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Religious Records Research at the Archives & Library of the Ohio History Connection


In 1883, the Brethren Church formed in Dayton, Ohio. The Brethren Church grew out of a religious tradition originating in Europe during the eighteenth century. They migrated to North America, where they established the German Baptist Brethren Church in 1723. During the 1880s, the German Baptist Brethren Church divided. Some Brethren, who formed the Brethren Church in 1883, sought to seek new members through Sunday Schools, establishing colleges and universities, and holding revivals. Another group of Brethren, known as the Old Order Brethren, rejected the ideas of the other group, believing that it would lead to too much interaction between the Brethren and the secular world. A third group, known as the Conservatives or, beginning in 1908, as the Church of the Brethren, sought a middle ground between these two other entities. The German Baptist Brethren Church established Ashland University in 1879. 

Below are lists of select archival and library materials related to the Brethren Church, available for research at the Ohio History Connection Archives & Library. Review the catalog links below, or explore our Online Collections Catalog using a specific church name or related search terms for more information [example search terms: "Brethren", "Brethren Church", "Evangelical United Brethren Church"].

Archival Records

John J. Excell Papers. 1850-1887 [MSS 45]

Scrapbook, 1898 June. [VOL 904]

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