Erik Alfred Fogelstrom
Erik Alfred Fogelstrom was born June 20, 1850 in the Gryt, Ostergotland parish in Sweden. His father was a sea captain who took eight year old Erik with him on voyages. After confirmation, the son sailed the seas widely and on one journey he was converted at Gloucester, England.
He came to America as an immigrant in August 1871 and that fall enrolled at Augustana College and Seminary. He was ordained by the Augustana Synod at Burlington, IA, on June 24, 1877.
While pastor at Bethlehem in Brooklyn, he extended his activities by his concern for immigrants at Castle Garden, NY. In addition, the Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in Manhattan needed pastoral service, so for the remainder of the Brooklyn period, he served there, too.
He left New York, arriving in Omaha, NE, August 8, 1879. While pastor in Omaha, Fogelstrom envisioned a hospital for the city staffed by deaconesses such as in his native Sweden and designed after the Fliedner Kaiserwerth pattern in Germany. Omaha had one hospital and this was Catholic. He effectively persuaded four women from Immanuel Lutheran Church to join him at the new hospital with Bothilda Swenson as the first deaconess, consecrated in April 1891. She had trained in Philadelphia, at the General Council's Mary Drexel Motherhouse and in Europe.
Fogelstrom's vision was met by ridicule and contempt as well as success. Controversy changed the incorporated name to what became the Immanuel Deaconess Association, after numerous adjustments. In August 1888, the first twelve lots for a hospital site were secured and the hospital was to follow with the deaconess home, parsonage, children's home, home for the aged and home for invalids and a steam laundry. His efforts resulted in a deaconess training institute and a training school for nurses, associated with the hospital. In 1904, the Augustana Synod adopted the institute as its own, bringing the church fully into the protestant deaconness movement in the United States, as envisioned by Fogelstrom.
Erik A. Fogelstrom with deaconesses from the Immanuel Deaconess Home and Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska.
This collection is nearly 100% in the Swedish language. The first part of the collection includes some biographical materials, including items related to Fogelstrom's student days at Augustana College and Seminary. His autobiography filed here appears to cover his life through at least 1886. Other parts of the collection contain bound notebooks in which Fogelstrom recorded his sermons, talks, and Bible studies, Fogelstrom's diaries, correspondence, additional published and unpublished writings, news clippings, and books, pamphlets, and tracts collected by Fogelstrom.