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Collection Erik Norelius papers
Collection Number MSS P:1
Dates of Creation 1851-1916
Extent of Description 10 linear feet, 25 boxes
Language Swedish, English
Creator Norelius, Eric, 1833-1916
Search Terms Norelius, Eric, 1833-1916
Norelius family
Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America
Unonius, Gustaf, 1810-1902
Nashotah Theological Seminary (Nashotah, Wis.)
Andover (Ill.)
Esbjörn, Lars Paul, 1808-1870
Capital University
Northern Illinois Synod
Tippecanoe County (Ind.)
Red Wing (Minn.)
Vasa (Minn.)
Attica (Ind.)
Goodhue County (Minn.)
Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church. Minnesota Conference
Minnesota Posten
Sjöblom, P.
Svensk Luthersk Tidskrift
Peterson, Inga C.
Administrative or Biographical History Eric Norelius was born on October 26, 1833 in Hassela parish, Gävleborgs län, Sweden. He received his early education at Hudviksvall's allmänna läroverk. In 1850, at the age of 17, Eric Norelius immigrated to the U.S. and after 11 weeks at sea he landed in New York City. After having worked as an errand boy for a bank in the city, Norelius went to Chicago where he met Gustaf Unonius who encouraged him to attend the Nashotah Seminary in Wisconsin. Instead, Norelius continued west to Andover where L. P. Esbjörn received him. With assistance from Esbjörn, Norelius enrolled at Capital University in Columbus where he spent four years studying. Norelius was ordained by the Northern Illinois Synod in 1855 and his first call came from Tippecanoe County in Indiana. From Indiana, he moved to the newly formed congregations in Red Wing and Vasa, Minnesota in 1856. In 1858, Norelius assumed the editorship for the Swedish-American newspaper Hemlandet, a position he held for about a year when he was called to serve the Swedish Lutheran congregation in Attica, Indiana. In 1863, he was called back to the Vasa and Red Wing congregations in Goodhue County, where he spent his remaining years. Norelius was one of the founders of the Augustana Synod and he served as its president between 1870-1881 and 1901-1910. Norelius was also the founder of the Minnesota Conference.

Norelius was active in the publishing field and began the publishing of Minnesota Posten, which after a year was forced to merge with Hemlandet due to lack of finances. Norelius and P. Sjöblom (Swedish pastor in Red Wing) published and edited together Svensk Luthersk Tidskrift, which became Skaffaren after the first year of existence. He was also the editor of Augustana for a brief period of time and the synod calendar Korsbaneret.

He married Inga C. Peterson of West Point, Indiana on June 10, 1855. They had four sons and one daughter. Eric Norelius died on March 15, 1916 in Vasa, Minnesota.

For further detail on Eric Norelius's career as a Swedish Lutheran pioneer pastor please see: Early life of Eric Norelius (1833-1862): Lutheran pioneer / his own story rendered into English by Emeroy Johnson, published by the Augustana Book Concern, Rock Island Illinois, 1934.

Scope & Content The bulk of the letters in the collection were received during the period 1851-1916 when Norelius served as the Augustana Synod President, served as pastor in various pioneer churches in Minnesota and was active in the publishing field. The letters in this collection are mostly from other pastors and leaders active in the Augustana Synod, but individual Swedish immigrants concerned with the establishment of new Swedish congregations and the administration of the synod are also represented. Included are also letters from family members.
Notes An alphabetized card index exists for each letter. Please inquire with the Archives.
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