Oscar A. Benson
Oscar Algot Benson was born April 7, 1891, in Derry, Pennsylvania. He received his M.A. degree at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, in 1914, and his bachelor’s of divinity degree from Augustana Theological Seminary in Rock Island, IL, in 1915. He was ordained into the ministry of the Augustana Lutheran Church that same year.
After his ordination he served as pastor of several congregations. In 1940 he was elected president of the Illinois Conference of Augustana Synod. He held this post until 1949 when he became pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester, MA. He remained there until he was elected as the tenth president of the Augustana Lutheran Church on June 14, 1951. He assumed office on October 15, 1951. He was re-elected for a second four-year term on June 16, 1955. During his term as president, Dr. Benson was a strong advocate of the merger talks that led to the formation of the Lutheran Church in America in 1962. After his tenure as president Dr. Benson served congregations in Omaha and in Mt. Vernon, NY.
Dr. Benson was honored with D.D. degrees from Upsala College, East Orange, NJ, in 1943 and from Bethany College, Lindsborg, KS, in 1956. He became President of the National Lutheran Council, representing over 4.5 million members of eight church bodies in 1952, and was re-elected for a third one-year term in 1955. He also was a member of the General Board of the National Council of Churches and on the executive committee of the Lutheran World Federation. Dr. Benson retired from the active ministry in 1964.
The records date from approximately 1909-1973, with the bulk originating in the years of Dr. Benson’s tenure as President of the Augustana Lutheran Church (1951-1959), and include correspondence, sermons, photographs, a scrapbook, honorary degrees, a thesis, poetry written by Dr. Benson, topical reports, news articles, news clippings, Dr. Benson’s Bible, and convention badges. Subject matter of these records includes Pastor Benson’s early ministry, his tenure as president of the Augustana Lutheran Church, and recognition at his retirement.