John A. Hostetler papers, 1539-2001

PSUA 455

Collection Overview

Title:
John A. Hostetler papers
Dates (Inclusive):
1539-2001
Dates (Bulk):
bulk
Creator:
Hostetler, John Andrew
Abstract:
Sociologist John A. Hostetler was the leading authority on the Amish in the second half of the twentieth century and served as the expert witness in the Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972). This collection documents the life and work of John A. Hostetler and contains original field research, recordings, publications, teaching materials, and clothing, as well as extensive reference material on the Anabaptists, especially the Amish and Hutterites.
Collection Number:
PSUA 455
Size:
126 Linear Feet
Location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the  library catalog.
Repository:
Special Collections Library. Pennsylvania State University.
Languages:
English

Biographical Note

John A. Hostetler was born on October 29, 1918 in Belleville, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. He was raised Old Order Amish in the Peachey Church in Kishacoquillas 'Big' Valley, PA. In 1930, Hostetler's father was excommunicated from the Peachey Church and the family moved to Iowa. Before his instruction for baptism, Hostetler left the Amish church and joined the Mennonite church. Although he attempted both correspondence courses for high school credit and Goshen College for Bible studies, he eventually attended Hesston Junior College in Kansas in 1941. He worked in the logging industry in Oregon to pay for tuition, but was drafted to military service in 1942. As a conscientious objector, he was sent to work in a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, and later to participate in an experiment at Pinehurst, North Carolina. Later, he transferred to Goshen College in Indiana and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1949. He enrolled in graduate studies at The Pennsylvania State University and married Hazel Schrock, who died in childbirth in 1951. He received both master's and doctoral degrees in sociology from Penn State. In 1953, Hostetler married Beulah Stauffer and they had three children. Hostetler began teaching sociology and anthropology at the University of Alberta and later taught at Penn State Abington and Temple University. In 1972, Hostetler testified in the Supreme Court case Wisconsin v. Yoder, which led to the decision that the Amish, as well as other legitimate religious sects, could attend their own schools.

Hostetler's publications include many journal articles on Amish, Hutterite, and Mennonite culture and society, sociology, anthropology, and genetics, as well as several booklets: Amish Life (1983), Mennonite Life (1983), Hutterite Life (1983) and books: Amish Society (1963), Amish Roots (1992) and Hutterite Society (1974). He also advised two films: The Amish: A People of Preservation and The Hutterites: To Care and Not To Care. He collaborated extensively with Gertrude Enders Huntington, and they co-authored The Hutterites in North America (1967, 1980, 1996, 2002, 2010), Amish Children : Education in the Family, School, and Community (1992, 2001), Cultural Transmission and Instrumental Adaptation to Social Change : Lancaster Mennonite High School in Transition (1974, with Donald Kraybill), Children in Amish society : Socialization and Community Education (1971) He died on August 28, 2001.

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Collection Overview

Original and reproduced items date from 1539-2001 with the bulk of materials from 1935-1991. The collection documents the life and work of the foremost authority on the Amish in the second half of the twentieth century. The papers consist primarily of his research materials for his studies, talks, and publications alongside information on his personal life. His research drew upon sociology, anthropology, and Anabaptist sources. The research materials include his field notes, original audio recordings in English, German, and Pennsylvania Dutch, photographs (both commercial and original), and clothing. There are also collections of materials that demonstrate the cultural interfaces between Anabaptist and English communities around the world.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Restrictions, where applicable, are noted at the series, subseries, or file levels.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John A. Hostetler papers, PSUA 455, Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff.

Existence and Location of Copies

There are digital surrogates available for some materials.

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Collection Inventory

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General note

Series A: The Correspondence series measures approximately 10 cubic feet and dates from 1774-2000. The files contain both personal and professional letters to and from Hostetler. The professional letters include correspondence with book editors and some of the foremost scholars in sociology, anthropology and Anabaptist studies. Additionally, there are several files constituting a bulk of inquiries from laypeople concerning Amish and Hutterite lifestyle. The files are arranged alphabetically, usually by surname of the letter's author.

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