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Jenny Lind Chapel Committee (Andover, Ill.) records, 1855-1992 


Collection Title:    
Jenny Lind Chapel Committee (Andover, Ill.) records

Collection Number:  

1855, 1888, 1948-1992 (bulk 1973-1986)

4 boxes (1.5 linear feet)

English (bulk), Swedish

Bergendoff, Conrad, 1895-1997
Swenson, Birger, 1895-1990
Lestor, Rev. Albert
Lindorff, Hortense

Subject Headings:    
Jenny Lind Chapel (Andover, Ill.)
Andover (Ill.)--Church history
Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America.
Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America
Lutheran church buildings.
Lutheran Church--History.
Swedish American Lutherans
Lutheran Church--Illinois--Andover
National Register of Historic Places.

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois

The Jenny Lind Chapel Committee is concerned with the operation, programs, and preservation of the Jenny Lind Chapel in Andover, Illinois. The Chapel is the “mother church” of the Augustana Synod and of Swedish-American Lutheranism, established by Lars Paul Esbjörn in 1950. Many of the materials in this collection came from Dr. Conrad Bergendoff, Birger Swenson, and Hortense Lindorff.


Conditions Governing Access:
Collection is open for research.

Reproduction and Use:    
Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the Swenson Center and the copyright holder. 

Preferred Citation:    
[item identification], in I/O:8 Jenny Lind Chapel Committee (Andover, Ill.) records, Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. 


Received by Kermit Westerberg in 1982. Accruals in 1985 and 1988. Additional undocumented accruals. 

Accrual 1983.5 received by Kermit Westerberg from Birger Swenson on February 1, 1983 via Everett Lindorff.

Location of Copies:    
Additional copies of programs and some records may be found at the Jenny Lind Chapel. 

Related Materials:    
At the Swenson Center:

  • I/O:1 Jenny Lind Chapel (Andover, Ill.) records
  • MSS P:10 Birger Swenson papers
  • MSS P:310 Glen E. Brolander papers
  • SAC P:29 Hortense Lindorff papers

At Augustana College Special Collections:

  • MSS 168 Jenny Lind Chapel records, 1851-1987 and undated

Processed By:  
Partially processed by Christina Johansson in 2006. Processing finished and finding aid written in 2018 by Lisa Huntsha. 


Administrative/Biographical History:  
The Jenny Lind Chapel is the “mother church” of the Augustana Synod and of Swedish-American Lutheranism. In 1849, Pastor Lars Paul Esbjörn and 146 followers left from Sweden bound for the United States. Many died along the way. After arriving in Andover, Esbjörn and a group of 10 charter members started the congregation in 1850. Esbjörn later became the first president of Augustana College.

In order to build the chapel, Esbjörn collected $1,500 from the famous Swedish singer Jenny Lind, who was on tour in America at the time. She never saw the building. The chapel wasn’t given the name Jenny Lind until 1948 as it was presented to the Augustana Synod. It took three years to build and has no steeple as the wood for the steeple was needed to build coffins during the cholera epidemic. The cemetery adjacent to the Chapel is the resting place of some of the cholera victims and many faithful including Jonas Swensson, the second president of the Augustana Synod. 

In the late 1860s, the congregation had grown too large for the small chapel and a new church was built in Andover. The Chapel fell into disrepair, and then was renovated in the 1970s owing to the efforts of Dr. Conrad Bergendoff, President Emeritus of Augustana College, and Birger Swenson, formerly of the Augustana Book Concern. The Chapel entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. 

The Chapel is owned by the Northern Illinois Synod (ELCA). The Chapel houses a museum that offers exhibits of the early immigrant experience, due to the efforts of Everett and Hortense Lindorff. The Chapel hosts special events throughout the year including the annual Founders Day service in April, Sunday evening vespers during June, July and August, the Swedish Högmässa service in September, and the "Joy of Christmas" service. 

Many of the materials in this collection came from Dr. Conrad Bergendoff, Birger Swenson, and Hortense Lindorff.

Scope and Content:    
Series I. Governance (1964-1990 and undated) consists of meeting minutes, correspondence, financial records, and grant applications.

Series II. Promotional materials (1960, 1975 and undated) includes general brochures, pamphlets, postcards, and other promotional materials for the Jenny Lind Chapel, Andover, and Henry County tourism. 

Series III. News and events (1948-1992 and undated) includes programs and newspaper articles for annual events such as Founders’ Day Service, Vespers, Högmässa, Joy of Christmas with Augustana College, and Julotta, as well as royal visits and the National Register of Historic Places designation.

Series IV. Museum research and projects (1855, 1888, 1960-1991 and undated) consists of articles, research, and inventories and descriptions of museum items related to the history of the chapel as well as special projects like the Weber video project and Kristdala emigrants project and a few sermons by Esbjörn and Bergendoff. 

Series V. Photographs (1976-1990 and undated) consists of several early interior and exterior photos of the chapel (including before the chapel had pews), one photograph from King Carl XVI Gustaf’s visit in 1976, some photographs from the cemetery after storm damage in the 1980s, 1986 Founders’ Day, board meetings, negatives from Esbjörn’s birthplace, and a printing plate.

Collection Inventory:  

Series I. Governance
Box 1

  • Minutes and reports to Lutheran Church of America (LCA) Illinois Synod, 1974-1982
  • Correspondence, 1971-1975
  • Correspondence, 1976-1982, 1989, 1990 and undated
  • Correspondence regarding National Register of Historic Places, 1974-1975
  • Correspondence with Illinois Bicentennial Commission regarding restoration project grant, 1975-1977
  • Correspondence with foundations regarding chapel restoration, 1974-1976
  • Lists of members and mailing lists, board of trustees, committee, friends, guest book, district pastors, Andover Historical Society, contributors to Jenny Lind Chapel Fund, 1975, 1977, 1981 and undated
  • Memo on using the chapel for weddings, undated
  • Finances: Treasurers’ reports, 1973-1982
  • Finances: Jenny Lind Chapel Fund (for restoration), and pledge cards, 1973-1975 and undated
  • Finances: Memorial gifts, 1976-1981 and undated
  • Finances: Augustana Annuity Trust, 1965-1966, 1969 (from Conrad Bergendoff)
  • Finances: Augustana Annuity Trust, 1964-1969 (from Birger Swenson)
  • Finances: Augustana Annuity Trust, 1978-1982 (from Birger Swenson)

Box 2

  • Finances: Cash book 1, 1973-1976
  • Finances: Cash book 2, 1976-1979
  • Binder kept by a member of the Jenny Lind Chapel Committee, 1973-1982. 
    • Binder sections include Trustees List, Minutes, Finance Reports, Bids, W. Porter Ware, Martin Carlson, Bergendoff, Correspondence, Building, Vespers, and Insurance. 

Series II. Promotional materials

Box 3

  • Brochures of Andover, Henry County, and Jenny Lind Chapel, 1960, 1975 and undated    
    • “Andover: Tours of Historic Sites and Places of Interest, Driving (or Walking),” undated
    • “Andover, Illinois: Where Tradition Meets Progress,” 1990
    • “Jenny Ling kapellet i Andover, Illinois,” undated
    • “The Jenny Lind Chapel: An Historic Shrine of American Lutheranism,” about 1974
    • “The Jenny Lind Chapel: An Historic Shrine of American Lutheranism,” about 1976
    • “The Jenny Lind Chapel: An Historic Shrine of American Lutheranism,” about 1980s
    • “Welcome to the Jenny Lind Chapel: A Landmark of Swedish-American Lutheranism,” after 1975
    • “The Story of Jenny Lind Chapel, Andover, Illinois” by G. Everett Arden, 1955
    • “The Story of Jenny Lind Chapel, Andover, Illinois” by G. Everett Arden, 1963
    • “History of Andover, Illinois and a Look to the Future,” about 1960
    • “Get Away for a Great Weekend, Henry County, Illinois” brochure, 1971
    • “Jenny Lind Chapel” by Erwin Weber, 1975
    • “‘…We have such great need of a teacher’: Olof Bäck, Bishop Hill, and the Andover Settlement of Lars Paul Esbjörn” by John E. Norton, 1975
  • Postcards, cards, undated

Series III. News and events

  • Programs and news for services, events, and special projects, including newspaper clippings:
  • Third Sunday after Trinity, 1948
  • Historical Service, 1962
  • Centennial anniversary and dedication, 1954
  • Vespers, 1975-1976, 1979-1981/2, 1988, 1991 and undated
  • Högmässa, 1975-1991, 1996
  • Founders’ Day Service, 1977-1978, 1980-1989, 1991-1992
  • Julotta and Joy of Christmas, 1972, 1979, 1987, 1990 and undated
  • Archbishop Carl Olof Sundby visit, 1974
  • National Register of Historic Places rededication and restoration project, 1971-1975-1976
  • 125th Anniversary, 1975
  • King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden visit, 1976
  • Bishop Sven Lindegård visit, 1980, 1983
  • Archbishop Bertil Werkstrom visit, 1985
  • Jenny Lind & P.T. Barnum, 1981, 1988
  • Other news & events, 1948, 1954, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983-1988 and undated 
  • Liturgists, 1978-1992; Speakers, 1976-1992

Series IV. Museum research and projects

  • Jenny Lind Chapel Museum inventories, 1981, 1983-1989, 1991-1992
  • Video Project, Visitor’s Guide, “Jenny Lind Chapel: A Swedish-Lutheran Pioneer Church in Andover, IL” (Erwin Weber, Kai Swanson, Conrad Bergendoff), 1990-1991
  • Kristdala Project, emigrants from Kristdala parish, Kalmar län, Småland, Sweden, (Lindahl research), 1982-1983
  • Articles: 
    • “Noble Women Stood Behind Them” by Charlotte Odman, 1960 (Amalia Esbjörn, Eva Hasselquist, Inga Norelius, Anna Olsson, Alma Swensson, Emmy Evald)
    • “Grandpa Esbjörn Knew President Lincoln!”: A trailblazer Family in the United States, Two Generations Later, by Lilly Setterdahl, The Bridge vol. 19:1, 1987
    • “Esbjörn the Missionary” by W. X. Magnuson, in The Lutheran Companion, undated
    • “Esbjörn the Trailblazer by W. X. Magnuson, in The Lutheran Companion, June 1, 1960
    • “Words of Greeting to the Swedish emigrant from the Augustana Synod’s Mission organization, Chicago, Illinois” Enander & Bohman’s Printing Shop, 1888 (copy provided by Rev. Constant Johnson of Galesburg)
  • Jonas Anderson (charter member) research by Hortense Lindorff, undated
  • Psalmodikon research, undated
  • Text in the museum, 1979, 1982 and undated 
  • Sermons (copies): Lars Paul Esbjörn, 1855; Conrad Bergendoff, 1982 and undated
  • Andover history with notes, undated

Series V. Photographs

  • ph 1 Natal Day Souvenir, includes images of churches and Jonas Swenson, Erland Carlson, V. Setterdahl, Carl E. Edblom, M. J. Laurel, G. E. Hemdahl, Linus A. Herman, Rubert A. Hull and L. P. Esbjörn
  • ph 2 Interior of Jenny Lind Chapel, with pews, undated
  • ph 3 Interior of Jenny Lind Chapel, with chairs, undated
  • ph 4 Exterior of Jenny Lind Chapel, with fence, no gravestones, undated
  • ph 6 King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden visit, 1976
  • ph 7 Julotta, Augustana Lutheran Church, 1978
  • ph 8 Augustana Lutheran Church, undated
  • ph 9-12 Storm damage, cemetery and chapel, circa 1980s
  • ph 13-14 Photographs from Founders’ Day, exterior, 1986
  • ph 15 Photographs from Founders’ Day, pulpit, 1986
  • ph 17-18 Photographs from Founders’ Day, basement museum, 1986
  • ph 19 Photographs from Founders’ Day, Hortense Lindorff, Dr. Conrad Bergendoff, Anna Brissman, Evelyn Woehr with clock, 1986
  • ph 20 Photographs from Founders’ Day, Eilene Peterson, Anna Brissman, with Esbjörn image, 1986
  • ph 21 Jenny Lind Chapel Board Meeting, Trinity Lutheran Moline, January 1982
  • ph 22 Jenny Lind Chapel Board Meeting, Augustana Lutheran Church, 1990
  • ph 23 Worship in Jenny Lind Chapel, 1990
  • Negatives:
    • Storm damage (ph 9-12), circa 1980s
    • Esbjörn image and permission of King Oscar II for Esbjörn to do religious work in America, undated
    • Ecclesia Plantanda base relief by Bror Hjorth depicting Paul Esbjörn and his wife Amalia standing in front of the chapel, undated
    • Negatives of ph 2, 3, 4, undated
    • Exterior of Chapel from the north, undated
    • Aerial photo of Hille, Sweden (Esbjörn’s birthplace), undated
    • Hille Church, Sweden, undated
    • Memorial rock at L. P. Esbjörn’s birthplace, Delsbo, Sweden, undated
  • Printing plate, undated    

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