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Elsie Ahlwén Sundeen poster
Elsie Ahlwén Sundeen advertising cards and music

Exhibit dedicated to female musician and evangelist

Elsie Ahlwén Sundeen exhibit poster
Elsie Ahlwén Sundeen exhibit poster

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center is showing the exhibit "Elsie Ahlwén Sundeen: The Singing Evangelist" through June 15.

The center is located in the Denkmann Memorial Building, first floor. Hours are 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4:30 p.m. weekdays.

The exhibit takes a look at Elsie Ahlwén Sundeen's life and work. It includes advertising cards and pamphlets, correspondence, and music. 

Elsie Rebecca Ahlwén Sundeen was an evangelist, musician, and composer. Born in Sweden in 1905, she received training at Örebro Mission College before migrating to the United States around 1925. She was an active evangelist and traveled widely preaching and singing to various churches and groups.

She was a student at the Moody Bible Institute and North Park University, both in Chicago, and was active with the Salvation Army. Of note in this collection is correspondence regarding copyright issues on “He the Pearly Gates will Open” (“Han Skall Öppna Pärleporten”). Elsie was fighting what she claimed was illegitimate use of the music she wrote.

Elsie married Daniel A. Sundeen in 1935 in Manchester, New Hampshire, and had two sons. Elsie and Daniel founded a church in New Hampshire, Raymond Community Bible Club (now Raymond Baptist Church), which first met in the showroom of his lumber and building supply company.  After Daniel passed away in 1962 and Elsie continued her ministry with renewed efforts until her death in Grand Rapids, Michigan on January 6, 1986.

See the Virtual Exhibit.

Read the collection's Finding Aid



Lisa Huntsha, 309-794-7496

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