Olson Campus Center at dusk

ELCA Region 3 Archives

Tracing the region's Lutheran tradition

The Region 3 Archives (covering the Dakotas and Minnesota) constitutes one of the largest collections of American Lutheran material in the United States. Beginning with largely Norwegian, Danish and Swedish Lutheran records (the 1840's and on) and continuing to the present, the collection documents the full range of activities that marked the predecessor church bodies to the current Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The finding aids were created to describe our holdings to the subseries level (in effect, to the "box level"), though there a few exceptions where greater detail has been used. The inventories are intended to provide an overall sense of our collections' scope. While we hope that these finding aids will be helpful, we realize that some researchers will need us to provide greater detail than the inventories currently give. We invite these researchers to send their questions directly to the archives staff via e-mail, phone or mail.


Lutheran Family Trees is a collection of flow charts representing the historical relationships of smaller church organizations.

Record Group 1

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Region 3

Record Group 2

Evangelical Lutheran Church

Record Group 3

Norwegian Synod

Record Group 4

Hauge Synod

Record Group 5

United Norwegian Lutheran Church

Record Group 6

Scandinavian Augustana Synod

Record Group 7

Norwegian-Danish Conference

Record Group 8

Eielsen Synod

Record Group 9

Lutheran Free Church

Record Group 10

Lutheran Cooperation

Record Group 11

Personal papers


Family Trees

The "family trees" provided below are intended to help students of American Lutheran history make sense of the often bewildering array of Lutheran church bodies (or "synods") that have existed in this country. As some of the church body names indicate, the divisions were often based on the country of origin and ethnic background of the immigrant-founded synod. Differences in worship traditions and polity, in addition to the language used, also contributed to the "splintering" of American Lutheranism.

Streams of Tradition Forming Luther Seminary

Danish-American Lutheranism

Forming the Lutheran Church in America

Norwegian-American Lutheranism, 1846-1917

Norwegian-American Lutheranism (Abbreviated)

Forming the American Lutheran Church

Forming the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Swedish-American Lutheranism

The Emergence of the Missouri Synod


Record group 1: Evangelical Lutheran Church In America

1988-present

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed in 1988 with the merger of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (1976-1987), the American Lutheran Church (1960-1987), and the Lutheran Church in America (1962-1987). This 5 million member denomination is divided into 9 regions and 65 synods. The archival headings described below comprise collections gathered by the Region 3 Archives since 1988. While some of the span dates below indicate pre-1988 material, these records were gathered and maintained by the Region 3 Archives in their original order and so left intact. The variety of these materials reflects the broader collection strategy of the Archives since the beginning of the ELCA.

Of special interest to researchers are the congregational and the biographical files (indicated below). The files on congregations document the Lutheran church in this country at the "grass-roots" level as no other record is able to do. The +2,500 files on both existing and closed congregations include a range of materials from news clippings and history booklets to photographs and other audio-visual materials. The +2,000 biographical files contain a wide range of items documenting the lives of prominent and clergy and lay persons in the Lutheran church. These files exist along side of, and make reference to, the larger collections of personal papers described elsewhere in the Luther Seminary Archives inventory and in the Region 3 Archives inventory.

Synods, 1930-present

75.0 cu. ft.

Congregations, 1850-present

72 .0cu. ft.

Biographical files, 1840-present

17.0 cu. ft.

Institutions and organizations, 1920-present

65.0 cu. ft.

Global missions-Tanzania and Liberia, 1950-present

15.0 cu. ft.


Record Group 2: Evangelical Lutheran Church

1916-1960

The Evangelical Lutheran Church was formed in 1917 from the merger of the Norwegian Synod (1853-1916), Hauge’s Synod (1876-1916) and the United Norwegian Lutheran Church (1890-1916), each represented more extensively in succeeding series. From 1917-1947 the name of this church body was the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America (NLCA). In 1947 the name was changed to the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC). Records of the NLCA/ELC span the period 1916-1960, and together with some material from predecessor church bodies run to 418.5 cubic feet.

President’s Office, 1917-1960

17.4 cu. ft.

Secretary/Treasurer’s Office, 1890-1960

1.0 cu. ft.

Church Council, 1917-1960

2.0 cu. ft.

Board of Trustees, 1917-1960

3.0 cu. ft.

Stewardship, 1935-1960

.5 cu. ft.

Higher education, 1879-1935

34.0 cu. ft.

Parish education, 1920-1960

25.0 cu. ft.

Home missions, 1894-1975

64.0 cu. ft.

World missions, 1890-present

86.0 cu. ft.

China, 1890-1948

45.0 cu. ft.

Hong Kong, 1948-present

7.0 cu. ft.

Taiwan, 1948-1985

8.0 cu. ft.

Japan, 1891-1990

10.0 cu. ft.

Madagascar, 1890-1990

16.0 cu ft.

South Africa, 1894-1998

15.0 cu. ft.

Tanzania, 1935-1975

5.0 cu. ft.

Cameroon, 1917-1987

14.0 cu. ft.

Nigeria, 1950-1962

1.0 cu. ft.

South America, 1950-1988

3.0 cu. ft.

India, Santal Mission, 1890-1985

4.0 cu. ft.

Liberia, 1950-1962

1.0 cu. ft.

Charities, 1917-1960

31.0 cu. ft.

Pensions, 1917-1960

3.0 cu. ft.

Deaconess work, 1917-1963

15.0 cu. ft.

Special Services Department, 1946-1960

8.0 cu. ft.

Women’s Missionary Federation, 1917-1963

68.0 cu. ft.

Lutheran Daughters of the Reformation, 1926-1963

7.0 cu. ft.

ELC Brotherhood, 1936-1960

6.0 cu. ft.

Young Peoples Luther League, 1917-1960

15.0 cu. ft.

NLCA/ELC Circuits & Districts, 1917-1960

12.0 cu. ft.

Malagasy pastors (ca. 1910)

Class of Malagasy pastors in Norwegian style robe and ruff.

ca. 1910

 

 


Record group 3: Norwegian Synod

1851-1917

The Norwegian Synod, 1853-1917, with its headquarters in Decorah, Iowa established congregations in the earliest immigrant communities in the Upper Midwest. This group was characterized by adherence to theological orthodoxy and strong ties to the Church of Norway "high church" tradition. Luther College in Decorah and Luther Seminary in Saint Paul were their main educational institutions with mission efforts in China and South Africa. Records span the period 1851-1917, and run to roughly 9 cubic feet. Serial records and documentation of early Norwegian-American Lutheran activities in both domestic and international mission work predominate in the collection.

Folke Kalendar, 1858-1917

1 cu. ft.

Synodal Beretninger

6 cu. ft.

Church Council, Minutes

8".

Charities, 1898-1920

1 vol.

Pensions, 1913-1919

4".

Home Missions, 1898-1906

1 vol.

Publications, Lutheran Publishing House, 1905-1915

6".

Special Services, Choral Union, 1905-1915

1 fol.

Circuits & Districts, Scrapbook, 1904

1 cu ft.

Daniel Nelson, Sr- the first missionary to China (1890)

Daniel Nelson, Sr. was the first Norwegian-American missionary to China. 1890

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Record group 4: Hauge Synod

1876-1917

The Hauge Synod, the most numerous Norwegian pietistic group, separated from the "Eielsen Synod" in 1876. Named for the evangelical lay preacher and religious reformer of 18th and 19th century Norway, Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824), the group de-emphasized formal worship and stressed personal faith experience. Reflecting a "low-church" Lutheranism, the Hauge Synod records revolve around domestic and international missions activities and annual reports, featuring a highly informative scrapbook of the Mission Dove, the women's auxiliary of the mission effort. The size of materials listed below indicate a book binding approach with the records rather than the typical archival box approach.

Incorporation and real property, 1858-1917

1 fol.

Annual reports, 1875-1917

2 vols.

Trustees, 1893-1917

2 vols.

Education, 1906-1917

1 vol.

Publications,1877-1909

3 vols.

Home Missions, Cashbook, 1906-1913

1 vol.

Mission Dove of Hauge's Synod/WMF,1901-1917

1 vol.


Record group 5: United Norwegian Lutheran Church

1890-1917

Roughly 12 cubic feet of records document the first merger within Norwegian-American Lutheranism, as it joined the pietist Norwegian-Danish Augustana Synod with the Conference for the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Church and the Anti-Missourian Brotherhood, a splinter group from the Norwegian Synod. It steered a middle course between "high" and "low church" factions within Norwegian–American Lutheranism. This church body was associated with St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN), Augustana College (Sioux Falls, SD) and Concordia College (Moorhead, MN). Its seminary, known to most as simply the "United Seminary" was located in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, the current location of Luther Seminary. Major foci in this collection include annual reports, mission activities, and congregational records, including 16 volumes recording congregational visitations, 1899-1915.

Seminary Controversy, 1896-1897

6".

Folkekalendar, 1892-1916

1 cu. ft.

Aarsberetning / Aarsmode,1890-1916

4.0 cu. ft.

Church Council, 1905-1914

1 fol.

Correspondence, 1893-1905

2".

Board of Trustees & Committees, 1891-191

6".

Education, 1913, 1899, 1904-1914

3 vol.

Home Missions, 1914-1917

4.0 cu. ft.

Foreign Missions, 1894-1917

4.0 cu. ft.

Congregational Register & receipts, 1890-1893

6".

Visitations Register, 1899-1915

16 vols.

Women's Missionary Federation, 1911-1915

8.0 cu. ft.

Special Services, 1891

1 fol.

Young People's Luther League, 1909-1914

4 ".

Circuits, 1890-1916

2.0 cu. ft.


Record group 6: Scandinavian Augustana Synod

1860-1890

The Augustana Synod was formed from pietist Scandinavian elements in the new land. Initially a union of Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes, the Scandinavian Augustana Synod again split in 1870 leaving the Swedes with the remainder of the Augustana Synod and forming the Norwegian-Danish Augustana Synod. The group pioneered in ecumenical efforts, but records are scanty, merely the annual reports for the period 1861-1889. In 1890 the Norwegian-Danish Augustana Synod was absorbed in the founding of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church.

Conference, Reports, 1870-1889

2 cu. ft.

President, Copybook, 1887-1890

3 vols.

Financial matters, 1882-1889

3. ''

Journal, 1882-1889

1 vol.

Congregations 1874-1885

2 vols.

Trustees, Minutes, 1870-1886

1 vol.

Constitution, 1876

1 fol.

Publications, 1877-1884

1 fol.

Documents, 1874

1 fol.

Picture, Annual meeting, 1886

1 fol.


Record group 7: Norwegian-Danish Conference

1870-1890

A consciously Norwegian response to the predominantly Swedish Augustana Lutheran Synod, the NDC sought a middle way between pietist and state church extremes of Norwegian-American Lutheranism. Scanty records include Conference reports, 1870-1889 and correspondence for the period 1887-1890, as well as congregational records 1874-1886. In 1890 the Conference joined with two other groups to form the United Norwegian Lutheran Church.

Conference, Reports, 1870-1889

2 cu. ft.

President, Copybook, 1887-1890

3 vols.

Financial matters, 1882-1889

3. ''

Journal, 1882-1889

1 vol.

Congregations 1874-1885

2 vols.

Trustees, Minutes, 1870-1886

1 vol.

Constitution, 1876

1 fol.

Publications, 1877-1884

1 fol.

Documents, 1874

1 fol.

Picture, Annual meeting, 1886

1 fol.


Record group 8: Eielsen Synod

1846-1882

The first formal synodical organization of Haugean pietists was formed in 1846 by firebrand preacher and early settlement leader Elling Eielsen. Formally designated the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it was characterized by an emphasis on personal affirmation of religious faith, congregational autonomy, and a narrow toleration of religious heterodoxy. Rampant sectarianism rapidly dissolved the Eielsen Synod surrounding the character of the synod leader, culminating in the departure of its largest contingent to form the pietist Hauge Synod in 1876. Remnants of the synod continued into the twentieth century in villages, congregations, and individual families, decreasing to merely three families at the present time. Records fill one 4-inch document case with five folders of official documents of the synod and three folders of subsequent historical explorations regarding its stormy history.

Annual reports, 1854-1877

2 fols.

Constitution, 1877

1 fol.

Correspondence, longhand originals, 1873

1 fol.

Minutes, Election of Officers, 1911-1913

1 fol.

Photographs, Conferences, 1907, 1924, 1934; 2 families

1 fol.

Commentary, 1842-1965, 1939

1 fol.

Historical collections, 1950-1970

4 fols.

Conferences 1960s-1970s

1 fol.


Record group 9: Lutheran Free Church

1897-1960

Under the dynamic leadership of Georg Sverdrup, the Lutheran Free Church (LFC) emerged from the United Norwegian Lutheran Church surrounding controversy regarding the future of Augsburg Seminary and College, Minneapolis. The Church focused on congregational autonomy within a minimal denominational and credal identity. Liturgically "low church," its records reflect a broad array of church activities, amounting to 70 cubic feet of records. These document the church’s educational and missions activities, while publications and records of the Presidents Office are also notable.

General publications, 1893-1963

2.0 cu. ft.

President's Office, 1897-1963

14.0 cu. ft.

Board of Organization, 1897-1963

7.0 cu. ft.

Augsburg Seminary/Augsburg College, 1874-1963

4.0 cu. ft.

Education, 1908-1963

3.0 cu. ft.

Home Missions, 1897-1963

8.0 cu. ft.

Lutheran Board of Foreign Missions, 1891-1963

12.0 cu. ft.

Madagascar

6.0 cu. ft.

Japan

2.5 cu. ft.

China

3.5 cu. ft.

Ministers' Pension Fund, 1909-1963

2.0 cu. ft.

Charities, 1898-1963

2.0 cu. ft.

LFC Publishing Company, 1924-1963

1.0 cu. ft.

Luther League Federation, 1915-1963

4.0 cu. ft.

Stewardship, 1935-1962

1.0 cu. ft.

Women's Missionary Federation, 1915-1963

8.0 cu. ft.

Merger negotiations, 1951-1963

2.0 cu. ft.


Record group 10: Lutheran Cooperation

1871-1975

Disparate, but sustained efforts at inter-Lutheran cooperation began in the late nineteenth century. Some cooperation was functional (nurses, music, etc.); other cooperative efforts were more explicitly ecumenical. Documentation tends to comprise programs and reports and other published materials from these various joint activities.

Free Conferences, 1871-1888

2".

National Lutheran Council,1937-1955

2.fols.

Choral Union, 1920-1960

3.0 cu. ft.

Common Lutheran Hymnal Commission, 1945-1954

2.0 cu. ft.

Spanish Hymnal Committee, 1956-1962

6".

Lutheran Home Missions, 1930-1943

6".

Lutheran Orient Missions, 1920-1975

13 cu. ft.

Zion Society for Israel, 1926-1962

16".

Lutheran Nurses Guild,1941-1968

1.5 cu. ft.

Men for the Ministry, 1956-1959

3".

Lutheran Brotherhood, Legal Documents, 1917-1928

1.fol.

Lutheran Students Association, Publications, 1922-1972

1. fol.

Am. Lutheran Congress, Youth Commission, 1932-1958

1.0 cu. ft.

Fargo-Moorhead Pastoral Union, 1947-1960

8".


Record group 11: Personal papers

1865-present

Aasgaard, J. A (Johan Arnd), 1876-1966

UC

46. in.

Akre, J. E. H. (Jorgen E. H.), 1882-1951

UC

5. in.

Anderson, Martin, 1882-1966

ELC

31. in.

Bash, (Ewald ) Joseph, 1924-1994

ALC

16. in.

Bergsland, Hans Hanson, 1858-1907 2 vos.

HS

6. in.

Biorn, L. M., 1861-1908

UC

2.5 in.

Braaten, Sven O., 1852-1926

2.5 in.

Burgess, Andrew S., 1897-1993

NLCA/ELC

Burntvedt, T. O. (Thorvald Olson), 1888-1960

LFC

56. in.

Christensen, Bernhard M., 1901-1984

LFC

5. in.

Dahle, John, 1853-1931

LFC

5. in.

Dyrnes, J. O. (Johannes Olsen), 1867-1943

LFC

15. in.

Eastvold, C. J. (Carl Johan), 1863-1929

HS

2.5 in.

Egge, Mandus, 1910-1992

ELC

23. in.

Eggen, Thore, 1859-1936

UC

1.5 in.

Erdahl, Gullik, 1840-1914

NS

5. in.

Farseth, H. A. (Harald A.). 1886-1961

LFC

5. in.

Farseth, O. M. (Olaus Martinus) 1852-1913

UC

21. in.

Fjelde, Jacob, 1864-1929

UC

2.5 in.

Forde, Gerhard O., 1884-1964

NLCA/ELC

5. in.

Forde, Nils, 1849-1917

NLCA

7.5 in.

Graf, Paul, 1914-1985

LCA

2.5 in.

Heins, Lester, 1910-1997

ALC

39. in.

Hegland, Martin, 1880-1967

ELC

2.5 in.

Helland, Andreas Anderson, 1870-19??

LFC

40. in.

Helland, M. A. (Melvin Andreas), 1896-1979

LFC

12. in.

Hjortland, E. S. (Elmer S.), 1900- 1994

ELC

26. in.

Hove, Elling, 1863-1927

NLCA

22. in.

Høverstad, Helge, 1870-1945

UC

15. in.

Jensen, C. C. A.. (Carl C. A.), 1878-1968

ELC

69. in.

Jensen, James K, 1943-

ELCA

5. in.

Jones, Clara, 1900-

ELC

Jordahl, D. C. (Daniel C.), 1864-1947

NLCA/ELC

25. in.

Jordahl, Verner Trygve. 1898-1975

ELC

5. in.

Kildahl, J. N. (John Nathan), 1857-1920

UC

35. in.

Koren, Ulrik Vilhelm, 1826-1910

NS

5. in.

Larsen, Lauritz, 1882-1923

NLCA

5. in.

Larsen, N. Astrup (Nikolai A.), 1878-1961

NS

5. in.

Lee, J. J. (Jacob Johan), 1875-1945

HS

5. in.

Lee, O. T. (Ole Torgerson.), 1859-1913

UC

2.5 in.

Lundeberg, K. O. (Knut O.), 1859-1942

UC

10. in.

Lysnes, David, 1832-1890

NAS

2.5 in.

Malmin, O. G. (Olaf Gabriel), 1899-1973

ELC

87. in.

Martinson, Cora, 1902-

ELC/ALC

120. in.

Nesdal, Sivert, 1875-1962

NLCA

2.5 in.

Norlie, O. M., (Olaf Morgan), 1876-1962

UC

25. in.

Olson, Lillian, 1907-1986

ELC

5. in.

Olson, Norris, 1896-1963

ELC

29. in.

Petersen, Wilhelm Mauritz, 1860-1932

LFC

13. in.

Preus, David, 1922-

ELCA

125. in.

Preus, J. C. K. (Johan Carl K.), 1881-1983

ELC

14. in.

Ristad, D. G. (Ditlev Gregorson), 1863-1938

NS/ELC

8. in.

Roalkvam, Halvard, 1845-1926

UC

30. in.

Romdahl, Simon, 1854-1926

NLCA

5. in.

Schiotz, Fredrik Axel, 1901-1989

ELC/ALC

39. in.

Sihler, Ernest G. W., 1900-1970

ELC

12.5 in.

Sihler, Mabel Wold, 1904-1973

ELC

10. in.

Sletten, Olai R, 1863-1947

UC

15. in.

Sonnack, Paul G., Sr., 1878-1978 24 notebooks

LFC

16. in.

Sovik, Edward Anders, 1918-

Stensvaag, John M., 1911-1987

ALC

10. in.

Stub, H. A. (Hans Andreas), 1879-1968

ELC

175. in.

Stub, J. A. O. (Jacob Aall O.), 1877-1944

ELC

10. in.

Syrdal, Rolf A., 1902-1993

ELC/ALC

Tangvald, Georg M., 1874-1915

LFC

2.5 in.

Thompson, Conrad, M., 1917-

ALC

75. in.

Thorkelson, Willmar, 1918-2002

Torrison, Isaac B., 1859-1929

ELC

5. in.

Trygstad, Wilhelm, 1877-?

LFC

2. in.