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Collection Augustana Home for the Aged (Brooklyn, N.Y.) records
Collection Number I/O:48
Extent of Description 2 linear feet, 3 boxes
Language English
Creator Augustana Home for the Aged (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Search Terms Augustana Home for the Aged (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Berger, Wilhelm
Benson, John H.
Brooklyn (N.Y.)
New York
Institutional care
Home for the Aged (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
New York Conference
Administrative or Biographical History The material was donated to the Swenson Center by Linnea B. Foster of Madison, New Jersey. Ms. Foster is the daughter of John H. Benson, the second manager of the Swedish Augustana Home in Brooklyn, New York.

The Swedish Augustana Home for the Aged was founded in 1908 by members of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, New York. The mission of the institution was to offer a Christian Home for protestant men and women over 65 years of age who accepted the Bible as their faith. The Home was created as a Charitable Institution and was largely supported by voluntary contributions. It had no set fees, rather the residents paid according to their means.

The dedication of the Augustana Home took place on November 22, 1908 in the presence of more than 500 people. The three story structure on 17th Avenue and 60th Street in Brooklyn had been purchased for $11,000. The Home was initially under the management of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brooklyn. In 1909, however, The New York Conference appointed a Board of Directors to be responsible for the future direction and administration of the Home. Vilhelm Berger was appointed the first manager of the Home in 1912, followed by John H. Benson on April 15, 1914.

Despite shortage of funding, the Home managed to grow and expand during its first decades of existence due to the persistent work and fundraising efforts by John H. Benson and the Board of Directors. A new wing was added in 1912 and the Home was further expanded onto in 1926. A new fireproof building was dedicated in 1927 with space for 75 persons. In 1951, the Home expanded again with an addition for physically handicapped. The Board of Directors passed on the control and management of the Home to the Lutheran Social Service in 1952.

Under the direction of the Board of Directors, the Home published its own newsletter, Vintersol, Tidning för Svenska Augustanahemmet för Ålderstigna i Brooklyn. The newsletter was published monthly from 1919 to1955. The first editor was Vilhelm Berger. The manager of the Home, John H. Benson assumed the editorial responsibility in 1923. Vintersol published news from the Home and the New York Conference area, devotional texts, acknowledgements, and ran ads for local businesses. The newsletter became an important source of outreach and revenue for the Home. The Home also had a very active Auxiliary that hosted a variety of fundraising events, dedication ceremonies, and anniversary celebrations which all benefited the treasury.

John H. Benson and his wife Hildur A. Benson retired on July 1, 1954 after 41 years and 26 years of service respectively. Mrs. Benson had served as the matron for the Home since 1928.

Scope & Content The collection contains material for the period 1914-1954 when John H. Benson was the manager. Included are photographs of the residents and the facilities, financial records, printed pamphlets, and financial records of donations and expenses.

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