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 and Photographs.
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.
Swedish Morning Service [in Swedish], 1976-1981
Founders' Day, 1977-1987
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
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