Leonard Gross, born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, is a native of the Franconia Mennonite Conference in eastern Pennsylvania. He graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College in 1953. From 1955 to 1957 he worked with Mennonite youth throughout North Germany, an assignment with Mennonite Central Committee. He studied theology, ethics, and church history at the University of Chicago and the University of Hamburg, Germany. In 1959 he received the B.D. degree from Goshen Biblical Seminary and in 1968 (as a Fulbright Scholar, concentrating in church history, general history, and New Testament) the Ph.D. degree from the University of Basel, Switzerland.
From 1968 to 1970, Gross taught at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. From 1970 to 1990 he served as Executive Secretary of the Historical Committee of the Mennonite Church, editor of Mennonite Historical Bulletin, and director of the Mennonite denominational archives and historical research program located at Goshen. He has written The Golden Years of the Hutterites (1980, rev. 1998). He translated and edited the classic (1708) Prayer Book for Earnest Christians: a Spiritually Rich Anabaptist Resource (1997). He edited and translated (with Elizabeth Bender) Golden Apples in Silver Bowls: The Rediscovery of Redeeming Love (1999)a translation of a Swiss-Mennonite volume of early Anabaptist sources first published in 1702. He also co-authored Selected Hutterian Documents in Translation, 1542-1654 (1975). His numerous articles on the Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites have appeared over the decades in North American and European scholarly journals.
He and his wife, Irene (Geiser), live in Goshen, Indiana, and attend College Mennonite Church. They are the parents of two grown daughters, Suzanne and Valerie. Gross currently serves on the executive of the Mennonite Historical Society.
As a child in the 1930s, Gross remembers, he experienced profound awe each time his father purposefully drove past the old stone Mennonite Meetinghouse on Germantown Avenue. He has been a board member of the Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust since 1970, helping to preserve this same Colonial Germantown Mennonite Meetinghouse built in 1770.
Jan Gleysteen was born and raised in Amsterdam, Holland, the oldest child of Mennonite bookseller Jan Gleysteen and his wife, Gerritje. As a young adult he studied illustration and design at the Municipal School of Fine Arts and at the Royal Academy. During the early 1950s he crisscrossed Europe on his bike, sketching and painting along the way, including the places from where the original Germantown families emigrated.
Gleysteen came to the United States in the fall of 1953 to study at Goshen (Ind.) College and to start his work at the Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, Pennsylvania. He served the church close to forty years as artist, writer, editor, and traveling lecturer. In 1969 Gleysteen teamed with Mennonite writer and filmmaker John L. Ruth on the first of many research trips to document, pictorially, Anabaptist-Mennonite history, life, and thought. Two of Gleysteens published works are: The Drama of the Martyrs (1975) and Mennonite Tourguide to Western Europe (1984).
Gleysteens interest in Germantown was kindled by historian J. C. Wenger in the late 1950s; and the Germantown story has continued to fascinate him ever since. For the Germantown Mennonite Tricentennial, 1683-1983, Gleysteen created a series of four pen-and-ink illustrations, plus texts telling the Germantown story. These resources still are widely used in books and periodicals.
Now retired in Goshen, Indiana, Gleysteen continues to speak and lead tours. He and his wife Barbara are members of College Mennonite Church. They are the parents of two grown children, Linda Gleysteen and David Gleysteen. Jan Gleysteen also is a board member of the Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust.
Gross took the lead in the writing of the text, and Gleysteen in creating the visuals and the map. The two worked hand in hand, attempting to bring a unity and wholeness to each of the parts.
Colonial Germantown Mennonites orders:
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