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GACA Collection 279. Norelius, Eric Andersson. Papers of Rev. Eric Norelius, 1850-1931: Overview

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Collection Description

Norelius, Eric Andersson.  Papers of Rev. Eric Norelius, 1850-1931.  GACA Collection 279.  3 Records Center Cartons, 2 ½ Hollinger boxes, 2 small hat boxes, 1 large hat box, 1 telescoping box, and 1 flat box.

ABSTRACT:
The Rev. Eric Norelius collection contains correspondence, sermons, minutes, reports, petitions, appointments, histories, and materials from the U.S. – Dakota War of 1862.  Norelius’ papers include personal items along with materials from when he was President of the Minnesota Conference and President of the Augustana Synod.  Eric Norelius was born in Sweden and immigrated to the United States as a teenager.  After being ordained as a Lutheran pastor he helped found the Augustana Synod, the Minnesota Conference, Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Vasa Lutheran Home for Children.  The vast majority of this collection is in Swedish.

Biographical Note

Eric Andersson Norelius was born in Hassela, Sweden on 26 October 1833 to Anders Pehrsson and Elisabeth N. Jonsdotter Norelius.  In 1850, at the age of 17, he immigrated to the United States, where he attended Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.  He was ordained as a Lutheran pastor in 1855.  Norelius’ first congregations were in Red Wing and Vasa, Minnesota Territory in 1856.  In 1858 he was called to a congregation in Attica, Indiana, but was called back to Red Wing and Vasa in 1863. 

He would spend the rest of his life in Southeastern Minnesota helping many congregations in the area and founding the Vasa Children’s Home, the first orphan home established by Swedish Lutherans in Minnesota.  Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota traces its history to the founding of the Vasa Children’s Home.

Norelius also helped establish the Minnesota Conference in 1858 and the Augustana Synod in 1860.  He served many roles in the Minnesota Conference including President (1860-61; 1864-65; 1867; 1870-73; 1879; 1893-96), Secretary (1858; 1860-62; 1864; 1866), and Treasurer (1871-72).  He also served as President of the Augustana Synod from 1874-81 and 1899-1911.

During his ministry, Norelius published many different papers, including Minnesota Posten which merged with Hemlandet, as well as Svensk Luthersk Tidskrift, which became Skaffaren.  He also served as editor for Missionären, Augustana, Korsbaneret, and Tidskrift för svensk evangelisk luthersk kyrkohistoria i Amerika, which would later become The Augustana Theological Quarterly.

While in Red Wing, Norelius founded Minnesota Elementarskola in 1862.  After moving to East Union, Minnesota and changing its name to St. Ansgar’s Academy, the school moved a third and final time in 1876 to St. Peter, Minnesota, and changed its name to Gustavus Adolphus College.

Norelius married Inga Charlotta Peterson (1838-1924) of West Point, Indiana on 10 June 1855.  Together they had four sons, Theodor Emanuel N. (1858-89), Anton Elfring (1861-64), Leonard Chemnitz (1865-1946), and Eric Marion Sigfrid (1873-1924), and one daughter Ebba Deodata, who died at birth.  Eric Norelius passed away at the age of 82 on 15 March 1916 at his home in Vasa, Minnesota.

Scope and Content

The Rev. Eric Norelius collection is divided into four series with multiple sub-series, Personal, Minnesota Conference, Augustana Synod, and Miscellaneous.

  • Personal, 1851-1931 consists primarily of correspondence in Swedish.  We believe that these materials were not created per his role as President of the Minnesota Conference or Augustana Synod.
    • Correspondence, 1851-1916 and undated has various correspondence both to and from Norelius.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Sermons, 1859-1915 and undated holds notes and text for sermons given by Norelius.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Miscellaneous, 1852-1931 and undated includes clippings, writings, a family scrapbook, and ephemera.  This series is arranged alphabetically.
  • Minnesota Conference, 1858-1912 consists of materials created while Norelius was President of the Minnesota Conference.
    • Correspondence, 1871-1904 has various correspondence both to and from Norelius in his role as President.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Minutes, Reports, and Resolutions, 1858-1912 holds minutes, reports, and resolutions sent to the Conference from pastors and/or congregations.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Petitions for Help from the Minnesota Conference, 1893-1897 comprises correspondence, petitions and requests for assistance from the Conference sent by pastors and/or congregations.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Petitions to Join the Minnesota Conference, 1893-1897 is composed of correspondence, petitions, and requests to join the Conference from pastors and/or congregations.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Miscellaneous, 1858-1897 includes petitions and warranty deeds.  This series is arranged alphabetically.
  • Augustana Synod, 1861-1914 consists of materials created while Norelius was President of the Augustana Synod.
    • Appointments and Certificates, 1901-1911 contains correspondence and certificates from Norelius to various Pastors for appointments and certifications.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Conference Reports, 1905-1908 is composed of reports to the Synod from various conferences.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Correspondence, Incoming, 1880-1910 has various correspondence sent to Norelius in his role as President of the Synod.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Correspondence, Outgoing, 1880-1910 and undated holds correspondence sent from Norelius in his role as President of the Synod.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Minutes and Programs, 1861-1910 and undated is comprised of minutes, programs, and notes pertaining to Synod meetings.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • President/Committee Reports, 1879-1910 encompasses reports sent to Norelius and materials written by him.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Miscellaneous, 1870-1914 includes histories, correspondence, notes, and articles.  This series is arranged alphabetically.
  • Miscellaneous, 1850-1916
    • A.P. Monten, 1884-1886 and undated consists of correspondence and clippings related to Monten, treasurer of the Minnesota Conference from 1879-1881.  He was involved in a legal dispute that received much attention.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Bills and Financial Documents, 1863-1911 and undated holds bills, receipts, subscription lists and other documents relating to finances.  This series is arranged alphabetically.
    • Histories, 1882-1896 involves writings about the histories of congregations, town, and Swedes in America.  This series is arranged alphabetically.
    • Swedish Publication Society and Related, 1860-1892 has articles, constitutions and lists related to the Swedish Publication Society.  This series is arranged alphabetically.
    • U.S. – Dakota War of 1862, 1860-1863 is comprised of a map, correspondence, and claims sent to the government by settlers affected by the fighting.  This series is arranged chronologically.
    • Miscellaneous, 1850-1916 includes articles, ephemera, certificates, lists, microfilm, clippings, and translations of correspondence.  This series is arranged alphabetically.
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