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GACA Collection 341. Benson, Henry Nathaniel. Papers of Henry N. Benson Sr., 1893-1960: Overview

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Collection Description

Benson, Henry Nathaniel.  Papers of Henry N. Benson Sr., 1893-1960.  GACA Collection 341.  2 Records Center Cartons and 1 ½ Hollinger boxes.

The Henry Benson collections contains correspondence, memos, reports, legal arguments, speeches, and certificates created throughout Benson’s adult life.  Benson graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1893.  He served on the college’s Board of Trustees and was active in both the Augustana Lutheran Church and Minnesota politics as a state senator and as the state’s Attorney General.  The largest portion of these materials are texts of Benson’s speeches.

Biographical Note

Henry Nathaniel Benson, Sr. (1 August 1872 – 10 May 1960) graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1893 and from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1895.  He had his own law practice in St. Peter, Minnesota.  Benson served on the Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees from 1902-1944, as Treasurer from May 1903 – March 1906 and President from December 1916 – May 1944.  Following active service on the Board he was elected President emeritus.  He was also Chairman of the Committee for the Augustana Pension Fund and was founder and first President of the Lutheran Brotherhood of the Augustana Lutheran Church.  He served in the Minnesota State Senate from 1910-1922 and was the state’s Attorney General from 1929-1932.  In addition, Benson was a Nicollet County Probate Judge, a founding member and leader of the Nicollet County Historical Society, and an Executive Board member of the Minnesota State Historical Society.

Scope and Content

This collection is divided into seven series: Church, Correspondence, Gustavus, Law, Politics, Speeches, and Miscellaneous.

Church, 1922-1957 and undated encompasses materials related to church work, from his local congregation to the national synod.  This includes correspondence, memos, reports, and financial pledges for groups such as, the Augustana Brotherhood, the Augustana Pension and Aid Fund, and the Lutheran World Convention.

Correspondence, 1914-1960 and undated holds correspondence organized alphabetically.  Correspondence is both to and from Henry Benson, and relates to all different aspects of his career and life.

Gustavus, 1908-1958 and undated consists mostly of correspondence related to his position on the Swedish Lutheran Board of Education (the college’s governing board).  Also included is a history of the school, some certificates, and membership materials.

Law, 1931-1960 and undated contains certificates, legal arguments, materials related to both specific cases and legal fees.

Politics, 1931-1960 and undated incorporates different political activities and organizations in which Benson participated.  This includes the 1911-1913 State Senate Association, the John Ericsson Republican League of Minnesota, and the Minnesota United Nations Committee.

Speeches, 1893-1956 and undated consists of speeches Benson delivered.  Topics and venues vary widely and many are undated.  Materials are arranged by title and general theme.

Miscellaneous, 1913-1960 and undated is composed of birth, marriage, appreciation certificates, daily planners, funeral materials, Minnesota Historical Society correspondence, materials from the Minnesota Centennial and Territorial Centennial, the Mayo Memorial Commission, the Swedish-American Tercentary, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

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