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Now on Display: Hess Archives Peace Pamphlet Collection

Explore the history of the Church of the Brethren, Quakers, and other historic peace churches and their work for pacifism and non-resistance with this month’s library display of examples from the Hess Archives Peace Pamphlet Collection.

Part of the collection is this program for the Brotherhood Peace Action Project, which was organized by the Brethren Service Commission, the General Brotherhood Board, and the Church of the Brethren.  The event took place in Washington, D.C. on June 25, 1962.

Part of the collection is this program for the Brotherhood Peace Action Project, which was organized by the Brethren Service Commission, the General Brotherhood Board, and the Church of the Brethren. The event took place in Washington, D.C. on June 25, 1962.

With materials dating from 1775 to the 1970s, the pamphlets highlight the Biblical basis of peace, alternatives to war, the experiences of conscientious objectors, and other topics on non-violence.

As an accompaniment to the display, you can search and browse over 30 of the pamphlets in our digital collections.  Scanned and described in 2008 with funding from a Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, the Peace Pamphlet Collection is just one of many digital collections available through the High Library and Hess Archives website.

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Sword of the Spirit

the sword of the spirit

the sword of the spirit

“Resting quietly in the archives of Elizabethtown College is a rusty old sword,” were the first words David Kenley and Peter DePuydt wrote in a 2010 article published in the Journal of Asian History. The long story behind this sword from China and how it came to be here is a tale of mystery that involved rebellion, death, guilt, and the power of redemption.

For many decades the sword quietly was kept in the archives, first in Rider Hall where the library was located until the College built the Zug Memorial Library in the early 1950s. The sword then moved to the High Library when it opened in 1990. Many years passed until one day in 2007 a gentleman came into the High Library and asked to see the sword. His name was Gene Wampler. The son of Brethren missionaries, Mr. Wampler had been raised in China during the 1930s and knew the story behind the sword. With Mr. Wampler’s help, its mystery began to unravel.

During the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900, a young man, only known to us now as “Mr. Li,” led a gang of young toughs.

Mr. Li and his sword

Mr. Li and his sword

In that uprising, Mr. Li used the sword to murder seven Christians, who were most likely Chinese converts. A number of years passed and Mr. Li eventually converted to Christianity sometime before the 1920s. In a 1921 letter, missionary Anna V. Blough, wrote of Mr. Li and his sword: “[He] recalls it with horror.” Mr. Li, who still possessed the sword in the 1920s, eventually gave the weapon to another Brethren missionary, Isaiah Oberholtzer, who was an Elizabethtown College graduate.

Mr. Oberholtzer (far left, front) and Mr. Li (center)

Mr. Oberholtzer (far left, front) and Mr. Li (center)

Isaiah Oberholtzer returned to Elizabethtown for a visit sometime around 1932, and at that time he donated Mr. Li’s sword to the College. The weapon’s history was lost as the years passed by until that fateful day in 2007 when Gene Wampler stopped by the library to see the final resting place of Mr. Li’s sword. On the sword’s blade is a typewritten note that reads in part: “Mr. Li has preserved this sword all of these years with a growing remorse upon his conscience. The sight of it has haunted him. But he takes [comfort] in another sword. The Sword of the Spirit, and rejoice in it.” Thus the power of redemption allowed one man to ease the burden of his troubled soul.