GOSHEN — “A first-born and only son, I opened my eyes in a sprawling 122-year-old farmhouse along a pleasant creek in southeastern Pennsylvania,” writes Mennonite historian John Landis Ruth in “Branch: A Memoir with Pictures.” As 83-year-old Ruth tells his story through photos and essays, readers can get a glimpse of his life and also the Mennonite family and community in which he was raised.
Ruth will offer a lecture about his new memoir, “Branch,” in Goshen College’s Newcomer Center Room 17 Thursday at 7 p.m. A reception will follow the lecture, during which books will be available for purchase and signing. The event is free and open to the public.
Ruth’s coffee table-style book features full-page photos paired with mini-essay from every year of his adult life.
Born on a farm in Montgomery County, Pa., Ruth, at the age of 20, was chosen to be a Mennonite minister by the casting of lots. Subsequent studies took him to Harvard, where he earned a Ph.D. He later became a professor of English at what is now Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., with a sabbatical as guest professor of American literature at the University of Hamburg, Germany.
An ordained minister, historical storyteller and heritage tour leader, Ruth has been researching, writing and communicating the Anabaptist-Mennonite story for more than 60 years.
Ruth’s other books include “Conrad Grebel, Son of Zurich” (1975); “‘Twas Seeding Time: A Mennonite View of the American Revolution” (1976); “Maintaining the Right Fellowship: A Narrative Account of Life in the Oldest Mennonite Community in North America” (1984); “The Earth is the Lord’s: A Narrative History of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference” (2001); and “Forgiveness: A Legacy of the West Nickel Mines Amish School” (2006).
Ruth is scheduled to appear at other local book signings:
• Friday, April 25, 7 p.m., Greencroft Retirement Community, Goshen.
• April 28, 7 p.m., Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Middlebury.
• April 29, 7 p.m., Mennohof, Shipshewana.