Erik Norelius, eventual president of the Augustana Synod, was born on October 26, 1833, in Hassela, Helsingland, Sweden. Erik and his brothers worked hard as goatherds and as keepers of the charcoal kiln. In the latter work Erik was able to read the family’s books, including Luther’s Small Catechism.
At home the family had the Bible, the catechism, the Book of Concord, and Luther’s Commentary on Galatians. This was heavy reading for a young boy, but he read these books and on his own studied Latin. His school education was brief, but his learning desire was intense. Since his father could not afford to provide an education, Erik chose to emigrate from Sweden to America at the age of 17 with his older brother Anders.
On September 12, 1856, Norelius was ordained by the Synod of Northern Illinois on a call to serve the church at Red Wing, Minnesota, where he was pastor from 1856-1858. During this period Pastor Norelius was editor of the newspaper Hemlandet and served successive congregations in Attica, Indiana, Vasa, Minnesota, and the Red Wing/Goodhue area in southern Minnesota. He would serve congregations in that area for the remainder of his life.
In the Minnesota Conference, Norelius served several years as conference president. He was frequently handicapped by illness but never stopped. His biggest work was the two volume De Svenska Lutherska Forsamlingarnas och Svenskarne Hisotria I Amerika. As editor and frequently as publisher, he worked on Minnesota Posten, Hemlandet, Augustana, Korsbaneret, the quarterly Tidskrift, and finally with Safferen Missionaren.
He was honored by Augustana College and Seminary with a D.D. in 1892 and L.L. Div. in 1910 as synod president at the synod jubilee. He was made a member of Sweden’s Royal Order of the North Star in 1903 and Commander in 1910 by the Swedish king, Gustav V. Erik Norelius served the Synod of Northern Illinois and the Augustana Synod for 60 years.
The collection is from 1833-1916 with the bulk dating from 1851-1916. Record types include handwritten sermon outlines, handwritten and typewritten correspondence, handwritten speeches and addresses, travel journals, daybooks, galley proofs of manuscripts, typewritten drafts of manuscripts, reports and resolutions, writings, financial records, and personal records. The collection is also available on microfilm.