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