About Theron F. Schlabach

Professor of History Emeritus, Goshen College, Goshen, IN 46526

Born: 6 December 1933, at Goshen, Indiana.

Family: m. Sara Ann Kauffman, 8 Jan. 1955; four children, b. 1955-1971 (Gerald W., J. Carlyle, Roderic A., Kristina J.); 8 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; widowed Sept. 2009.

Education and Degrees

  • Public schools of Elkhart County, Ind.: grades 1-11.
  • Eastern Mennonite High School, Harrisonburg, Va.: grade 12; graduated 1951.
  • Goshen College: attendance 1956-1960; B.A., 1960.
  • University of Wisconsin: graduate study, 1960-1965; M.S. in History, 1961; Ph.D. (in U.S. Social History), 1966.

Professional Employment

  • Goshen College Assistant or Associate Professor of History, 1965-1976; Professor of History, 1976-2004; gradually retired, 1998-; Emeritus, 2004-.

Miscellaneous Special Awards, Positions, and Activities

  • Danforth Fellow, appointed 1960.
  • Project Director under a research grant from the Welfare Administration, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1967-1969.
  • Director, Goshen College Study-Service Unit in Costa Rica (on location), April 1970 to July 1971 and August 1986 to July 1987.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellow, Princeton Univ., 1976-1977.
  • Visiting Fellow, Notre Dame University, July to December 1989.
  • Organizer of history and education conferences at Goshen College on:
    • “Pacifism and American Civil Religion” (February 1990).
    • “Pacifism in American Religious Traditions (Other than Historic Peace Churches)” (sponsored by Goshen College and Pepperdine University, September 1992).
    • “Anabaptist Vision(s) in the 20th Century” (October 1994).
    • “Models for Christian Higher Education” (1998, as part of the study listed immediately below).
  • Goshen College’s participant, 1994-1998, in a Lilly Endowment-sponsored study of selected colleges which have succeeded in maintaining strong ties to their churches; author of chapter on Goshen College in the resulting book–Richard T. Hughes and William B. Adrian, eds., Models for Christian Higher Education: Strategies for Success in the Twenty-First Century (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997).
  • Senior Fellow in residence, The Young Center for the Study of Anabaptist and Pietist Groups, Elizabethtown College, 1995-1996 and 1996-1997; also Interim Director of the Center in 1996-1997.

Positions in Mennonite Studies

  • Mennonite Historical Society: Secretary, 1974-1984; President, 1984-1992; member of its Board of Directors, 1974-1999.
  • Member of The Mennonite Quarterly Review Board of Editors, 1974-1992.
  • Interim Editor and Managing Editor, The Mennonite Quarterly Review, 1992-1994.
  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History (book series), 1977-1987; Editor-in-Chief, 1987-2000.
  • Editor, Mennonite Experience in America (history writing project producing a 4-vol. series), 1977-1996 (writer of Vol. II, editor of Vols. I, III, & IV).

Major Publications and Reports

  • Pensions for Professors (Madison, Wis.: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1963).
  • Edwin E. Witte: Cautious Reformer (Madison, Wis.: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1969).
  • “Rationality and Welfare: Public Discussion of Poverty and Social Insurance in the United States, 1875-1935” (report to the Welfare Administration, 1969; published on-line by the Social Security Administration, 2001; http://www.ssa.gov/history/reports/schlabach.html).
  • “Reveille for Die Stillen im Lande: A Stir Among Mennonites in the Late Nineteenth Century,” The Mennonite Quarterly Review, 51 (Jul 1977).
  • “The Humble Become ‘Aggressive Workers’: Mennonites Organize for Mission, 1880-1910,” The Mennonite Quarterly Review, 52 (Apr 1978).
  • “Mennonites, Revivalism, Modernity–1683-1850,” Church History (Dec 1979).
  • Gospel Versus Gospel: Mission and the Mennonite Church, 1863-1944 (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1980).
  • Peace, Faith, Nation: Mennonites and Amish in Nineteenth-Century America (Mennonite Experience in America Vol. II; Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1988).
  • Co-Editor of Theron F. Schlabach and Richard Hughes, eds., Proclaim Peace: Christian Pacifism from Unexpected Quarters (Urbana and Chicago, 1996), essays originating in the 1992 conference at Goshen College, mentioned above.
  • Extended chapter, “History,” pp. 17-130 in Ervin Beck, ed., College Mennonite Church: 1903-2003 (Goshen, Ind.: College Mennonite Church, 2003).
  • War, Peace, and Social Conscience: Guy F. Hershberger and Mennonite Ethics (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 2009).
  • Various lesser articles, and book reviews.


  • Member of College Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind.
  • Organization of American Historians
  • Conference on Faith and History
  • Society for Religion in Higher Education
  • Mennonite Historical Society
  • Conference on Peace Research in History



Former Employments

  • Farmhand
  • Truck driver, local and regional (including of tractor-trailers), 1951-1953, 1955-1956
  • Mental hospital attendant, Ypsilanti State Hospital, Ypsilanti, Mich. (as alternative to military service), 1953-1955
  • Carpentry, factory maintenance, and additional trucking during college and graduate school


Reading, travel, camping; regional and cross-country trucking, 1972 to 2010