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Mennonite Archival Image Database grows

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8th archival partner joins with tens of thousands of photographs

Southern District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches meet

Photo from ML&A’s collection: Attendees at the 1947 Southern District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in Fairview, Oklahoma. (Henry J. Wiens photograph collection, Mennonite Library and Archives, Fresno, Cal.)

The Mennonite Archival Image Database is growing and extending its reach for people looking for rare images.

On the eve of its first anniversary, the Mennonite Archival Image Database (MAID) welcomes the Mennonite Library & Archives (ML&A) at Fresno (Cal.) Pacific University as its newest archival partner. ML&A is the eighth MAID partner and the first outside Canada, which enhances MAID’s vision of being a source for “the discovery of photographs of Mennonite life from around the world.”

MAID’s eight partners have now collectively uploaded more than 82,000 photographic descriptions into our internet-accessible database (archives.mhsc.ca); nearly 19,000 of these have scanned images attached.

With each new partner the Mennonite family and network becomes larger and stronger. Archival photo experts from each centre help provide valuable information about photos in their own collection and collaborate with other partners, improving the contextual knowledge of various collections, benefiting everyone.

Over time, and as families and their records scatter, information becomes lost. However, as photo experts work at posting and describing photos, they often uncover connections between photos held in different archives. Each archivist can supply important pieces of the puzzle that brings us collectively closer to identifying people, places and events in photos. Through the collaborative network of MAID and its partners, the Mennonite community of yesterday is slowly being re-constituted.

Anneli working for MAID in Fresno

Archival student assistant Anneli Carlson scans photographs at Mennonite Library & Archives, Fresno, Cal.

ML&A has begun entering photographs into MAID from its rich collections, which consists of tens of thousands of photographs. Highlights include the Henry J. Wiens photographs of Mennonite Brethren church buildings, photographs of Mennonite Brethren congregational life on the west coast of the United States, the Fresno Pacific University photograph collection, and a massive collection of Mennonite Brethren mission photographs from around the world.

Kevin Enns-Rempel (library director) and Hannah Keeney (archivist) are coordinating photograph entries from Fresno, which involves selecting images and providing the descriptions that will make them searchable on the internet. “These photographs have been available in the archives for many years, but only to those researchers able to visit the archives,” says Enns-Rempel. “MAID will make these photographs visible to the world, and will spur interest in the larger archival collections at Fresno.”

The Mennonite Library and Archives is one of four North American archival centers for the Mennonite Brethren church in North America. It is located in the Hiebert Library at Fresno Pacific University. The archives hold records of the Pacific District Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, Fresno Pacific University and personal manuscript collections related to the Mennonite Brethren church. In addition to the archival collections, the ML&A also holds an Anabaptist/Mennonite library collection of nearly 17,000 volumes.

Anna and Peter Ediger with their children Anna, Peter, and Martha on their farm in Escondido, California

Photo from ML&A’s collection: Anna and Peter Ediger with their children Anna, Peter, and Martha on their farm in Escondido, California

The Mennonite Archival Image Database is a project of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada. It was launched in 2015 by seven original partners: the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies (Winnipeg), the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, the Mennonite Heritage Centre (Winnipeg), the D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation, and the Mennonite Historical Societies of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.




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