Do you read Amish newspapers?

Last week the Budget was covered in an article in the Wall Street Journal, not the first time the Ohio newspaper has received attention from conventional media.

The Journal’s writer explores its folksy appeal, quoting publisher Keith Rathbun, who describes the paper as “like someone talking over the back fence to a neighbor.”

Also mentioned in the WSJ piece is one competing publication, Die Botschaft, published by Amishman Elam Lapp. Die Botschaft is stricter about content allowed and sees a smaller circulation than the Budget (12,000 vs. 18,000, according to WSJ).  Like the Budget, the bulk of the content in Die Botschaft is made up of letters of regular writers.

Last February I had a chance to meet Elam one evening at his Pennsylvania home. After a late snack of cheese sandwiches and coffee, he sent me off with a number of goodies, including copies of two other publications he produces.

One I was already familiar with: Plain Interests, a thinner, more recently-launched correspondence paper. The second I was not: The Old Country News, an ad-free periodical featuring reprints of stories and recipes of yesteryear. The WSJ article shares a single quote from Elam, suggesting why his papers have succeeded: “We don’t have TV or radio or things like that.”

The Diary
The Diary, also full of Amish letters

If given a chance to elaborate I imagine Elam would tell you it is about more than just entertainment (though that certainly is part of the appeal of many of these publications).

Elam’s papers are just a few of many periodicals the Amish go through each month. These include monthly devotional pamphlets, free advertising papers like the Fishwrapper, and correspondence journals like The Budget and Die Botschaft.

Some are published by Amish or contain Amish-generated content, though a number do not, being produced by Christian organizations or by local sources. Readership also goes in the other direction, with quite a few non-Amish subscribing to Amish publications.

What about you–do you read any Amish periodicals? Why do you find them appealing?

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    64 Comments

    1. I pick up old issues of the Die Botschaft from friends when I visit. Often I read about people and things that I know. The ads are also interesting particularly all the alternative medicine adds.
      Tom the back roads traveller

    2. Marcus Yoder

      I read the budget. I have cousin that writes the Arcola Illinois news. I keep track of some other settlements
      Marcus Yoder

    3. Mary Yoder

      AMISH PAPERS

      Hi,
      I read The Connection from cover to cover!! You can’t beat the versatility of this family magazine. I could be prejudiced. smile…
      I also read the Die Blatt and Ladies Journal, both Amish editors.
      I don’t read the Budget, I think it would take too much time, maybe once I am old enough to go slower and need a pass time.

      1. Mary what a coincidence, I am a fan of that first magazine you mention too 😉

      2. Emily

        Mary,

        We subscribe to the Budget and it does take quite a long time to read through even one of them. They have been stacking up this summer, with all of the other things we have going on around our home. I also read other things as well, so if I had nothing else to read *and* I had a lot of time on my hands, the Budget is kind of nice to see what’s happening in the settlements we visit.

        We were just down in Topeka last week and stopped by the Connection main office there. Unfortunately it was closed, but we did get a lovely slice of pie and ice cream down the road, and met the nice folks at the stove store there, too. 🙂 The Connection is my next Amish-focused publication. Look forward to it, as I’ve read really nice things about it.

        1. SURPRISE

          Thank you to Erik that he put forward this theme.

          Seemingly there are quite some publication series on / from the Amish.

          Nevertheless, most seem to be published in the English language, which might be a clue for a foreigner as me (a German), on the general communication level of DUTSCH.

          And, it is nice to see that some Amish people come out to read and write their comments on this internet platform.

          I would like to have kind of pal (sevaral maybe), to learn more about this culture.
          I am earnestly interested in culture matters.
          Until now, I have done more studies in some Asian cultures, but am more curious about DUTSCH, we call “deutsch”, but what can I find here in Berlin?

          Viele Gruesse,

          Oliver

          1. Oliver, since there are no Old Order Amish in Europe you might need to visit the “other” Berlin, the one in Holmes County Ohio 🙂

            Pennsylvania Dutch/German is spoken widely by Amish but seldom written, though there are some written texts in the dialect, such as the New Testament: https://www.lehmans.com/p-2805-amish-bible.aspx?show=all

    4. AMISH PAPERS

      I don’t know if THE VENDOR qualifies, but it is a publication for “plain people.” Being a city dweller, I have always enjoyed the ads and columns about horses, something I would otherwise know nothing about. The quizes are great and so are the articles.

    5. Roberta McGowan

      I had sent for a copy of The Budget and found it very interesting. Is there anyway to get copies or subscribe to The Old Country News. I would eally enjoy the stories and recipies.

    6. Janina

      At this moment, I don’t read any publication. If I could here in Belgium, I think I would read Family Life. I enjoyed reading some copies for my thesis as it had a little bit of everything (recipes, book reviews, stories, a question and answer section…). Pretty much like my “normal” Belgian magazines I read, just a more simple lay-out. (I must say I enjoyed the drawings as well!)

      Die Botschaft is definitely something I wouldn’t read, as I just don’t think it’s interesting for someone who isn’t Amish. The things mentioned in it (the weather, who got married, who had a baby, etc.) are not relevant to me, as I have no idea who the people are they are writing about.
      (I did enjoy checking out the advertisements, as I found it interesting to see what they advertise about.)

    7. Mike Sparks

      Do you read Amish newspapers

      I used to be a subscriber to the Budget when I was younger and enjoyed reading the letters from various areas of the US, with most of my concentration on Ohio districts. I found the information very pure and heart felt.

      In this day an age of Twitter, texts, emails, etc., it’s nice to know that some people still have the ability and take the time with paper and pen and can write a letter that conveys more information than 140 characters.

    8. Christine T

      I haven’t, but I would like to.

    9. Lattice

      No newspapers. Family Life and Young Companion, yes.

    10. Family Life, used to subscribe to all 3, but just Family Life now.

    11. Robin L Wyatt

      would love to

      I would love to read all the newspapers and magazines if there is any. I would love to learn more about the Amish and Mennonites and other Plain communities. But have no clue of how to get them.

      Robin

      1. Mary Yoder

        Robin,
        You can write to:
        The Connection LLC
        PO BOX 603
        Topeka, IN 46571
        and request a one time free issue… or email to:
        theconnection3@centurylink.net

    12. Mike Sparks

      Comment on Do you read Amish Newspapers

      Robin,
      Contact the Budget at:
      134 North Factory St
      PO Box 249
      Sugarcreek, OH 44681-0249
      330-852-4634

      1. Robin Wyatt

        Amish Newspapers

        Thank You for the Information Mike Sparks.

    13. Tom

      Information

      I also would be very interested in reading The Budget and other publications. Can anyone provide the subscription information for The Budget and any othet publications?

      1. Mary Yoder

        Tom,
        You can write to:
        The Connection LLC
        PO BOX 603
        Topeka, IN 46571
        and request a one time free issue… or email to:
        theconnection3@centurylink.net
        Thanks for the interest, Mary

      2. Christen

        The Budget subscription info

        The Budget has a website with subscription information: http://www.thebudgetnewspaper.com

    14. Osiah Horst

      Amish Papers

      We subscribe to Family Life, Young Companion, and Blackboard Bulletin. I just bought 1965 to 1969 copies of the Blackboard Bulletin, which I would expect includes the first issue. We also read The Journal, a southern Ontario OOM monthly newsletter similar in style to The Budget.

      Address to subscribe to Pathway papers:
      Pathway Publishers, 10380 Carter Road, Aylmer, Ontario N5H 2R3

    15. Rich and Polly Stevick

      Some Amish periodicals to give away

      AA Friends,

      My dear wife has finally succeeded in getting me to downsize, and as a result I have a number of Family LIfe, Young Companion, Blackboard Bulletin,and Diary issues to give away. If you would like them, let me know at rstevick@messiah.edu. If you can cover the postage involved, that would be great. I’m guessing it would be around $12 for four pounds of magazines. Machs goot. Rich P.S. I also have a good number of books on Ammish-related themes which you are welcome to inquire about. Note to Erik: If this sounds like a commercial or violates AA protocol, strike it. Aus liebe, R

      1. Susan

        Rich-periodicals

        Rich,

        I would be interested in your periodicals. What books do you have? I would be happy to pay you for them! I am located in North Alabama and get up to the Ethridge TN community as often as I can. There are truly kind folks there I enjoy talking to everytime I go =)

        Please feel free to contact me via email ses228@gmail.com.

        Susan

      2. Christine T

        I would love to have a few – maybe just one of each?

        1. Rich Stevick

          Your request for Amish book titles

          Christine, If you send me your email address, I will email you a partial list of the non-fiction on Amish life and culture that I have assembled to date. Machs goot. Rich

          1. Christine T

            thanks so much!

            My email is nnjangel@yahoo.com. I want not sure how to send my address directly to you but I am sure no one here is going to spam me 🙂

      3. What an offer! Thank you Stevicks. 🙂

    16. Christine

      I recently subscribed to Family Life and eagerly await each arrival! Thank you Mike for noting the Budget information; I would love to subscribe to that as well.

    17. carebear57

      Amish Newspapers

      I usually will pick up a copy of The Budget when we make our yearly visit to Holmes County. I find it fascinating reading on an occasional basis, but don’t think I could read it regularly–it takes me forever to get thru one issue! But I do enjoy it a great deal.

    18. The Budget

      I read the Budget and had been getting Connection, but found I wasn’t getting a chance to read it (and a few other magazines) so I need to drop it. But I enjoy the Budget, especially reading about the communities where I lived in Chautauqua County, NY.

      The Card Showers are interesting and I did send a card out to a woman about my age who had recently had a surgery similar to one of mine. As a journalist, I actually enjoy it — and since we’re moving, have been wrapping all the breakables in my old copies!

    19. Christen

      Publications

      I subscribe to The Budget (it reminds me of home, I grew up in Navarre near OH Amish Country) and Family Life! I would love to receive The Diary and Old Country News, does anyone have any order information for either of these publications? Thank you!

      1. Christen the Diary info you’ll see below courtesy of City Slicker; I don’t have my copy of Old Country News but it should be out of the same address as Plain Interests:

        420 Weaver Road
        Millersburg, PA 17061

        OCN is quite old content, some of them turn of the century pieces if I recall. A slice of another era.

    20. julie

      I read Plain Interests. I love it. It has all types of stories. Health articles, family stories, questions and answers and many other articles. It is monthly newspaper from PA but includes stories from all Amish settlements. It costs less than $20.00 a year in the US. I have every paper since I started subscribing. Always has some information that I need to save. Great little paper.

      Plain Interests
      420 Weaver Road
      Millersburg, PA
      17061

      1. Christen

        Thank you for posting the information for Plain Interests!

      2. Daniel Summy

        Old article

        I would like to have a copy of the paper published in May of 2015. The story of the bulk and the eggs was about my first cousin and her family.

        1. Daniel Summy

          Typo

          I meant The Bull and the Eggs

    21. Joan Sheldon

      Pathways

      I read all 3 Pathway Magazines and Plain Interest as well as Beside Still Waters. The Plain papers are a lot more sensible than most of the English junk that is available.

    22. Al in Ky

      I have been a reader/subscriber to The Budget for many years. I
      bought my first issue at Yoder’s Restaurant in Arthur, Illinois, about twenty-five years ago.

      I don’t always have time to read the whole issue, but I always read the news from about thirty Amish/Mennonite communities I am familiar with. It keeps me informed of births, deaths, weddings,accidents, etc. in those communities. It also helps me learn of new settlements in areas I try to keep up with (Ky., Ind., Minn. and Iowa), as well learning of communities disbanding or changing (such as leaving the New Order Amish for another plain church affiliation). After reading The Budget for many years, I have also developed a list of favorite writers(called scribes by The Budget). Even though I have not visited their specific church districts, they write in such an interesting manner that I always want to read their letters.

      A few years ago, The Budget started a new page called “Ponderings and Musings from Budgetland”. This is a whole page of poems, artwork, stoies, etc. sent in from people of all ages from many different areas. It is very interesting to look at the mnay original freehand drawings sent in by Amish children and youth. It would be interesting to follow these youth in coming years to see if they continue their artwork. Some of it is very good,considering the age of the child.

    23. Kathy Rowe

      I get several of the papers and magazines. Love to read them. Very interesting.

    24. Do I read local paper

      I read the Dir Courier (don’t think I am spelling it like it is written) Local Daviess County Indiana Amish publication by Prairie Creek Printing in Cannelburg/Montgomery Indiana (South Wast Indiana). We keep past copies in the Chamber of Commerce to give away because visitors love to read them and see a bit of the local slower way of life.
      Specify the Courier Subscription
      9309 E 800 N , Montgomery, IN 47558 (812) 636-7243

      1. Kourier

        The newspaper is spelled with a K

      2. Thanks for sharing Samantha. Someone recently asked me about a Daviess County paper. This is nice to know.

    25. City Slicker

      The Diary

      Subscriptions:
      $25 per year (US – $35 Canadian)

      The Diary
      PO Box 77
      Bart, PA 17503

      1. Susan Abbott

        How to order

        Dear City Slicker, do I simply send a check to the address listed? How long is the subscription and how often does it come out? Finally, I am most interested in news from Amish Country, PA, is this publication going to do that? Thanks, Susan

        1. Rich Stevick

          Response to your PA question

          The Diary is produced in PA but like the other two papers, Die Botschaft and The Budget, they cover news from all over Amish-dom. (Also it comes out monthly instead of weekly.) Die Botschaft has more subscribers from PA than does The Budget. But I don’t know of any paper that focuses primarily on Pennsylvania. Hope this helps. Rich Stevick P.S. I think Die Botschaft costs $42 per year. You can contact me thru Erik if you need subscription information. Rich

          1. Susan Abbott

            Amish newspapers

            Rich, thanks for the quick response. I would love subscription information. I tried to read the Budget once and got so overwhelmed by the mere volume of the content that I never tried reading it again. I am going to order the Diary, and if you send the info on other paper, I will order that as well. Thanks again.

            Susan

            1. Rich Stevick

              Here's The Diary Information

              The Diary, P.O. Box 77, Bart, PA 17503. I think the subscription cost is still $25 per year. Phone is 717 529 3938; FAX is 717 529 3292. The owner, Don Carpenter, is a friend of mine and has a vast knowledge of Amish life and culture. Rich Stevick P.S. I still have some papers to give away but sadly have become bogged down in getting them together and mailed out. Rich

              1. Susan Abbott

                Thanks

                Thanks, I appreciate the info and will call them today. Susan

    26. Chris

      We get Family Life and Keepers at Home. We also get a publication called Plain Things that is put out by a non-affiliated Anabaptist community in Caneyville, KY. Many of those living in the community are former Amish or German Baptists and the articles are interesting and though provoking.

    27. Jean Junkin

      Reading Amish Newspapers

      I was getting the Budget under a 6 month subscription. I tried to read everything in it, but found that I just couldn’t read it all. It took so much time. So I picked the states that I was interested in and ready them. The Budget is where I got my Amish Pen Pal. She asked if anyone had atrial fibrilation like she had. I answered that I did and we have been corresponding ever since. Her husband is the Bishop in the Berlin District in Ohio.

      1. Reading the Budget in full would be like reading a full book each week. Really nice to hear you made that connection Jean. People ask about finding an Amish pen pal often…having something in common no doubt helps.

    28. Alice Mary

      Late once again...

      …but I wanted to add to this posting. I’ve subscribed to The Connection (Hi, Mary!) and honestly read it cover to cover, also, though sometimes I’m a month or two behind! I get a kick out of the kids page (I at least TRY to do the puzzles on their page—I’m usually flummoxed by the adult “puzzles”, though I managed to get two or three correct during the past 16 mos. since I started my subscription.)

      I read it (and enjoy it—especially photos of the schools, crafts, businesses & their products—like the lady who made prayer Kapps, and the photo of the wedding “wagon” and “Eck”) for the same reason I read & follow Amish America—the Amish and their simpler (“plain”) life appeals to me. A lot of what they do reminds me of what my Mom & Grandmothers & Aunts once did, using some of the same “technology”—canning, using treadle sewing machines, wood stoves, hanging out the wash, fertilizing with manure, “recycling” clothing into other things. Since I work full time and don’t have the financial means to visit many Amish communities, reading the Connection, with contributors from all over the country; doing so makes me feel like I’m taking a mini-vacation.

      In fact, I have a birthday coming up later this month, and I’m adding another year’s subscription to my “wish list”—if not for my birthday, maybe Christmas? (Hint, hint, to my family!) 🙂

      I enjoyed this post, and learning about the other Amish publications, as well.

      Alice Mary

      1. Mary Yoder

        Amish Papers

        Hi Alice Mary, ( the one who has my name backward..ha)

        Thank you so much for the comments and I am so glad you like it. We have such talented writers! Thanks also for the personal notes you’ve sent. Isn’t Mrs. Gid a hoot? Such honesty.. Mary

        1. Alice Mary

          Ditto, Mary Alice (“backward name” and all 🙂 …)!

          Yes, Mrs. Gid is a favorite of mine (I always imagine myself seated at the desk, peering out the window, in the graphic that accompanies her column).

          I also get a kick out of the “Chupps” Auction ads, with the comments therein! I look forward to them every month (they’re sometimes quite “daring”, mentioning certain family members). They make me smile 🙂

          I hope you all have fun as you travel to gather more info for your enjoyable magazine.

          Gratefully,

          Alice Mary

    29. OldKat

      Die Botschaft

      Die Botschaft is an interesting name to me, because that is the name of a newspaper that was published in our town in the late 1800’s. Around the year 1880 to near the end of the century, maybe into the early 1900’s I think. I think it means “The Message” in English.

      1. That’s correct Oldkat. Sounds like you are in a German immigration area of Texas.

      2. title "Die Botschaft"

        Hi,

        you are right it is “message”, but nowadays more used in Germany in the meaning of “spreading Christian faith”, or “the good word”.

        But, the first meaning came to my conscience before that, namely “embassy”.

        Oliver

    30. Eddy A. Flick

      Amish Papers

      Erik, I read The Budget when I can, or at least parts of it. I did subscribe to the Canadian magazines once and enjoined them as well. Perhaps you can make a listing of Amish/Mennonite etc. publications.

      I have a friend that will join your site soon. We took a trip to Shipshewa back in April and I have a picture I want to email in. I will try to do that in a few days.

      We all appreciate what you do with AmishAmerica. I hope I can meet you someday!

      Also, if there is anyone that is near Flintstone, Ga/Chattanooga, TN and they are interested in Amish/Mennonite things I’d love to hear from them.
      I surely want your new book!
      God bless!

      1. Thanks Eddy! That would be great. And feel free to mail it in anytime.

        I haven’t put them into a list, but there are quite a few with details listed on this post: https://amishamerica.com/amish-publications-addresses-order-subscription-info/

    31. Susan M. Abbott

      Yes, I read Amish papers

      Hello Erik:

      I read The Diary every month, as I am frequently in Lancaster County and count many Amish among my close friends. I have recently begun reading “The Ladies Journal,” not a newspaper, but a magazine style Christian Publication. The Diary is fascinating reading, if only for the letters from Amish and Mennonites from across the country. I enjoy reading about the weddings and birth announcements, and I keep abreast of what is happening 500 miles away from my home in Sandown, NH. I tried to read the Budget once and honestly found it to be too cumbersome and wordy. The Diary is much more user friendly. I also appreciate the lack of ads. I plan to subscribe to both The Diary and The Ladies Journal so I don’t miss an issue.

      1. Different Amish publications

        Susan, thanks for sharing your thoughts on Amish publications–I have a few copies of Ladies Journal myself (research purposes! 🙂 ), and had the pleasure of talking to its creator once. It seems like a very well-produced magazine.

        If I were to choose between Budget and Diary I’d probably go with Diary for its more convenient size (since Budget is newspaper-style). Of course if I were interested in certain communities or scribes that might make me choose the Budget.

        I actually kind of like the ads too, they are a window into Amish life in their own way. For instance: https://amishamerica.com/amish-housewives-helpers/

        One of our contributors here has been visiting scribes in various communities in the Midwest and I think both he and they have been enjoying it 🙂

    32. Schuhmacher

      Welche Amish-Zeitungen sind auf Deutsch?

      Guten Tag

      Ich suche eine Zeitung der Amish welche auf Deutsch berichtet.
      Gibt es eine Solche und wen ja wo kann man sie bestellen?

      viele Grüsse