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Department of Archives and History of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

LCMS, Board of Directors Records, 1873-present.

  • Collection Number: A-0002
  • Collection Size: 51.2 linear feet, 50 volumes

RESTRICTIONS

LCMS records created 25 years ago or less are normally closed to research. Access to these materials may be obtained only with the written approval of the chair, secretary or executive secretary of the board or commission concerned. Please consult with the CHI reference staff for assistance.

HISTORICAL NOTE

The Synod established the Board of Directors in 1917 to serve as the legal representatives of the Synod, as the custodians of all property (real, stocks, bonds, trusts, etc.) and as the managers of all business affairs. The Board was accountable to the Delegate and General Conventions of the Synod. The first meeting was held on 7-8 July 1920.

Predecessors to the Board of Directors can be traced to 1874 when the synodical Board of Trustees was established to coordinate the work of the Synod. The purpose of coordination was not to place the new board in a superior position to the existing boards but for it to act as a uniting force in bringing the boards together. However, this board did not serve long. In 1890 the Synod created the Board of Trustees, composed of the President, the Secretary and four lay members. In 1896 this was transformed into the Commission on Legacies, which functioned until 1920, when its duties were turned over to the Board of Directors, and it was dissolved. In 1908 the Synod created the Board of Control to coordinate financial and program plans of the higher educational institutions. This board operated until the revision of 1917.

At its creation the Board of Directors was to have no less than seven members, which included the President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, one pastor and three lay members. Membership requirements changed over the years to include more lay persons and more pastors. Teachers have been included during various triennia, and the vice presidents have served as non-voting members. The latest adjustment left the Board of Directors consisting of thirteen voting members, which included the President and the Secretary as voting members and the Treasurer and First Vice-President as non-voting members.

Modifications have occurred from time to time in the duties of the Board of Directors, such as the power to appoint various synodical boards or committees, but the three original duties have remained in place. Originally, the Board of Directors was responsible for the annual budget. In 1938 the Fiscal Conference was officially placed in charge of setting the budget, while the Board provided recommendations. The Board also held many responsibilities related to the Synod’s higher educational institutions. In 1938 the Synod established the Board for Higher Education, removing more duties from the Board of Directors. Affairs of property, finances and legal issues that fell under the jurisdiction of another synodical board remained under their control. The boards were instructed to consult the Board of Directors on matters with far-reaching concerns.

The Board was instructed to establish committees (standing or sub) from its own membership when necessary to fulfill its duites more efficiently. The first two committees were Building and Finance. Later the Board added the Missions and the Investment and Fiduciary committees. The subcommittees provided informed recommendations and reports to the plenary Board of Directors. Since 1917 the issues facing the organization have changed and so have the subcommittees and their foci. The Board of Directors determined its internal structure at the first meeting following a delegate convention. New committee assignments were made in order to integrate the new members.

The Secretary of the Synod has traditionally served as the secretary of the Board of Directors. Due to the other responsibilities of the Secretary and due to the increasing duties associated with the Board of Directors, the Synod established the position of Executive Director of the Board of Directors in 1959. The Rev. Walter Wolbrecht was appointed by the Board of Directors with the approval of the President. He acted as an assistant to the President, as chairman for the Council of Administrators (also created in 1959) and as an advisory member of the Board. The Executive Director also acted as liaison, providing the primary means of communication between the Board of Directors and other synodical entities by transmitting requests and information to the Board.

The position of Executive Director has undergone several changes that did not alter its basic responsibilities. On 15 July 1971 the Synod abolished the office of Executive Director and created the position of Administrative Officer of the Board of Directors. This officer was also appointed by the Board with the approval of the President. At the 1986 convention, effective 1 January 1987, the Synod changed the title of Administrative Officer to Executive Director. At this time the position’s description and list of duties werd deleted from the Handbook (1986, 1992, 1995 editions). In August 1997 the Board of Directors announced that upon the retirement of Executive Director Dr. John Schuelke, the title would become Chief Administrative Officer.

For more detailed information concerning the Board of Directors please see the following sources:

  • The Development of the Formal Structure of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod from 1847-1897 (A Report to the Synodical Survey Commission), Report 2C-3C, November 1960, by August R. Suelflow.
  • Synodical Handbook (editions printed from 1873 to present)
  • Proceedings of the Synodical Convention

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

The Board of Directors Records are arranged into five series: Committees, External Surveys and Reports, External Audits, Subject Files, and Minutes/Agenda/Dockets. Each of the five series has its own sequence of numered boxes to allow for future additions to the collection. Additional records related to the Board of Directors are found in the Executive Offices Records and in other LCMS record groups held by Concordia Historical Institute.

The Committees series (1931-1988) is arranged by committee name, and the items are arranged chronologically within the folders. This series contains the minutes, reports and correspondence related to the work of the committees that assist the Board in carrying out its duties. The amount of materials in this series is very small, as many of the committee reports are located in the Board of Directors meeting dockets.

For member lists, duties and names of these committees check the first Board of Directors meeting minutes and dockets following the General and Delegate Conventions of the Synod. This is when new members were integrated into the administration of the Board. The duties and number of standing committees have changed over the years, and they are usually referred to by a number designation: #1, #2, #3, #4.

The External Surveys and Reports series (1957-1977) is arranged in chronological order by date of the reports. At various times the Synod ordered planning studies or reports to be conducted by an outside agency. These reports have been placed in this series. There may be more of these located in the Board of Directors meeting dockets as exhibits.

The External Audits series (1957-1977) is arranged chronologically by date of the audit. The Synod operates an Internal Audit department that serves all synodical entities; however, it also requires that external audits be completed periodically by an accounting firm. As with the external surveys and reports, there may be many more external audit reports located in the meeting dockets of the Board of Directors.

The Subject Files series (1873-1994) is arranged in alphabetical order by topic. The bulk of this series dates from 1938 to 1953. Most of the files were maintained by Martin F. Kretzmann in the fulfillment of his duties as Secretary of the Synod and as Secretary of the Board of the Directors. There are some materials from Walter C. Birkner, who served as Secretary of the Board of Directors from 1956 to 1965. These files relate to issues before the Board and contain much correspondence addressed to the Board of Directors. Most of the correspondence sent to the Board in later years appears in the meeting dockets as exhibits or as attachments to the exhibits. Therefore, this series is incomplete, and researchers are urged to consult the other series in this collection, the Executive Offices Records, and the records of other LCMS offices.

The Minutes/Agenda/Dockets series (1920-present) is the largest, most complete and most informative series in the Board of Directors Records. The items are arranged chronologically with a few caveats. Please consult the following inventory carefully.

There are 45 volumes of bound minutes from July 1920 through June 1965. There is also one box holding only duplicate minutes for scattered meetings, 1965-1983. These minutes are followed by the Board meeting agenda and dockets arranged in folders from December 1950 to November 1962. From July 1962 through July 1992, the minutes, agenda and dockets appear as one unit (either in binders or in folders). The following inventory gives these details.

Researchers are alerted to the following gaps in the records. There are no minutes, agenda or dockets from the meetings after July 1992 through 1994. There are also no minutes for September 1973 through April 1975, nor for scattered meetings from February 1995 to the present (please see inventory). There are also no meeting dockets for February 1995 to the present, only scattered minutes and/or agenda.

The agenda provide the meeting schedule for the Board, which usually convened for two to three days. The minutes detail all actions taken and resolutions passed by the Board of Directors. In addition, docket exhibits submitted after the deadline may appear in the minutes. Bound in the volumes which belonged to the Secretary and to the Treasurer are financial information and meeting minutes from other entities such as the Board for Higher Education and the Lutheran Laymen’s League.

The meeting dockets contain reports from the Board’s standing committees or subcommittees and numbered exhibits. Exhibits are items that were submitted to the Secretary of the Board, to the Executive Director or to the Administrative Officer (depending on the year) for the entire Board to consider and to act on or for their information. These were distributed to the Board members prior to each meeting so that members would be equally informed as discussions took place and as decisions were reached. Some of these dockets are voluminous and contain reports, surveys and correspondence relating to various issues.

The last box of the collection holds indices to minutes and two indices to the 1981-1986 meeting dockets. Several of the bound volumes dating prior to 1960 contain indices to the minutes that were created by the owner of the volumes, M. F. Kretzmann (Secretary) and E. Seuel (Treasurer). These indices refer to different issues depending on the office held by the owner. There are more of these indices dating from 1923 to 1956 in folders that were removed from duplicate bound volumes. The index owner is noted on the folder label and on the collection inventory following.

On 2-3 October 1997, CHI discarded 10.3 linear feet of Board Action files, c.1977-1986. These files were maintained by the Secretary of the Synod and held copies of the docket exhibits attached to notification letters that communicated actions taken by the Board on various matters. The exhibits are in the dockets, and the Board actions are in the minutes; therefore, these files duplicated information that is more readily available in another, more complete record. Any documents that were not located in the dockets were either added to the appropriate docket exhibit or were placed in the most suitable subject files.

FOLDER LIST

Committees Series

Box 1

f.1: Executive Session — Minutes, 1959
f.2: Executive Committee — Minutes, 1970-1975
f.3: Executive Committee — Minutes, 1976-1988
f.4: Executive Committee — Miscellania, 1970-1979
f.5: Finance Committee, 1931-1936
f.6: Finance Committee, 1941
f.7: Committee #1 – General, 1960-1988
f.8: Committee #1 – Minutes, 1975-1976
f.9: Committee #2 – General, 1967-c.1978
f.10: Committee #3 – Minutes, 1972
f.11: Tract Committee, 1951

External Audits Series

Box 1

f.1: Reports by Tracy B. Whitton & Company, 1957-1970
f.2: Audited Financial Statements by Ernst & Ernst, 1973-1977

External Reports and Surveys Series

Box 1

f.1: A Program of Assessment and Recommendation, 18 April 1977
f.2: The People of the Missouri Synod, April 1977
f.3: Individual Analyses By Departments, 1977
f.4: Continuity and Planning Study: Report and Recommendations Specially Prepared for The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, February 1982
f.5: Feasibility Study and Fund Raising Report, May 1983

Subject Files Series

Box 1

f.1: Academy for Scholarship, 1942-1943
f.2: Accreditation, 1930-1937
f.3: Addison Orphan Home Matters, 1934-1944
f.4: African Mission, 1931-1948
f.5: A. B. Ahlbrand, 1920-1924
f.6: Alberta & B. C. District, 1933
f.7: Albuquerque Loan, 1917-1927
f.8: American Bible Society, 1926
f.9: American Lutheran Church, 1938-1941
f.10: Armed Service Commission, 1948-1954
f.11: Army & Navy, 1914-1947
f.12: E. L. Arndt, 1911
f.13: Atlantic District, 1924-1933
f.14: Auditor, 1929-1932
f.15: Australia, 1938
f.16: J. W. Behnken (President), 1939-1954
f.17: Bethesda Lutheran Home, 1946-1954
f.18: Bequests/Investments/Properties, 1926-1947

Box 2

f.1: Bequests/Investments/Properties, 1948-1955
f.2: Board of Auditors 1921-24
f.3: Board of Foreign Missions:
f.4: Japan, 1946-53
f.5: Philippines, 1948-51
f.6: Board for Jewish Mission, 1929
f.7: Board for Higher Education, 1923-1970
f.8: Board for Home Missions, 1923-34

Box 3

f.1: Board for Home Missions, 1935-36
f.2: North and South America-Rio de Janeiro, 1948-49
f.3: Board for Missions, 1970-78
f.4: Board of Missions for the Blind, 1950-54
f.5: Board of Missions to Deaf Mutes, 1920-27
f.6: Board of Missions to the Deaf and Blind, 1927-47
f.7: Board of Missions to the Deaf, 1948-54
f.8: Board for Parish Education, 1948-54
f.9: Board of Support and Pensions, 1878-1947
f.10: Board for Young People’s Work, 1907-54
f.11: Board for World Relief, 1952-54
f.12: Brazil District, 1915
f.13: Building Fund Collection, 1923-47
f.14: Canadian Immigrant Board, 1926
f.15: Candidate Question, 1933-39
f.16: Capital Investment Needs (Special Report), 1954-56
f.17: Casa Publicadora, 1945-47

Box 4

f.1: Colleges and Seminaries

Box 5

f.1: Colleges and Seminaries

Box 6

f.1: Colleges and Seminaries

Box 7

f.1: Colleges and Seminaries

Box 8

f.1: Colleges and Seminaries

Box 9

f.1: Colleges and Seminaries

Box 10

f.1: Centennial Call of the Cross, 1937-40
f.2: Centennial Thank Offering Committee, 1938-39
f.3: Centennial Thank Offering, 1938-41
f.4: Charter of Synod, 1947
f.5: Chicago Convention – Validity of, 1947-48
f.6: Chinese Missions, 1946-50
f.7: Chinese Mission – New York City, 1948
f.8: Chinese Term Question, 1932-45
f.9: Church Extension, 1911-54
f.10: Cleveland Convention, 1935
f.11: College of Presidents, 1935-1944
f.12: Committees, 1935-1968

Box 11

f.1: Committees, 1931-1980
f.2: Concordia Historical Institute, 1927-80
f.3: Concordia Publishing House, 1908-82
f.4: Conferences
f.5: Conquest for Christ, 1950-54
f.6: Constitution of Synod, 1923
f.7: Convention Reports, 1986

Box 12

f.1: Correspondence (misc.), 1959-76
f.2: Council of Administrators, 1979
f.3: Department of Public Relations, 1946-54
f.4: Diederich Case, 1913-14
f.5: Displaced Persons, 1948-54
f.6: District Staff Officer, 1977-78
f.7: Division of Church Government, 1976-79
f.8: Each One Reach One, 1947
f.9: Educational Matters – General, 1908-44
f.10: Educational Survey, 1942-43
f.11: Emergency Collection Committee, 1932-33
f.12: English District, 1908-45
f.13: European Missions, 1923-27, 1948-54
f.14: European Relief, 1922-23
f.15: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer (Oakland,CA), 1930-33
f.16: Financial Matters, 1905-33

Box 13

f.1: Financial Matters, 1934-54
f.2: Fiscal Office, 1926-27
f.3: Fiscal Conference, 1927-48
f.4: Foreign Missions, 1920-54
f.5: Foreign Tongue Missions, 1908-24
f.6: Forward in Remembrance, 1981
f.7: Dr. J.H.C. Fritz, 1953
f.8: General Church Extention Fund Committee, 1946
f.9: Germany, 1952
f.10: Good Shepherd Lutheran Home of the West, 1953-54
f.11: Grace Lutheran Church (River Forest, IL), 1928-82

Box 14

f.1: Theodore Graebner, 1920-32
f.2: William Hagen, 1920-36
f.3: Handbook Issues, 1945-59
f.4: Theodore Hanssen, 1938-40
f.5: Home Missions, 1937-54
f.6: Henry W. Horst, 1920-42
f.7: Incorporation Matters, 1887-1935
f.8: India Missions, 1921-53
f.9: Institutional Survey in Foreign Countries
f.10: Insurance (Synodical), 1914-37
f.11: Insurance Proposal, May 1935
f.12: Intersynodical Committee Report, 1914-36

Box 15

f.1: KFUO, 1927-47
f.2: T.H. Lamprecht Memorial, 1928-34
f.3: Language Question, 1905
f.4: Dr. F.J. Lankenau, 1937
f.5: Lay Retirement, 1952-53
f.6: Legacies, 1905-16
f.7: Legal Counsel
f.8: W.F. Lichtsinn, (President), 1944-46
f.9: Luther-Walther Denkmal Gesellschaft, 1873-c.1890
f.10: Luther Chaplain, 1948
f.11: Lutheran Deaconess Association, 1948-54
f.12: Lutheran Friends of the Deaf, 1948-54
f.13: Lutheran Immigrant Society, 1908-54
f.14: Lutheran Layman’s League, 1949-82
f.15: Lutheran Layman’s League (Endowment Fund),1920-27

Box 16

f.1: Lutheran Layman’s League (Endowment Fund), 1929-37
f.2: Lutheran Witness, 1944-54
f.3: Lutheran World Federation, 1952
f.4: Dr. Walter A. Maier, 1950
f.5: Medical Missions, 1959-79
f.6: Meetings, 1954-83
f.7: Earl F. Miller vs. Cardaro, Preus, et. al. (Nov.-Dec., 1974)
f.8: Missionary Forward Movement, 1933
f.9: Missions, 1911-38
f.10: Missouri Synod Organizational Chart, 1921
f.11: National Advisory Emergency Planning Council, 1942-49
f.12: National Lutheran Council, 1947-59
f.13: Negro Missions, 1922-54
f.14: New Orleans Concordia, 1908-22
f.15: Office of Financial Secretary, 1920-27

Box 17

f.1: Oregon School Committee, 1922-24
f.2: Pensacola & Mobile, 1948-49
f.3: F. Pfotenhauer (President), 1930-39
f.4: Policy Manual, c.1977
f.5: Policy Manual – Additions/Revisions, 1978-95
f.6: Policy Questions, 1948-54
f.7: Polish Research & Info Service, 1948
f.8: Pomeroy Case, 1951-53
f.9: Pre-Centennial Committee Debt Liquidation, 1937-38
f.10: Presidential Reports, c. 1910
f.11: Protest of LCMS and Concordia College (Milwaukee) to IRS (6 Dec. 1979)
f.12: Publicity Director, 1924-47
f.13: Radio Conference, 1949-50
f.14: Recommendations from the Administrative Officer, 1978-79
f.15: Reference Journal (W.C.Birkner), c. 1959
f.16: Report on Survey of Italy, c.1954
f.17: Report of the Task Force on Finances, 1994
f.18: Resolutions, 1903 & 1906
f.19: Restudy of Work, 1949-53
f.20: Martin Salvner, 1948-50
f.21: Saxon Immigration Centennial, 1936-37

Box 18

f.1: Saxony Free Churches, 1905-29
f.2: School Matters, 1923
f.3: School and Sunday School Boards, 1920-31
f.4: Dr. Paul Schulz, 1949-50
f.5: E. Seuel (Treasurer), 1920-42
f.6: South America Reports, 1950
f.7: Social Security, 1950-54
f.8: Social Welfare, 1948-54
f.9: Southeastern District, c. 1949-54
f.10: Standard Operating Procedures, 1-16, 1980
f.11: Student Service Commission, 1944-47

Box 19

f.1: Stewardship, 1948-54
f.2: Dr. F.C. Streufert, 1949-53
f.3: Students Fund, 1928-30
f.4: Students Fund – Questionnaires, 1928
f.5: Student Welfare (formerly Student Service Commission), 1923-41
f.6: Survey and Findings Committee, 1953-55
f.7: Synodical Administrative Deskbook, 1971
f.8: Synodical Budgets, 1920-67

Box 20

f.1: Synodical Budget Review, 1983-84:
f.2: Synodical Conference, 1920-48
f.3: Synodical Discipline
f.4: Synodical Emergency Collection Committee, 1932
f.5: Synodical Office Building, 1940-52
f.6: Synodical Survey Committee, 1958-59
f.7: Synod’s Name, 1944-48
f.8: Teachers, 1949-52
f.9: Board of Directors Team Visits, 1970:

Box 21

f.1: Television, 1950-54
f.2: Trinity (New York City), 1949-50
f.3: Trust Funds of Synod, 1937-42
f.4: Vacancy Nominees, 1978
f.5: Visual Education, 1945-50
f.6: Walther Centennial
f.7: Ways and Means Committee, 1923-24
f.8: Wehmeyer Legacy, 1924-29
f.9: Wheat Ridge, 1931
f.10: Worker Benefit Plans (Board of Managers), 1979
f.11: Youth Survey Report, 1953
f.12: Zucker Case, 1927

Minutes/Agenda/Dockets Series

45 Bound Volumes (2 copies)

v.1-2: July 1920 – March 1923 (MFK, ES)
v.3-4: June 1923 – April 1926 (MFK ES)
v.5-6: June 1926 – June 1929 (MFK ES)
v.7-8: July 1929 – February 1932 (MFK ES)
v.9-10: July 1932 – May 1935 (MFK ES)
v.11-12: July 1935 – June 1938 (MFK ES)
v.13-14: July 1938 – May 1941 (JWB, MFK)
v.15-16: July 1941 – June 1944 (WHS, MFK)
v.17-18: July 1944 – July 1947 (WHS MFK)
v.19-20: September 1947 – June 1950 (JWB, MFK)
v.21-22: July 1950 – June 1953 (JWB, MFK)
v.23-24: Aug. 1953 -June 1956 (JWB, WHS)
v.25-26: July 1956 – June 1957
v.27-28: Sept. 1957 – Feb. 1958
v.29-30: March 1958 – Sept. 1958
v.31-32: Oct. 1958 – June 1959
v.33-34: July 1959 – April 1960
v.35-36: June 1960 – Jan. 1961
v.37-38: March 1961 – July 1961
v.39-40: Aug. 1961 – June 1962
v.41-42: July 1962 – January 1963 (RCR)
v.43: March 1963 – January 1964 (one copy)
v.44: March 1964 – November 1964 (one copy)
v.45: January 1965 – June 1965 (one copy)

Box 1

f.1: Minutes only – copy 2, 1965-83

Box 2

f.1: Agenda only, 1950-53

Box 3

f.1: Agenda only, 1954-56

Box 4

f.1: Agenda only, 1956-58

Box 5

f.1: Agenda only, 1958-59

Box 6

f.1: Agenda only, 1959-61

Box 7

f.1: Agenda only, 1961-62

Box 8

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1963-1964

Box 9

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1964-65

Box 10

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1965-66

Box 11

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1966-68

Box 12

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1968-69

Box 13

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1969

Box 14

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1970-71

Box 15

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1971-72

Box 16

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1973
f.2: Dockets only, 1973

Box 17

f.1: Dockets only, 1974

Box 18

f.1: Dockets only, 1975
f.2: Dockets and Minutes, 1975-76

Box 19

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1976-77

Box 20

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1977-78

Box 21

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1978-79

Box 22

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1979-80

Box 23

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1980-81

Box 24

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1981-82

Box 25

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1982-83

Box 26

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1984-85

Box 27

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1985-86

Box 28

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1986-87

Box 29

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1987-88

Box 30

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1988-89

Box 31

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1989-90

Box 32

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1990-91

Box 33

f.1: Dockets and Minutes, 1992, 1995, 1997-2001
f.2: Agenda only, 1996-97

Box 34

f.1: Indices, 1923-86

DONOR INFORMATION

The Board of Directors Records were transferred or donated to CHI by: the Board of Directors in July 1963 and July 1990; the Secretary in May 1973, March 1977, October 1982, April and June 1988; the Administrative Officer in September 1983, January 1988; the Treasury Department in January 1984. The Board of Directors transferred minutes, agenda and dockets at regular intervals from 1989 to 1992.

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