Rockford First Lutheran Church Records, 1853-2005
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Brief Description:

The materials in this collection provide extensive documentation of the origins and growth of First Lutheran Church and of Rockford’s Swedish community from 1853 to 1970.  The collection is arranged in six series which provide fairly complete information on all aspects of the history of the church.  Researchers should note that although much of the pre-1930 material is in the Swedish language, translations of some of the core records are included.

The first series contains the church’s historical files.  The materials in this series were put together to aid in the preparation of the church’s centennial album (1954) and were updated thereafter.  The files dating 1854-1979 are arranged alphabetically by subject and the files dating 1853-1899 are arranged chronologically.  Also contained in this series are anniversary albums and programs; publications; materials relating to prominent church members; newspaper clippings and photographs and date 1856-1969.  This series serves as an outline of the subjects and types of materials found in the rest of the collection.

Series two contains minutes, reports, correspondence and agreements from the administrative bodies of the church.  Included in this series are minutes of annual congregational meetings, 1854-1969; minutes of Deacons and Trustees joint meetings, 1864-1943; minutes of Trustees meetings, Trustees’ correspondence, agreements, and reports, (1889-1966); minutes of Deacons meetings, 1944-1966; minutes, resolutions, and correspondence of the Church Council and Board of Administration, (1957-1977).  All materials in this series are arranged chronologically with each subseries.  Microfilmed minutes, which were added at a later time, are in Box 38A.

The church’s general financial records are found in series three and span the years 1854-1978.  Types of materials include: general ledgers, 1883-1895, (1912-1961); annual statements, 1854-1968; treasurer’s reports, (1897-1960); day books, (1868-1929); dues records, 1864-1976, 1898-1906, 1916-1929; pledges, 1929-1968; Savings Bank records, (1876-1902); and J. Godfrey Grant legacy account, 1920-1942.  In all cases materials are arranged chronologically by type.  Researchers should note that printed monthly reports containing financial data are located in series six.

The records of several church organizations make up series four and span the entire history of the church.  Types of materials found in this series include minutes, financial records, membership data, programs, publications, and scrapbooks.  The activities of the following organizations are partially documented: Brotherhood, 1926-1953; Jubilee Chorus, 1904-1954; Ladies Aid Society, 1883-1958; Luther League, 1877-1965; Sunday School, 1870-1966; and missionary societies, 1870-1960.  Although there are gaps in the records of all the listed organizations, documentation for the Brotherhood, Luther League, and missionary societies is the most comprehensive.

Series five contains printed materials from First Lutheran including monthly reports (1909-1959); bulletins, (1892-1978); and newsletters, 1957-1978.  Also contained in this series is publications from the district, synod, and national levels.

Records of official pastoral acts and membership are found in series six.  Types of materials include: original members, 1894; membership records, 1929-1954; confirmation data, 1857-1955; and transfer records, 1929-1954.  Although the bulk of the records of official acts remain with the church at this time, the Center expects First Lutheran to add these materials to the collection in 1980 or 1981.

Held at:
Northern Illinois University
Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-1779
Email: rhcua [at] niu.edu
Record Series Number: RHC/RC/083
Volume: 39.25 Linear Feet
Acquired: 11/21/1979. Additional records were added at later dates.
Arrangement:

The first series contains the church’s historical files. 

The files dating 1854-1979 are arranged alphabetically by subject and the files dating 1853-1899 are arranged chronologically.   Series two contains minutes, reports, correspondence and agreements from the administrative bodies of the church.

All materials in this series are arranged chronologically with each subseries.   In all cases materials are arranged chronologically by type.  The records of several church organizations make up series four. Records of official pastoral acts and membership are found in series six.

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.
Subject Index
Augustana Synod
Diaries-- 1840-1869
Diaries-- 1870-1909
First Lutheran Church (Rockford, Ill.)
Lutherans
Nelson, John
Prohibition
Rockford (Ill.)
Rockford Mitten and Hosiery Company
Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in North America
Swedish Americans
Swedish Americans- Illinios- Rockford
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Diaries
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Swedish [swe]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection are held by First Lutheran Church; literary rights are dedicated to the public.
Acquisition Notes: Reverend Arne Peterson  Reverend Arne Peterson deposited the records of First Lutheran Church with the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on November 21, 1979.
Related Materials: Researchers using this collection may also wish to consult other related manuscript collections held by the Regional History Center: Salem Lutheran Church, Sandwich (RC 84); Rockford Mitten and Hosiery (RC 38); Rockford Chair and Furniture (RC 42); Rockford Small Business (RC 57); National Chair (RC 59); Good Templars, (RC 66).