Professor Donald Kraybill, Senior Fellow in the Young Center of Elizabethtown College is widely known for his research and writings on Anabaptist and Amish history. On January 31, 2013, Kraybill will present a program, The True Story Behind the Amish Beard Cuttings in Ohio, at Shady Maple Banquet Hall at 6 p.m. Admission to the event is $35, and the event is sponsored by and for benefit of the Nicholas Stoltzfus House.
In September 2012, Kraybill served as expert cultural witness at the three-week federal trial of the 16 defendants from the Mullet sect in Bergholz, Ohio. He will explain what led to the hate crimes and why the defendants were judged guilty by a jury.
Kraybill has taught at Elizabethtown College since 1971. He is distinguished college professor and senior fellow in the Young Center. Recently he consulted with a PBS documentary that provided an accurate understanding of Amish life. His co-authored book, The Amish which covers all Amish communities of North America will be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in the spring of 2013.
In addition to numerous books on Amish life, Donald Kraybill wrote The Upside Down Kingdom, showing how the values of the Kingdom of God often challenge popular culture. He studied with John A. Hostetler at Temple University who is known for his role in the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court case that permitted Amish youth to end formal schooling at the eighth grade.
Most early Amish families immigrated to Berks County, Pa. Nicholas was about the last to bring his family to Berks in 1770 or 71 near Reading. It is estimated that nearly one million descendants of Nicholas through his son Christian and daughter Barbara (wife of John Smucker) are living today. Preserving the House connects the varied descendants, many comprising Amish districts.