to travel abroad more cheaply for himself and fellow-Mennonites, especially to and from Mennonite-related destinations, Bender had gotten himself recognized as a travel agent. According to Albert N. Keim, on page 253 of his biography Harold S. Bender, 1897-1962, Bender formed the “Bender Travel Agency” as he arranged to be travel agent for a few North Americans attending the 1936 Mennonite World Conference (and, in addition, travel in Europe as tourists). Being the agent meant he could afford to attend the conference. However, already in 1929 he had led a group of Mennonites on a “Heart of Europe Tour”, after which he and a member of the group flew to Moscow in the interests of connecting with Mennonites in the Soviet Union. [See Keim’s book at pages 193-196.] The first letter of this file, from 1929, mainly offers Bender’s account of the travel into eastern Europe.

Letter from Bender to Bainton

Bender calling some John Horsch writings to Bainton’s attention, including history of Hutterites.
Date written on the letter: January 28, 1933

Baker, Frank E.

Frank E. Baker, a letter carrier at Montello, Massachusetts, wrote inquiring about and ordering literature on Hutterites, including John Horsch’s The Hutterian Brethren. He had correspondence also with Horsch, and wanted information on Mennonites in—and recent emigrants from--the Soviet Union; he apparently had written also to C. Henry Smith. Bender gave him the names of Prof. Lee E. Deets of Universrity of South Dakota, C. F. Classen [sic—C. F. Klassen, Cornelius F. Klassen] of the Canadian Mennonite Board of Colonization, and Hutterite elder Elias Walter [sic]. Baker seems to have been interested in religious “communism” or communitarianism; he had a friend from the Soviet Union, Rev. Oscar M. Poeld of Drew University School of Theology.

Bainton, Roland H.

Roland H. Bainton (1894-1984) was a Reformation scholar, with Quaker connections and pacifist leanings, who had a long and highly reputable career at Yale University. He was prominent in the American Society of Church History (ASCH), and Bender’s connection with Bainton was important for Bender being elected ASCH president in 1942-1943, and hence for Bender’s famous “Anabaptist Vision” essay--which was his ASCH presidential address in 1943. [See Albert Keim, Harold S. Bender: 1897-1962.]

Letter from Bainton to Bender

“Walter Koehler [Walter Köhler, Walther Köhler] asked whether I knew you and Correll and spoke of the profit which he derives from reading the Quarterly [Ernst Correll; Mennonite Quarterly Review]”; re article Bainton was writing on David Joris, would the Quarterly be interested, although it was 80 pages long? Bender reply that Editorial Board had difficulty deciding, but would publish it if Bainton could furnish a subsidy of $100; Bender hoped to stop at Yale soon, examine Anabaptist sources and meet with Bainton. Bainton note about summer plans, and saying that another journal might publish the article.

Letter from Byler to Bender

J. N. Byler [Joseph N. Byler] regarding Sanford C. Yoder suggesting that Byler might teach at Goshen; Bender replying as dean about plans for teaching of Economics that included Guy F. Hershberger and Willard Smith but not Byler, unless enrollment increased.

Letter from Bainton to Bender

Bainton, handwritten note of regret at missing chance to speak with Bender at ASCH meeting about Anabaptist studies; elaborated, naming sources, etc.

Letter from Brüsewitz to Bender

September 13 [marked 1936]: Carl F. Brüsewitz of Utrecht writing about beginning what evidently became Bienenberg Bible School near Basel, and about the Peace Group of a conference having decided to join the International Mennonite Peace Committee; mention of Hylkema [T. O. Hylkema, Teerd O. Hylkema; Teerd Oeds Ma Hylke Hylkema?] reporting on growth of pacifism among Mennonites in [Holland? Europe?].

Letter from Bender to Oscar Burkholder

4-item exchange with Oscar Burkholder of Ontario, bishop and president of Mennonite Mission Board of Ontario [one Burkholder letter being addressed to Sanford C. Yoder, S. C. Yoder]: about certain historical sources in the hands of Melvin Stutsman, Chancey Kauffman, E. J. Zook [probably Enoch J. Zook, Enoch Jacob Zook]; more pointedly, Bender taking issue with article by Burkholder in Sword and Trumpet which Bender had read as saying church’s education efforts were hurting the mission cause (competing for funds, etc.); Burkholder replied he might have miscommunicated but he would not change a word.

Letter from Brubacher to Bender

February, 1934: 2-item exchange, Etta Brubacher inquiring about history of Anabaptist and Mennonite deaconess office; Bender replied very substantially.

Letter from N. E. Byers to Bender

4-item exchange, 1932, 1935: N. E. Byers [Noah Byers, Noah E. Byers] as dean of Bluffton College requesting a transcript from Goshen College—that of Lorene Forney, former Goshen student now enrolled at Bluffton; Bender a cordial, collegial reply, including comments on Miss Forney; also Bender sent address of his brother Wilbur Bender at Harvard.

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