Halvorson, John Victor

Biographical Sketch

John Victor Halvorson was born December 20, 1920, in New London, Minnesota.  His grandfather Johannes, sometimes called John, was also a pastor.  John Victor obtained BA at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa (1943); BTh at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota (1950); MA at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (1953), and PhD at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia (1962); he also attended Johns Hopkins University (1954).  He married Hazel Iverson in 1946; they had six children.

He was ordained in 1945 and became pastor of two congregations concurrently in Washington: Immanuel in Everson and Zion in Ferndale (1945-49); he then became pastor of Our Savior’s in Stillwater, Minnesota (1949-52).  He was on faculty at Luther Seminary in St. Paul for 21 years (1950-71) as professor of biblical studies; his work was greatly influenced by the theology of Reinhold Niebuhr.  He returned to ministry as senior pastor of First Lutheran in Brookings, South Dakota (1971-75); senior pastor of Bethlehem in Aberdeen, South Dakota (1975-79); associate pastor of St. Olaf in Austin, Minnesota (1979-82); associate pastor of Risen Lord in Odessa, Texas (1982-85); and pastor of Decorah Lutheran in Decorah, Iowa (1985-86).

He received the Distinguished Service Award from Luther College in 1972.  He retired from active ministry in 1986 and died October 2, 2007.

Scope and Content

This collection primarily contains materials relating to the academic career of John Victor Halvorson.

BIOGRAPHICAL FILE:  Photographs, obituaries, letters, seminary registration card, and short writings.

PAPERS COLLECTION:  Correspondence with church leaders, Luther Seminary faculty and administrators, and scholars; notably including Reinhold Niebuhr, John Bright, Sigmund Mowinkel, J.A. Aasgaard, George Aus, H.L. Foss, J.C.M. Hanson, Fredrik Schiotz, Lloyd Svendsbye, and Hubert H. Humphrey.  Course materials, lecture notes, and short writings.  Materials on Lutheran history, ecumenism, and Luther Theological Seminary.  Papers, addresses, and articles written by others, including Herman A. Preus, J.A.O. Preus III, and Fredrik Schiotz.  Materials pertaining to Halvorson’s grandfather Johannes, including correspondence, sermon notes, and family history.  Photographs.  Books by Halvorson himself, Reinhold Niebuhr, and other authors; most of these are heavily annotated by Halvorson.

Date span approximately 1884 to 2007; bulk 1950 to 1986.

Folder List

  1. Career and Marriage
  2. Correspondence (1942-2005, bulk 1952-1986)
    1. General (1942-2005, bulk 1952-1978)
    2. John Bright (1978-1986)
    3. T.F. Gullixson (1949-1968)
    4. Hubert H. Humphrey (1962-1968)
    5. Sigmund Mowinkel et al. (1965) [Old Testament Studies]
    6. J.A.O. Preus, Jr. (1964-1981)
    7. Alvin Rogness (1960-1986)
  3. Academic Materials and Writings
    1. Theses and Other School Papers (1950-1953)
    2. Old Testament Course Materials
    3. Prophets Course Materials
    4. Isaiah Course Materials
    5. Church History Course Materials
    6. Bound Notes
    7. Talks, Short Writings, and Assorted Course Materials
    8. Book Reviews
  4. Lutheranism
    1. Luther Theological Seminary
    2. Lutheran History and Unity
    3. Lutheran-Catholic Relations
  5. Reinhold Niebuhr
    1. Correspondence(1959-1972, bulk 1960-1967)
    2. Clippings and Articles (1960-2006, bulk 1960-1971)
  6. Writings by Others
    1. Papers and Addresses (1945-1965)
    2. Articles and Newsletters (1934-1987, bulk 1963-1970)
    3. Paul Holmer (lecture notes)
  7. Johannes “John” Halvorson, 1861-1924 [Grandfather] (approximately 1884-1997, bulk 1884-1920)
    1. Correspondence, Documents, and Family History
    2. Sermon Notes 1
    3. Sermon Notes 2
  8. Photographs (approximately 1913-1980)
  9. Book of clippings (hardcover, 99 leaves): from newspapers in Norwegian and English