Gustaf Albert Brandelle
Albert Brandelle, the son of Swedish immigrants, was born on March 19, 1861, on a farm near Andover, Illinois. He graduated in 1884 from Augustana Theological Seminary and was ordained at Andover, Illinois, on June 22 the same year.
Dr. Brandelle was elected vice president of the Augustana Synod in 1911. The same year he was sent to Australia by the Board of Missions of Augustana Synod to investigate the need for missions among the Swedes there. This trip also took him to India, where he visited the Rahjahmundry Mission.
Following the death of the president of the Synod, Dr. L.A. Johnston, on June 10, 1918, Dr. Brandelle automatically became president. He was duly elected in 1919 and re-elected in 1921, 1923, 1927, and 1931. Upon assuming the presidency, Dr. Brandelle took up residence in Rock Island, Illinois, where he served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, 1918-1921. Having become full-time president in 1921, he was sent to Germany by the Synodical Board of Missions and on the recommendation of the National Lutheran Council “for the purpose of conferring with the Leipzig Foreign Mission Board in regard to taking over their mission in the Tanganyika Territory, East Africa.” In 1924, he went to Europe once again, this time to London, to propose that the Augustana Synod take over the newly established Iramba Mission and that the remainder of the Tanganyika Mission field be returned to the Leipzig Mission Society.
Among the important developments in the Augustana Synod during Brandelle’s presidency were the separation of the Augustana Synod from the General Council and the beginning of its forty-four years of independent existence, as a result of Augustana’s refusal to become a part of the United Lutheran Church in 1918-a course contrary to Brandelle’s wishes; the increasingly rapid change from the Swedish to English in the life of the Augustana Church-almost entirely Swedish at the time of his election, it had become almost 100% English at the conclusion of his presidency; the beginnings of Augustana’s strong interest in World Missions evidential by the beginning and rapid expansion of work in China and Tanganyika; and the period of most rapid growth of the Augustana Synod in membership, contributions, and institutions.
As president of the Synod, Dr. Brandelle took an active part in many ecumenical organizations both on the national and international level. He was the president of the National Lutheran Council (1925-1933), and he attended the first, second, and third Lutheran World Conventions (1923-1929,1935). He was also a delegate to the World Convention on Life and Work in Stockholm, in 1925. In 1930, Dr. Brandelle was invited to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of Christianity in Sweden. At the Synodical Convention in Jamestown, New York, in 1934, the president was granted the privilege of wearing the Bishop’s cross, which had been presented to the Synod in 1930 by the mother church of Sweden. Dr. Brandelle wore it for the first time at the 75th Anniversary of his childhood church-Altona, Illinois.
Many honors were bestowed upon Dr. Brandelle. The King of Sweden made him a Knight of the North Star in 1910, a Commander second class in 1924, and Commander, first class, in 1926. St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, and Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, both honored him with the degree of L.L.D. in 1925.
When one gets to know the situation more closely, one sees no noticeable difference between Christ’s vineyards in the world…
Materials in this collection fall into two broad categories, one being chronological official correspondence as president of the Augustana Synod, and the other comprising Dr. Brandelle’s pastoral and administrative correspondence prior to his synodical presidency as well as material of a personal nature. The inclusive dates of the collection are 1899-1905, 1907, 1910, 1915-1935 with the heaviest accumulation during the years 1918-1935. Most of the material is in the English language, but about one tenth is in Swedish and a small percentage is in the German language.