Records, resources, and hist. data have been preserved by the ch. through the ages, often with a view to their immediate usefulness and value to a parish, miss., ch. officials, or religious movement. Records and resources pertaining to the churches in Am. have been deposited in theol, sem. libraries, separate archives, and private collections. There are more than 500 such depositories in Am.
Accessibility of archives increases their value. Their completeness, the care with which they have been gathered, and the exhaustiveness of their research potential are important.
Conc. Hist. Inst. (at Conc. Sem., St. Louis, Missouri designated 1959 as the Dept. of Archives and Hist. of the LCMS, is the most complete depository of Luth. hist. resources; it includes archives of the former Nat. Ev. Luth. Ch. Its collections were begun in the 19th c.; a separate corporation was formed 1927. Its book, pamphlet, and periodical collection exceeds 37,000 volumes; its MS collections include several million items; its microfilm collection is in excess of 50,000 ft.; its museum collection includes more than 1,000 items. In conjunction with the library of Conc. Sem., St. Louis, a wide span of hist. resources are available.
The official archives of the former ALC are at Wartburg Sem., Dubuque, Iowa. Much original source material pertaining to the former Ohio Syn. is at Capital U., Columbus, Ohio The archives of the former ELC are at Luther Theol. Sem., St. Paul, Minnesota Both serve as depositories of the present ALC.
The archives of the LCA are at the Luth. School of Theol. at Chicago. Related collections are at Augustana Coll., Rock Island, Illinois, with extensive resources pertaining to the August Luth. Ch.; Grand View Coll., Des Moines, Iowa (esp. former AELC; resources); Suomi Coll., Hancock, Michigan (materials pertaining to the former Fin. Ev. Luth. Ch.); and for the constituent parts of the former ULC, both at the Luth. Theol. Sem., Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the Luth. Theol. Sem., Philadelphia. Southern Luth. records are at the Luth. Theol. Southern Sem., Columbia. SC.
Records and resources pertaining to the NLC, including resources on Luth. inter-ch. movements, are in the NLC library, New York. Additional archives are at Luther Coll., Decorah, owa; Augsburg Coll., Minneapolis, Minnesota; Northwestern Luth. Theol. Sem., Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Norw.-Am. Hist. Assoc., Northfield, Minnesota.
Regional, dist., or syn. collections are in the various ch. headquarters in the US and Can. The Luth. Hist. Conf., a cooperative agency for Luth. archivists, librarians, and historians, was organized 1962. Meeting biennially, the Conf. endeavors to coordinate and stimulate hist. efforts and provide channels of communication and cooperation for Luth. archivists, librarians, and historians.
A. R. Suelflow, Directory of Religious Archival and Historical Depositories in America (Church Records Committee, Society of American Archivists: mimeographed; Conc. Hist. Institute; St. Louis. 1963).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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