Jenny Lind Chapel (Andover, Ill.) records
1851, 1924-1987 scattered, and undated

MSS 168

Approximately 9 linear inches


Weber, Erwin, 1921-
Brodahl, Betsey
Jenny Lind Chapel (Andover, Ill.)


English, Swedish


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection. Audiovisual materials may be inaccessible pending reformatting. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Access points:

Jenny Lind Chapel (Andover, Ill.)
Lind, Jenny, 1820-1887
Esbjörn, L.P. (Lars Paul), 1808-1870
Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church (Andover, Ill.)

Finding aid prepared by:

Allison James, 2006; Caroline McPherson, February 2015.


Augustana College Special Collections
Thomas Tredway Library
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois 61201

Historical Note
Scope and Content
Box List
Related Collections



The Jenny Lind Chapel is the first house of worship built by and for a Swedish Lutheran congregation of Andover, Illinois.Pastor Lars Esbjörn and ten Swedish settlers founded the congregation in the fall of 1850. Esbjörn traveled east, petitioning for funds to begin construction. He collected $1,500 from one individual alone, the internationally famous Swedish singer Jenny Lind, who was on tour in America at the time. Known as the “Swedish Nightingale,” the chapel’s benefactress and namesake funded construction for a building she would never even see.

The chapel was dedicated on Advent Sunday, December 3, 1854. Unlike other Lutheran churches, it has no steeple. The wood had been used to build coffins during a cholera epidemic. In 1868 it was converted to a schoolhouse and meeting place once the congregation grew too large for services. The chapel became the property of the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America in 1960 and was recognized on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Modern day services such as Högmässa, said and sung in Swedish, and Founders’ Day celebrations are still held on location.



The Jenny Lind Chapel records is a collections of documents, news, photos and mementos from the chapel. It contains four series: Church Services, Committees, Miscellaneous, Photographs, and Audiovisual Materials.

The Church Services series (1924-1987 scattered) contains pamphlets and booklets for annual services such as Founders’ Day, Christmas, and Swedish morning mass. Also contains song selections and informational brochures from individual vespers.

The Committees series (1976-1987) contains lists of committee members, pastors, trustees and detailed minutes from the board of directors.  This series also contains correspondence related to the Jenny Lind Chapel Fund and Treasurer's reports. 

The Miscellaneous series (1851; 1962-1985) contains a chapel guestbook, various news clippings, and program tickets from Jenny Lind’s concert.

The Photographs series (undated) contains photographs of the Jenny Lind Chapel taken by Mr. Erwin Weber, a retired professor of German at Augustana College. It also contains various black and white photographs of the exterior and interior of the chapel, the adjoining graveyard, a portrait of Jenny Lind, dedication plaques, and the surrounding historical area. Additionally, contact sheets and negatives are included.

The Audiovisual Materials series (1985 and undated) consists of one video recording of "The Church Has Been Planted:The Story of the Augustana Lutheran Church" and a sound recording of the church service on Augustana College's 125th Anniversary on April 18th, 1985.



Box 1
      Church Services
            Christmas, 1975-1986
            Swedish Morning Service [in Swedish], 1976-1981
            Founders' Day, 1977-1987
            Vespers, 1976-1982
            Service Invitations and Pamphlets, 1924-1986 scattered

            Lists of Committees and Members, 1985 and undated
            Meeting Minutes, 1976-1987
            Chapel Fund, 1974-1982 and undated
            Treasurer Reports, 1976-1987

            Guestbook, undated
            News clippings, 1962-1985
            Jenny Lind Concert Ticket, 1851

            Photographs by Erwin Weber, undated
            Other photographs, undated
            Contact sheets and negatives, undated
            Photo of Grafstrom's painting, undated

      Audiovisual Materials
            C-0168/1: Augustana College 125th Anniversary Service, April 18, 1985 [audiocassette]
            VT-0168/1: "The Church Has Been Planted: The Story of the Augustana Lutheran Church" [VHS]



Lars Paul Esbjörn and family papers, MSS 1; Erwin Weber papers, MSS 112


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