Olof Olsson was born in Sweden in 1841. He was trained for ministry and ordained as a
parish pastor in Värmland, Sweden. On December 22, 1864 he married Anna Lisa
Jonsson. They would have four children together: Anna, Maria, Lydia, and Johannes.
Olof and Anna Lisa emigrated along with Olsson's parents, Olof and Britta, his
brother Carl, and 250 others from Sweden to the United States in 1869. They settled
in Lindsborg, Kansas, where he founded the Bethany Evangelical Church on August 19,
He also served McPherson County as State Legislator for two terms while serving as pastor and missionary.
In 1876 Olof was offered a professorship at Augustana College and Theological Seminary, Rock
Island, Illinois. At first he declined because of his attachment to his community in
Kansas, but one year later he accepted the position.
In 1879 he and his family toured Europe for five months. On March 18, 1887, Anna Lisa passed
away. Following his wife's death he resigned from his position at Augustana in 1888. In
1889, Olof and his four children traveled again to Europe. They lived there for one year. On
June 17, 1891, after his return to the U.S., Olof was unanimously elected to the Augustana
College presidency and he accepted.
Olof achieved the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1892, and in 1893 the University of
Uppsala, Sweden, made him an honorary Doctor of Philosophy. At this time he wrote
extensively in German, Swedish, and English. Works from pamphlets to volumes were published
here and abroad, and often translated into other languages.
Olof died on May 12, 1900, and his funeral was held on May 16. He was buried in the family
plot in Riverside Cemetery, Moline, Illinois.
ANNA LISA OLSSON
Very little is known about Anna Lisa Olsson. Born the daughter of a coal miner, Anna Lisa Jonsson married Olof Olsson on December 22nd, 1864. She was the mother of his four children: Anna, Lydia, Maria, and Johannes. On March 18th, 1887, Anna Lisa passed away.
Anna Olsson was born on August 19, 1866, in Värmland, Sweden. She was the first daughter of Olof and Anna Lisa Olsson. She migrated with her parents and extended family to Lindsborg, Kansas, in 1869 when her father accepted a position of pastor in the small town. In 1876 Olof Olsson accepted a professorship at Augustana College and Theological Seminary, and at this time Anna and her family were moved to Rock Island, Illinois.
Within the Anna Olsson series there is a story that describes the train trip from Lindsborg, Kansas, to Moline, Illinois. From 1882 to 1883 Anna attended Bethany Academy in Lindsborg, Kansas, but returned to Rock Island later in 1883 and started at Augustana College. She studied German language and literature. The year of 1887 was difficult for Anna because her mother died, and Anna became the "mother" of the family by fulfilling the duties of a Pastor's wife. In 1888 Anna was the second woman to ever graduate from Augustana College. From 1888 to 1889, Anna was a teacher in the Children's Department at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.
From 1889 to 1890, Anna and her family toured Europe. While there, Anna spent several months at a German school. She also attended literature and philosophy lectures at the University of Zurich. Then in 1891, Olof Olsson was unanimously elected President of Augustana College, and they moved back to Rock Island, Illinois, once again. In 1895 Anna became the principal of Ladies' Hall at Augustana College. Then again from 1896 to 1898 Anna attended Augustana College and studied Italian, French, and literature. Anna quit her position at Ladies' Hall in 1900.
In 1917 Anna Olsson had her book, entitled "I'm Scairt," published by the Augustana Book
Concern. The book was a biography of her life written from a child's perspective. It gives a
detailed description of the family's move to the United States from Sweden, and of her
school days at Augustana. Anna remained in the same residence in Rock Island, Illinois,
working as a writer until she died at the age of 79 on February 15, 1946. She was buried in
the family plot in Riverside Cemetery, Moline.
Maria Olsson, affectionately known as Mia, was born on September 15, 1869, in Lindsborg, Kansas. Mia spent her childhood growing up on the farm in Lindsborg. After her mother passed away in 1887, the family took a long trip to Europe. On this trip, which was between 1889 and 1890, Maria and her sister Lydia took lessons in "fancy work." It seems this is when her success in dressmaking sparked.
After returning to the U.S., specifically Woodhull, Illinois, in late June of 1890, Maria and Anna became the housekeepers of their home. In 1895, Mia started attending Augustana Conservatory of Music, studying piano. In 1896, Mia enrolled in Elocution and Physical Culture.
In 1904 or 1905, Maria patented the "Combination Collar Fastener." Records held in MSS 3 contain both dates. The fastener was used to secure collars or belts. It took the place of whalebones and hooks and eyes, and predated the first patent on the zipper. This would become a career for Maria Olsson.
Maria died on May 3, 1934, and was buried in the family plot at the Riverside Cemetery in Moline.
Lydia Olsson was the third daughter born to Reverend Olof and Anna Lisa Olsson on April 14, 1874, in Lindsborg, Kansas. Like her sister Maria, she grew up on the family farm in Lindsborg. Later in life Lydia traveled with her father and siblings to Europe in 1889. She stayed in Zurich, Switzerland, with Maria and Johannes while Anna and Olof went to visit Italy.
After returning to the U.S. in 1890, Lydia was enrolled in Phonography and Typewriting, Chorus, and Voice between 1892 and 1895. During the 1894 school year, Lydia was appointed Library Attendant. The Spring-Summer 1989 issue of The Augustana Historical Society Newsletter stated that she was Assistant Librarian for the 1895 school year. Lydia became Librarian of the Augustana College Library in 1897, while registered as an Art student.
From 1901 to 1902 and 1905 to 1912, her occupation was recorded as bookkeeper. Then in 1915 it was changed to Assistant Librarian of the Augustana College Library. After that Lydia was a clerk in the Tractor Department of the Moline Tractor Company. Again in 1922 she served as Library Assistant in the Denkmann Memorial Library. She kept this position until 1945.
Lydia passed away on March 1, 1958, and was buried in the family plot in Riverside Cemetery, Moline.
JOHANNES SAMUEL OLSSON
Johannes Samuel Olsson was born either in Moline or Rock Island on July 4th, 1877.
He was the only son of Olof and Anna Lisa Olsson. Johannes, affectionately Hannes, spent his
twelfth birthday in Germany on his family's tour of Europe in 1889 to 1890. Anna was Hannes'
teacher at the time. He seemed to have an interest in carpentry.
After returning, the family spent time in Chicago and Rock Island. Then they moved to Woodhull, and lived there for ten months. Here, Hannes learned to play the violin and attended school. At the same time Hannes was given two copies of his father's book to sell.
Hannes was very close to his sister Anna. An entry from her day journal expressed that she wished for Hannes to attend college, and so he did. Hannes enrolled at Augustana in 1897. Then in 1900 Hannes enrolled in the Conservatory of Music, and finally from 1900 to 1901 he attended the Business College at Augustana.
Following his time spent at Augustana, Hannes was hired as a clerk for Hartz and Company, which was a wholesale and retail drug business. Then in 1929 Hannes became a music teacher, then a band leader in 1931. After that he was once again a music teacher, then a musician, and then a music teacher again in 1936. After Lydia's death in 1958, Hannes was the sole surviving child of Olof Olsson. Word of mouth suggests that in 1962 Hannes was moved to a care home.
There were two works written by Hannes. First was titled "Fadervar" and second was "Tillegnadt minnet af minfeder from lidne Dr. O. Olsson."
Johannes Samuel Olsson passed away on September 23, 1967. He was buried in the family plot in Riverside Cemetery, Moline
The Personal series (1879 and undated) contains an Anna Lisa Olsson tribute upon death. It also contains a journal, an Ordination certificate, a concert ticket and program, a railroad ticket, and a business card. Other items include a House Bill concerning one of his parishioners majority rights, an account statement, a prayer, a map of Arkansas, an Augustana document, and three miscellaneous writings in Swedish
The Ministry series (1878-1899 and undated) has been broken down into two categories. They are Correspondence and Sermons. The correspondence within the Ministry series contains letters from family, friends, parishioners, and other pastors. The sermons were those written and most likely spoken by Olof Olsson to his parishioners. This section contains sermons written on paper, or drafts, and sermons written in books, which seem to be the "final" draft of his sermons.
Presidency (1886-1900 and undated) contains correspondence and other miscellaneous items. The correspondence here is again from family, friends, former and current parishioners, other pastors, and students of the college. The letter fragments found here are pieces of letters that have no date. The miscellaneous items found within this series are Conservatory of Music Programs, Reformation Festival Programs, Augustana College Programs and other miscellaneous programs all dealing with Augustana College at the time of Olsson's presidency. There is also a copy of Olsson's final report to the Augustana Synod that he delivered as President in 1899.
Writings (1867-1925 and undated) has three sub-series, which are Published, Church and Educational, and Miscellaneous. The sub-series Published (1878-1925 and undated) contains two drafts of Olsson's published book Till Rom Och Hem Igen, as well as the copyright documents pertaining to the book. It also contains some other miscellaneous writings published in magazines and newspapers. The Church and Educational sub-series (1886 and undated) contains several pieces by Olsson relating to religion, particularly to Lutheranism, and to education. Some of the pieces describe "A Well Balanced Education" and the needs of the Swedish Lutheran Church at the time. The Miscellaneous sub-series (1867-1894 and undated) has journals of events that Olsson wrote as well as drafts of Framåt magazine writings, but it mostly holds speeches that Olsson delivered. It has funeral readings, Christmas day speeches, and speeches addressing the Swedish public.
Account Books (1867-1889 and undated) is the next series. It contains the books that Olsson used to keep track of expenses and debts. There is one book that was specifically used for Olsson's trip to Europe with his children.
Next is the Notes series (1879-1898 and undated). It holds random notes that Olof Olsson took at various points in his life. Several of them seem to deal with his work as a pastor.
The next series is Lecture Notes (1879-1898 and undated). Lecture Notes contains notes that Olof Olsson took during his time here at Augustana. It has notes that contain class lists at the time of Olsson's presidency as well as the class schedules.
Diaries (1867-1899 and undated) is the next series. It contains the personal thoughts of Olof Olsson during his years as a pastor and as the President of Augustana College.
Tributes to Olof Olsson (1900) is a series that contains a great number of newspaper clippings that were written after Olof Olsson's death. It also contains several sympathy cards and memorials from the funeral. Flowers from Olof's funeral as well as tributes to him can also be found here.
The Photographs series (1861-1905 and undated) holds several family pictures and a few pictures of friends. It also contains a few pictures of Olof Olsson and some of his college friends.
Next is the Texts series (1839-1993 and undated). Julbesoket contains an assortment of Olof Olsson's published material collected and bound in 1993. Meditations of Samwell Wilkins is a book that Olof owned, and since the cover is missing it could not be catalogued into Special Collections. There is also a folder of facsimiles from the title pages of several books Olof owned. These books have been separated and catalogued in Special Collections.
The Anna Lisa Olsson series (undated) contains a handwriting book, which doesn't directly document to whom it belongs. However it was linked to her because her signature is found on more than one page within the handwriting section of the book, and it is signed using her maiden name. The drawings are not marked either, but they match up with the style of those found in the book. The handwriting in the book is all in Swedish.
The Anna Olsson series (1800-1941) contains seven sub-series. They include: Personal, Correspondence, Diaries and Journals, Album, Written Works, Texts, and Print Making Items.
The Personal sub-series (1880-1941 and undated) contains Anna Olsson's Confirmation record, passport, death notice, and a sermon. It holds other items such as wedding and class reunion invitations. The sub-series ends with several hospital receipts.
The Correspondence sub-series (1869-1941 and undated) contains personal correspondence and postcards addressed to Anna Olsson. The sub-series Diaries and Journals (1880-1890 and undated) holds Anna Olsson's personal journals and a diary. These first journal has several passages in Swedish, but some are in English. They give schedules, times of music lessons given to others, and her own thoughts about housework. The journal also contains notes from her schoolwork. The second journal is a nature journal and it holds several dried leaves and flowers. Finally, the diary and a typed translated copy are included in the sub-series. The diary contains her thoughts and experiences during the family's stay in Europe between 1889 and 1890.
The Album sub-series (undated ) includes a post card album put together by Anna. They seem to be post cards that she received from friends and family.
Next is the Written Works sub-series (1879 to 1926 and undated). This sub-series includes the published and unpublished work of Anna Olsson. The published work includes "Vintersol," "Vinter," "1879, 1883-1888, 1884, and 1887," "Mamma dod," "Vackert, Vackert," "Vi rasert tangt bort," "Afdelming II," "Bref till farbror X," "Forfattaren," "Islossmingen," "Hosttenkar," "Lits om musik och misikmanmiskor," "Pranovirtirosen," "Lillr Anton," "I blatt och hritt," and "Praricskiss II." Her published stories that are translated or in English include "Somebody's at the Back Door" and "August Anderson's Wife." Another unpublished English piece is untitled. The original copy of her writing "I'm Scairt" is also included, as well as a play titled "The Rest Cure." Following are several unpublished manuscripts titled "In Moline," "Vara nya lekkamrater," "Commencement," "Analla Gubbar och Farliga Gubbar," "I Lindsborg Igen," "Homa i Skogen," "Mrs. Skola," "In Moline Again," "Picnic pa on," " Varlilla," and untitled.
The Texts (1800-1916) sub-series includes facsimiles of the title pages from several of Anna Olsson's books. The books have been separated and are now cataloged in Special Collections.
The last sub-series is Print Making Items (circa 1910) contains several stamps made from wood and metal. Their maker is unknown, but they are handmade and many contain the initials "D. C." in the lower corner. The majority of the stamps are ornate letters, but there are also some with images of the Augustana campus. One of the stamps includes an image of Jubilee Hall which was used for the celebration of the Jubilee of 1910. Besides the stamps themselves, there is also a stamp pad as well as paper and cardstock containing prints of the stamps.
The Maria Olsson series (1875-1916 and undated) has four sub-series. They are Personal, Correspondence, Design, and Texts. The Personal sub-series (1875-1890 and undated) holds several prayer books, classified ads and newspaper clippings. It also contains a signature book as well as a sewing list and several lace designs. The Correspondence sub-series (1890-1926) contains letters addressed to Maria from friends and family. The Design sub-series (1904 to 1905 and undated) contains the material patented by Maria. It was called the "Combination Collar Fastener." This item predated the zipper. It was used to fasten collars and sometimes belts or pants. This sub-series includes sample sheets and a packing list, ads, and ad pictures for the Collar Fastener. It also contains a box of the actual Collar Fasteners. nally in the Maria Olsson series is the Texts sub-series (1877-1916 and undated). This series has facsimiles of each of the title pages from the books, which have been separated and cataloged in Special Collections.
The Lydia Olsson series (1870-1937, 2011 and undated) contains five sub-series. They are: Personal, Correspondence, Journals, Album, and Texts. The Personal sub-series (1904-1913 and undated) contains several parlor game cards, which seem to be used for associating pictures with names and words. It also has a bedroom exercise list, a receipt, and concert programs, including one from the symphony orchestra. Next is the Correspondence sub-series (1890-1926). This sub-series has letters written by Lydia as well as letters addressed to Lydia from friends and family. The Journal sub-series (1892-1896) holds four of Lydia Olsson's journals. They contain daily passages. The passages include information about new purchases, concerts attended, and information about her siblings. There are also two sets of transcriptions of the journals by Chuck Maki (1999) and Rebecca Hopman (2011). The Album sub-series (1889 and 1896) contains several albums. The first album is a signature album, which was a present on her sixteenth birthday from friends. It also contains a post card album. The final sub-series is Texts (1870-1930 and undated). This series contains facsimiles of the title pages from books that Lydia owned. The books have been separated from the series and are now cataloged in Special Collections.
The Johannes Samuel Olsson series (1880-1930 and undated) has three sub-series, which are Personal, Correspondence, and Texts. The Personal sub-series (1898 and 1901) includes bookkeeping records and a receipt as well as a song book of psalms. Correspondence (1899-1941 and undated) includes letters from the friends and family of Hannes Olsson. The Texts (1860-1880) sub-series concludes the Johannes Olsson series. Facsimiles of the title pages from these books that belonged to Hannes are included in this sub-series.
The Family series (1860-1941 and undated) includes three sub-series: Personal, Correspondence, and Texts. This series contains items which cannot be placed under any of the children because they have no distinguishing marks. Personal (1866 to 1922) includes several prayers, a bible, and prayer books. It also contains Augustana Graduation Announcements from 1895 to 1902. It also has several blank post cards and Olof Olsson's death notice, and some other miscellaneous items, which includes newspaper clippings, a money owed list, a list of names, and a picture of Queen Victoria.
Correspondence (1900-1941 and undated) first contains letters addressed to Anna, Lydia, and Maria only. The second folder includes letters addressed to all four children. The final folder in this sub-series includes letters and post cards addressed to people other than Olof or any of his children. They have names that are not related to the Olsson name. The final sub-series in Family Items is Texts (1860 and 1880). Facsimiles of the title pages of books belonging to the children of Olof Olsson are in this sub-series.
Miscellaneous Items, 1879 and undated
Correspondence, Jan.-Apr. 1873
Correspondence, May-June 1873
Correspondence, July-Dec. 1873
Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1879
Bethany Academy, 1883-1895 and undated
Sermons, undated (5 folders)
Sermon Books, 1897 and 1886
Sermon Books, 1892-1894
Sermon Books, 1893-1895
Sermon Books, 1895-1897
Sermon Books, 1897-1899
Sermon Books, 1898-1899
Sermon Books, 1899
Letter Fragments, undated
Conservatory of Music Programs, 1886-1889 and undated
Reformation Festival Programs, 1879-1897 and undated
Augustana College Miscellaneous Programs, 1886-1900 and undated
Miscellaneous Programs, 1897-1908 and undated
Report to Augustana Synod, 1899
Till Rom Och Hem Igen Copy 1, undated
Till Rom Och Hem Igen Copy 2, undated
Copyright Documents, 1880-1925
Miscellaneous Writings, 1879-1885 and undated
Newspaper Articles, 1878-1921 and undated
Church and Educational
Christ and Christianity as the Basis of Our Higher Institutions of Learning, undated
The Labor Question and the Christian College, undated
Dispute Over "Churchy" Questions, undated
A Well-Balanced Education, undated
The Swedish Lutheran Church in America Needs an Institution of Education for Its Pastors, undated
Swedish People's Preparation for the Great Battle in Defense of Evangelism, undated
Aristocratic Tendencies in the Augustana Synod, 1886
Education and Christianity, undated
Christmas Greetings to Readers and Friends of Framåt, 1888-1889
Journal of Events, 1876; undated
Erland Carlsson's Funeral, 1893-1894
Christmas Day, undated
Alma Mater, undated
The Wealth of the Soul, undated
A Short Sketch of India, Its People, and Religion, undated
The 17th and 20th Centuries, undated
What Significance Does the Work of the Church Have in the General Development of Our Country?, undated
Greetings from the United States' Sweden-Norway, undated
A Few Words at the Concert in Chicago, undated
At the 20th Anniversary of Immanuel Congregation in Boston, undated
Christmas Visit and the 100th Anniversary Celebration in Lynnsborg [sic], undated
To the Swedish Public in the United States, undated
Legal Document, undated
Book 1, 1867
Book 2, 1868
Book 3, 1867-1869
Book 4, 1867-1874
Book 5, 1871
Book 6, 1875
Book 7, 1875
Book 8, 1881
Book 9, 1883
Book 10, 1889
Book 11, 1889
Book 12, undated
Book 13, undated
Book 14, undated
Book 15, undated
Expense Account Diary from Trip to Europe, 1889
Kristus Harlighetsa Hopp, 1886-1895
Petri Bref, undated
Anterningar vir Lasningen af...., undated
Engelska Skrifafningar, undated
Greichijcksa Schreibiibungen, undated
Deutche Aufsatse, undated
Dr. Olof Olsson's Personal Notes, undated
Gamta Testamentots, undated
Textond och Kittonde Archandradet, undated
En Blick Utanpa och Inuti Medeltidens Kyuka, undated
Alldeles Ofverflodigt, undated
Hebreisk Ordbok, undated
Ima Anterkningar vid...., undated
Yag Uticka om Nagot...., undated
Ehuru Srar all Borjan ar...., undated
Sa Konung Philip af...., undated
Uppsats fra Hvad en Organis bar...., undated
Reformationers och Socianisme, undated
Genom deu Lutherska Reformationen, undated
Nola Varldens och...., undated
Fingervismingartill Katekisationen, undated
Aufeckningan Symbolik fran Askillige Forfatta, undated
Kateketiska Ofningar, 1879
Om Haydn, 1885
Hours of Lectures, 1896
Hours in the Seminary, 1896-1897
Untitled, undated (2 folders)
Tyska Skrifafmib gar far Anna, undated
Diary 1, 1867
Diary 2, 1879
Diary 3, 1879
Diary 4, 1883
Diary 5, 1883-1884
Diary 6, 1888
Diary 7, 1890
Diary 8, 1893-1895
Diary 9, 1895
Diary 10, 1898-1899
Diary 11, undated
Tributes to Olof Olsson
Newspaper Clippings, 1900
Sympathy Cards, 1900
Anna, Lydia, and Maria Olsson, undated
W. E. Gedenberg, 1905
Olof Olsson, 1863
Olof, Anna, Lydia, Maria, and Hannes Olsson, 1891
Maria and Lydia Olsson, undated
Dr. Olof and Anna Lisa Olsson, undated
Olof, Anna, Maria, Lydia, and Hannes Olsson, undated
Olof, Anna, Lydia, Maria, and Hannes Olsson, undated
Olof Olsson, 1861
Olof Olsson, undated
Funeral Photograph, undated
Olof, Anna, Lydia, Maria, and Hannes Olsson, undated
Miscellaneous Photographs, undated
Olof and Anna Lisa Olsson and Miscellaneous Photographs, undated
Miscellaneous Photographs, 1892 and 1895
Miscellaneous Photographs, undated
Cabinet Card Photographs, undated
Meditations of Samwell Wilkins, undated
Title Pages and Citations, 1839-1890; undated
Anna Lisa Olsson
Handwriting and Artwork
Handwriting and Drawings, undated
Confirmation Record and Passport, 1882 and 1889
Death Notice and Sermon, undated
Wedding and Class Reunion Invitations, 1891-1901; undated
Hospital Receipts, 1897-1901
Letters from Anna, 1869-1875
Correspondence, 1890- February 1913
Correspondence, April 1913-March 1918
Correspondence, April 1918-1941; undated
Diaries and Journals
Nature Journal, 1889
Diary & Translation, 1889-1891
Postcard Album, undated
Volume 1, 1886
Volume 2, undated
Volume 3, undated
Volume 4, undated
Published Work, undated
Manuscripts, 1879-1887; undated
Short Stories, undated
Draft of Play, 1916
Title Pages, 1800-1916
Print Making Items
Stamps and Samples, circa 1910
Prayer Books, 1875-1876
Classified Ads and Newspaper Clippings, undated
Signature Book, 1890
Sewing List and Lace Designs, undated
Correspondence, 1906- February 11, 1907
Correspondence, February 12, 1907- March 23, 1907
Correspondence, March 24, 1907-1909
Collar Fastener Sample Sheets and Packing List, 1905; undated
Collar Fastener Ads, 1904-1905
Collar Fastener Ad Pictures, undated
Box of Collar Fasteners, undated
Title Pages, 1877-1916; undated
Parlor Game Cards, 1904
Exercise List and Receipt, 1909; undated
Concert Programs, 1935 and 1937
Correspondence from Lydia Olsson, 1901
Correspondence, 1906-June 24, 1907
Correspondence, June 26, 1907-1913; undated
Journal, 1892-January 16, 1893
Journal, January 17, 1893-May 1893
Journal, December 1893-May 1894
Journal, January 1895- March 1895
Chuck Maki, 1999
Rebecca Hopman, 2011
Signature Album, 1889
Post Card Album, 1905
Title Pages, 1870-1930; undated
Johannes Samuel Olsson
Bookkeeping Records and Receipt, 1898 and 1901
Song book, undated
Correspondence, 1930-1941; undated
Title Pages, 1870
Prayers and Bible, 1866-1875; undated
Prayers and Prayer Books, undated
Augustana Graduation Announcements, 1895-1902
Blank Post Cards, undated
Death Notice for Olof Olsson, 1900
Miscellaneous Items, 1907 and 1922; undated
Correspondence to Anna, Lydia, and Maria Olsson, 1903-1911
Correspondence to Anna, Lydia, Maria, and Johannes Olsson, 1900-1932; undated
Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1905-1941; undated
Title Pages. — 1860 and 1880