The Work of Pioneering Amish Studies Scholar Walter Kollmorgen: Annotations of His 1940s Amish Publications

woman preparing a meal

Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies

Anderson, Cory. 2023.


Research Points
  • This article annotates Walter Kollmorgen’s two seminal contributions to Amish studies scholarship: a 1942 report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a 1943 article in the American Journal of Sociology.

  • The Amish, having settled a productive region in Lancaster County, rely on farming (as an expression of rurality) to survive, as it is advantageous for nonconformity—living together and keeping the outside out.

  • Amish apply the Bible literally and adhere to past practices where the Bible is not clear, refusing to compromise old discipline, thus achieving stability.

  • The Amish maintain separation by providing no focal point in the community (e.g. a meetinghouse) and maintaining a mentality of separation in school and village interactions. The Amish community is administratively divided into districts that have local leadership.

  • The Amish struggle some to adjust to a society where legislation increasingly standardizes the country, but they also have internal struggles related to land prices/farm acquisition and differences over regulations.

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