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Augustana Historical Society records

Identifier: MSS 203

Scope and Contents

The Augustana Historical Society records, 1918-2016 and undated, has been organized into nine series: Administration, Meeting minutes, Correspondence, Financial records, Publications, Historical research and writings, Special Events, Photographs, and Miscellany.

Series I. Administration 1918-2020 and undated is organized into five sub-series: General, 1930-2003, Membership, 1932-2012 and undated, Museum, 1918-1992 and undated, Committees, 1934-1983 and undated, and Officer papers, 1934-1986. The General subseries contains information about the early formation of the group, versions of the AHS constitution, and board member lists. The Membership subseries contains general membership information as well as membership lists. The Museum sub-series contains general information about the museum and records related to the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and a donation to the Bishop Hill community in 2001. The Committees subseries contains papers created by several AHS committee,s including the Museum Committee, Curatorial Committee, Historical Committee, and Old Main Committee. This is not a comprehensive collection of committee records, but rather a grouping of committee information that was separated out by AHS officers or members. Many other committee reports are contained within the Meeting Minutes series. The final subseries is the Officer papers. These are papers that were donated by AHS officers that have been kept together due to the volume of annotations and additional materials they contain.

Series II. Meeting minutes, 1930-2020, is arranged chronologically. In addition to the actual minutes, this series contains agendas, officer reports, committee reports, and other materials related to the monthly meetings held by the Augustana Historical Society.

Series III. Correspondence, 1930-2023 and undated, contains letters received by officers of the AHS and carbon copies of outgoing mail. This is not a comprehensive collection of the group's correspondence; where appropriate, correspondence has been housed with related materials. Most notably, the publications series contains correspondence relating to publications.

Series IV. Financial records, 1930-2020, contains records created by the treasurer, including bank books, receipts, account statements, cancelled checks, treasurer's reports, some correspondence, receipt books, and cash books. The materials are arranged chronologically with the unbound materials at the beginning of the series, and the bound materials (receipt books and cash books) at the end. Also included is information relating to AHS's designation as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Series V. Publications, 1931-2019 and undated, has been arranged into five subseries: Manuscripts information, 1931-1998, Occasional papers, 1975-1977, Papers to be considered, 1979-1999, Newsletters, 1980-2016 and undated, and Other publications, 1935-2010. The Manuscripts information subseries contains materials relating to the publication of the Augustana Historical Society monographs. The information found in this sub-series is organized by publication number, which is generally chronologically ordered. Not all of the publications are represented in the collection, and information relating to specific publications varies. Materials found in this subseries includes reviews, publicity materials, drafts, proofs, notes, printing information, and correspondence between authors and editors. The Occasional papers subseries includes two shorter papers that were published by the society. The papers are listed as Occasional paper no. 12 and Occasional paper no. 13, but it is unknown how many of these articles were published. The Papers to be considered subseries includes several proposals for publications that most likely were never published. The Newsletter subseries contains final versions of the AHS Newsletter as well as drafts, notes, and proofs of some issues. Special Collections continues to add newsletters to this subseries as they are received. Other publications contains other items published by the AHS, including brochures and booklets. Some of the items might be comparable to the "occasional papers" but are not marked as such. Publication projects includes notes, research, and papers regarding the digitization and sell of publications.

Series VI. Historical research and writings, 1965-2005 and undated, contains a variety of notes and articles on various historical topics. When known, the purpose of the material has been listed as part of the folder name. In some cases, files were compiled for an article or presentation. Included in this subseries are several articles written by Conrad Bergendoff that were originally published in the Swedish-American Historical Quarterly. The materials in this series have been arranged chronologically, with undated papers at the end of the subseries, organized alphabetically by title.

Series VII. Special events, 1941-2013, contains papers relating to events hosted by the Augustana Historical Society, such as historical marker ceremonies, AHS annual dinners, and other events.

Series VIII. Photographs, 1950s-1990 and undated, contains photographs of AHS members from the late 1950s, members at a meeting in 1990, and a proof sheet of images of a man standing in front of the bell tower on the Augustana campus. There are other photographs in other series of this collection, most notably in "Augustana: A Historical Chronicle" (see box 1).

Series IX. Miscellany, 1931-2015 and undated, contains newspaper clippings, newsletters from other organizations, AHS stationery samples, AHS note cards, AHS logos, and other items.


  • Creation: 1918-2020 and undated


Language of Materials

English and Swedish

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

At a Library Committee Meeting at Augustana College in 1930, President Gustav Andreen proposed organizing an Augustana Historical Society (AHS). With sufficient interest, he was authorized by the committee to appoint a committee to "make preliminary surveys and suggestions for the organization of such a society" (Library Committee meeting minutes, 16 January 1930). He appointed C. W. Foss, history professor; O. N. Olson, Seminary professor; and O. L. Nordstrom, professor of economics. The three men met in the office of I. O. Nothstein, Augustana librarian, 22 January 1930 to devise a draft of a constitution for the Society. I. O. Nothstein was elected secretary and C. W. Foss presided as chairman.

The original objective of the Society was to preserve documents and objects of historical interest relating to "Scandinavians in America and of the religious movements among them, especially of the Augustana Synod, and of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in general" (AHS meeting minutes, 12 March 1930). Another priority of the group was to encourage historical research and publication. The first publication of the group was Professor Fritiof O. Ander's thesis on Tufve N. Hasselquist which appeared in 1931. This was the first of many books to be published by the Society (see the Related Materials Note for a list of all AHS publications).

Today, the Augustana Historical Society has many of the same goals as originally established for the organization. Its object, as stated in the revised constitution of 1996, is to: "locate, gather, preserve, and publish literary materials bearing on the history of Augustana College, on the relationships of the college to the Lutheran Church, on the history of Swedish immigration to the United States, and on cultural connections between the United States and Sweden."

Early in 1970, a committee was formed to organize and identify historical materials in the AHS collections. The project was slated to begin in the summer of 1970. During the summer months, two Augustana students went to work with the collections. At the AHS board meeting on 5 November 1970, Fritiof Fryxell reported on the summer project and as follows: "Materials were cleaned, cataloguing checked, protective covering applied and systematic storage provided. The collection is presently stored in North Hall." The artifacts in the AHS collections were more thoroughly researched by Everett and Hortence Lindorff, members of AHS and members of the Curatorial Committee. Starting in 1979, and volunteering for more than 12 years, the Lindorffs inventoried, organized, and traced the origins of the various artifacts. The items in the collections that were deemed not relevant to the AHS mission were donated to area museums or other departments of the college or were sold at auction. In 1991, the Lindorffs held an open house at the new AHS Museum located at Denkmann Hall.

The Augustana Historical Society is still active as of 2016, primarily focusing on producing publications related to significant historical events in Augustana College, Swedish, and Lutheran history; and preparing at least two community events per year, including a fall banquet and a spring program.


9.6 Cubic Feet (/ 26 boxes and 3 oversize folders)


The Augustana Historical Society was founded in 1930 with the goal of preserving documents and artifacts related to Scandinavian and Lutheran history. By 1996, the group had revised its mission as being to: "locate, gather, preserve, and publish literary materials bearing on the history of Augustana College, on the relationships of the college to the Lutheran Church, on the history of Swedish immigration to the United States, and on cultural connections between the United States and Sweden." The Augustana Historical Society records, 1918-2020 and undated, contains administrative records, meeting minutes, correspondence, publications, historical research, photographs, records related to the society's museum collection, and other papers.

Custodial History

Papers in this collection have been donated intermittently throughout the existence of the Augustana Historical Society by various members and officers. Where personal notes and annotations are important to the context of the records, papers are identified by the donor. Though a complete list of donors is not known, donors include Melbert Peterson, Judy Belan, Betsey Brodahl, Ann Boaden, Ross Paulson, Tom Bengtson, Dorothy Liljegren, John Caldwell, Jamie Nelson, Lisa Huntsha, and Brian Leech. Some materials from John Norton transferred from the Swenson Center in 2023.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from various members and officers of the Augustana Historical Society in various accessions.


Special Collections continues to add materials to this collection on a regular basis.

Related Materials

Publications of Augustana Historical Society 1. T. N. Hasselquist by O. F. Ander, 1931 2. The Early Missionary Work of the Augustana Synod in New York City, 1865-1866 by Gustav Andreen; The Iowa Synod's Attempt at Missionary Work Among the Indians, 1859-1865 by Henry F. Stack; Thomas Moran's Journey to the Tetons in 1879 by Fritiof Fryxell; The Historical and Cultural Background of Swedish Immigrants of Importance to their Assimilation in America by Albert F. Schersten; Swedish-American Newspapers and the Republican Party, 1855-1875 by O. Fritiof Ander, 1932 3. Augustana Book Concern by Ernest W. Olson; Christine Nilsson's Visit to Brockton, Massachusetts in November, 1870 by Evald B. Lawson, 1933 4. Early Life of Eric Norelius, 1833-1862 translation by Emeroy Johnson; A Guide to the Material on Swedish History in the Augustana College Library by O. F. Ander, 1934 5. C. W. Foss: An Appreciation by George M. Stephenson; Diary Kept by L. P. Esbjorn, 1849; Reports to the American Home Missionary Society, 1849-1856; The Sources of the Original Constitution of the Augustana Synod; Early Letters to Erland Carlsson; Sources on Revolutionary Europe, 1935 6. Swedish-American Literary Periodicals by G. N. Swan, 1936 7. Letters Relating to Gustaf Unonius and the Early Swedish Settlers in Wisconsin translated by George M. Stephenson, assisted by Olga Wold Hansen, 1937 8. The Problem of the Third Generation Immigrant by M. L. Hansen, 1938; Olof Olsson by Ernst William Olson, 1941 9. The American origin of the Augustana Synod and Contemporary Lutheran Periodicals, 1851-1860 by O. F. Ander and Oscar L. Nordstrom, 1942 10. Selected Documents Dealing With the Organization of the First Congregations and the First Conferences of the Augustana Synod and Their Growth until 1860, Part 1, translated and edited by I. O. Nothstein, 1944 11. Selected Documents Dealing With the Organization of the First Congregations and the First Conferences of the Augustana Synod and Their Growth until 1860, Part 2, edited by I. O. Nothstein, 1946 12. The Swedish Theatre of Chicago, 1869-1950 by Dr. Henriette C. K. Naeseth (published jointly with the Augustana College Library Publications), 1951 13. Smoky Valley People: A History of Lindsborg, Kansas by Emory K. Lindquist (published by Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas, but made a volume of the Augustana Historical Society Publications), 1953 14. Olaf Christian Telemak Andren, Ambassador of Good Will by Oscar N. Olson, 1954 15. Sward and Johnston, Biographical Sketches of Augustana Leaders by Oscar N. Olson, 1955 16. A. J. Lindstrom by O. N. Olson, 1957 17. Two Primary Sources for a study of the Life of Jonas Swensson by Evald R. Lawson, 1957 18. Prairie Grass Dividing by J. Iverne Dowie, 1959 19. Pioneering Adventures of Johan Edvard Lilljeholm in America, 1846-1850 translated by Arthur Wald, 1962 20. The Swedish Immigrant Community in Transition: Essays in Honor of Dr. Conrad Bergendoff edited by J. I. Dowie and E. M. Espelie, 1963 21. Immigration of Ideas: Studies in the North Atlantic Community. Essays presented to O. Fritiof Ander edited by J. Ivere Dowie and J. Thomas Tredway, 1968, second printing 1970 22. Vision for a Valley: Olof Olsson and the Early History of Lindsborg by Emory Lindquist, 1970 23. An Immigrant's Two Worlds by Emory Lindquist, 1972 24. An Immigrant's American Odyssey: a Biography of Ernst Skarstedt by Emory Lindquist, 1974 25. The Americanization of Carl Aaron Swensson by Daniel Pearson, 1977 26. Shepherd of an Immigrant People: The Story of Erland Carlsson by Emory Lindquist, 1978 27. Immigrant, Executive, Traveler: My Story by Birger Swenson, 1979 28. The Augustana Ministerium: A Study of the Careers of the 2,504 Pastors of the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Synod/Church, 1850-1962 by Conrad Bergendoff, 1980 29. One Hundred Years of Oratorio at Augustana: A History of the Handel Oratorio Society, 1881-1980 by Conrad Bergendoff, 1981 30. Peter Fjellstedt: Missionary Mentor to Three Continents by Emmet E. Eklund, 1983 31. The Pioneer Swedish Settlements and Swedish Lutheran Churches in America, 1845-1860 by Eric Norelius, translated by Conrad Bergendoff, 1984 32. The Missionary Spirit in the Augustana Church by George F. Hall, 1984 33. An Historical Survey of the Augustana College Campus by Glen E. Brolander, 1985 34. Seven Sermons edited by Phil Schroeder (distributed by Augustana College Campus Ministry), 1986 35. Prophetic Voices for the Kingdom by Gregory Lee Jackson (distributed by Fortress Book Store, c/o Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Illinois), 1986 36. His Name Was Jonas: A Biography of Jonas Swensson by Emmet E. Eklund, 1987 37. The Church of Sweden on the Delaware, 1638-1831 by Conrad Bergendoff, 1988 38. The Story of John Fryxell by Fritiof M. Fryxell, 1990 39. A History of the Augustana Library by Conrad Bergendoff, 1990 40. In the Astronomy Tradition at Augustana by Harry E. Nelson, 1992 41. A Historical Survey of the Augustana College Campus by Glen E. Brolander, revised edition, 1992 42. Looking West: Three Essays on Swedish American Life by Jules Mauritzson, translated by Conrad Bergendoff, 1994 44. Aspects of Augustana and Swedish America; Essays in honor of Dr. Conrad Bergendoff on his 100th year edited by Raymond Jarvi (also published as v. 46, no. 3 of the Swedish-American Historical Quarterly), 1995 45. America: Reality and Dream; The Freeman Letters from America and Sweden edited by Axel Friman, George M. Stephenson, and H. Arnold Barton, 1996 46. On and beyond the Mississippi : essays honoring Thomas Tredway, edited by Dag Blanck and Michael Nolan, 2004 47. Ferdinand Hayden : a young scientist in the great West, 1853-1855 by Fritiof M. Fryxell ; edited by Richard C. Anderson, Phil Salstrom, and Paul Salstrom, 2010 48. Light and leaven : women who shaped Augustana’s first century by Ann Boaden, 2011 49. Conrad Bergendoff’s faith and work : a Swedish-American Lutheran, 1895-1997 by Thomas Tredway, 2014 50. Dorothy’s Gardens : A Festschrift in honor of Dr. Dorothy J. Parkander, 2015

Processing Information

Processed by Emily Hughes Dominick, 2007. Updated by Samantha Crisp, February 2016. Revised by Atticus Garrison, March 2016. Updated by Micaela Terronez, 2022.

Augustana Historical Society records, 1918-2020 and undated.
Atticus Garrison
March 2016
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Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States