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

Theodore Julius Brohm (1808-1881)
Family Collection, 1827-1958

  • Collection Number: M-0030
  • Collection Size: 1 linear foot

Biographical Sketches

This collection contains papers of Theodore Julius Brohm (1808-1881), of his wife Johanna von Wurmb Brohm (c.1804-after 1882), of their son Johann Theodore Julius Gotthold Brohm (1846-1926), and of his sons Arthur C. Brohm (1882-1968) and Theodore Brohm Jr. (1879-1957).

Theodore Julius Brohm

Theodore Julius Brohm was born 12 September 1808 in Oberwinkel, near Zwickau, in Saxony, to Georg Friedrich Brohm, a Lutheran pastor, and Johanna Dorothea (or Magdalena) Günther. Brohm’s mother died when he was 3, and his father died in 1825, having undertaken the boy’s elementary education himself.

Brohm attended the Gymnasium in Altenburg from 1821 to 1827, then studied theology at Leipzig University from 1827 to 1830, beginning a lifelong friendship with J.F. Bünger and passing his theological examination in 1832. While teaching in Dresden, Brohm came under the influence of Martin Stephan and emigrated with him to the United States in 1839, serving as Stephan’s secretary.

After Stephan’s removal, Brohm helped to establish the school in Altenburg, Missouri, where he taught until 1843. He then received a call (sent through J. A. A. Grabau of Buffalo) to a congregation in New York City, where he served for fifteen years.

Just before his departure for New York in 1843, Brohm married the widow Johanna (Zahn) von Wurmb (c. 1804-after 1882), who brought three children from her previous marriage to Theobald von Wurmb (he vanished in Africa c.1832). She and Brohm had one son together, Johann Theodore Gotthold Brohm (1846-1926).

In 1858 Brohm was called to Holy Cross Church in Saint Louis, where he served as pastor until his retirement in 1878. In addition to his parochial responsibilities, Brohm lectured on the Old Testament at Concordia Seminary, wrote for synodical publications and edited the Luther Volksbibliothek. After his retirement, he moved to Wisconsin to live with his son. He died in Addison, Wisconsin, on 24 September 1881.

Johann Theodore Gotthold Brohm

Johann Theodore Gotthold Brohm (1846-1926), the son of the foregoing (he went by Theodore Brohm), was born on 10 April 1846 in New York City. He attended Concordia College in St. Louis and Fort Wayne and graduated from the St. Louis seminary in 1866. After postgraduate work at Columbia University (according to other sources: New York University), he was called as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in East Boston in 1869. In 1871 Brohm was called as a professor to Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin, and then to the Missouri Synod’s teachers seminary in Addison, Illinois, where he served first as a professor and then as president from 1906 to 1913.

On his retirement in 1913, he moved to Oakland, California, where his son Theodore Jr. was president of California Concordia College. Brohm Sr. served as assistant instructor there until 1925, receiving the degree of Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1921.

Brohm married Lucy Schaller (d. 1906) in 1870. They had eleven children, of whom seven survived to adulthood. He died in Oakland on 27 April 1926.

All of Theodore Brohm’s (1846-1926) sons became pastors or teachers in the church. CHI holds some materials from two of them: Theodore Brohm Jr. (1879-1957) and Arthur C. Brohm (1882-1968).

Bibliography:

  • On Theodore Julius Brohm:
    • Obituary of Theodore Julius Brohm in Der Lutheraner (1881), pp. 188-90. (JPEG images: Part 1Part 2Part 3
    • See the typescript bibliography in f.1.
  • On Johanna von Wurmb Brohm:
    • Wuerffel, Stella. “Women in the Saxon Immigration.” CHIQ 35, pp. 81ff.

Scope and Content Note

Before processing, the papers of three generations of Brohms, with similar Christian names, were mingled together. These have been separated based on date, location, handwriting and content, but it is possible that some materials have been misattributed.

The collection is divided into four series: Theodore Julius Brohm (1808-1881); Johanna von Wurmb Brohm (c.1804-after 1882), Johann Theodore Julius Gotthold Brohm (1846-1926); and sons of Theodore Brohm.

The Theodore Julius Brohm (1808-1881) Series (f.1-10) contains ten folders.

The biographical material includes an 1831 copy of Brohm’s baptismal record, two short biographies of Brohm that were prepared for his funeral (incorporating autobiographical material), an outline of the funeral sermon itself and a bibliography. There is also a translation of the full obituary that appeared in Der Lutheraner 37 (15 Dec. 1881): 188 and a typescript bibliography on Brohm.

Present in the collection is a manuscript confession of the Perry County and the St. Louis congregations addressed to Lutherans in Germany (f.2). It is signed by the pastors F. Walther, Bünger, Lindner, Kuhn, Ahnert, and Koch, and then by C.F.W. Walther and the elders of the “German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in St. Louis.” This is apparently the confession drawn up by Brohm that was adopted by the Trinity congregation on 15 Nov. 1841. [See W.O. Forster, Zion on the Mississippi (St. Louis: CPH, 1953), 528 n56, and “Erstes Protokollbuch des Dreieinigkeits Gemeinde” (CHI transcription), p. 68 (15 Nov. 1841).]There are three folders of correspondence (f.3-5). The first folder contains materials from before Brohm’s call to New York. In addition to an 1842 letter to Brohm from G.A. Schieferdecker, this folder includes letters from G. Zahn to Loeber (27 Nov. 1828), and a copy of a letter from Stephan to C.F.W. Walther (5 July 1833). Some of the material is transcribed.

The second folder of correspondence consists principally of letters from Brohm to Loeber. There are letters addressed to Keyl and Walther (13 April 1847), one to Walther (24 July 1848), a letter to Brohm and Loeber from Zahn (Easter 1845), a letter to Brohm from a nephew in Altenburg (23 Aug 1849), and a letter from Brohm to Fürbringer (10 Nov 1855). There are copies of two letters from Walther to Brohm; the originals have been moved to the C.F.W. Walther Papers. Most of the material has been transcribed.

The third folder of correspondence holds letters addressed to Brohm in his retirement, mostly from correspondents in St. Louis and New York. All are transcribed.

Two of Brohm’s diaries have survived. The first is a transcription (the original is in the Saxon Immigration Collection, f.23), and covers the voyage from Bremen to St. Louis, 18 November 1838 to 14 February 1839. The second diary, from 30 May 1843 to 15 February 1859, covers Brohm’s New York pastorate, with a partial transcription.

The remainder of the series contains Brohm’s 1827 diploma from the Oberwinkel gymnasium and an 1827 certificate of matriculation at Leipzig (f.7), manuscript fragments that could not readily be identified (f.8), extensive notes on theology and church history from Brohm’s days as a student at Leipzig (f.9) and photographs of Brohm from his mature years (f.10).

The Johanna von Wurm Brohm Series (f.11-13) contains correspondence to Brohm from her brothers, nieces and nephews and others, photographs of Brohm at an advanced age and a Bible that belonged to Brohm with her notes in the margins (v.1). The title page and publication information are missing; it contains prefaces by G.A. Francke and A.H. Francke, and the spine bears the date 1741.

The Johann Theodore Julius Gotthold Brohm Series (f.14-23) documents his student days with student notes and exercises from his preparatory work (f.21). The polyglot New Testament (Bielefeld 1863), given to Brohm in 1864 while he was a student at the seminary contains his marginal annotations (v.2).

Brohm’s work in Boston is amply documented by a collection of materials that includes the 1870 charter of the Martin Luther Waisenhaus in West Roxbury, Massachusetts (f.16), established with the help of William Passavant, and a large number of sermons (f.18-20). Also belonging mostly to this period is the group of theological essays composed principally for pastoral conferences (f.23). Among them is an essay presented to a conference of the California and Nevada District in March 1921 titled “Zur Geschichte der englischen Arbeit unserer Synode,” which was incorporated into the collection in May 2004.

A folder of lecture notes documents Brohm’s subsequent work as a professor in Wisconsin and California (f.22). A large number of photographs follow Brohm from youth to old age (f.17). Brohm’s preserved correspondence consists mostly of postcards (f.15). Of greater interest is a small collection of copies of sermons by others, including at least two by Walther (f.20).

A photo album with the signature “Theo Brohm” was transferred to the Institute in November 2001 from the California-Nevada-Hawaii District Archives and incorporated in this series (f.26).

Dr. August R. Suelflow investigated a story that Brohm possessed a gold-headed cane that had belonged to Stephan. This cane had allegedly been lost inside the walls of the president’s residence at the Addison college (f.14).

A few items associated with two of Brohm’s children are contained in the Children of Johann Theodore Julius Gotthold Brohm Series (f.24-25). The material for Arthur C. Brohm (1882-1968) includes a cartoon and poem written in protest of the St. Louis Seminary’s decision to forbid the students from participating in a chorus organized for the world’s fair in 1904. There is also a letter and photographs of A. C. Brohm in middle and advancing years. Removed to the library was a copy of the Teutsch Kirchenampt (Erfurt 1527), signed on frontleaf “Arthur Brohm / San Francisco 1958.”

The material on Theodore Brohm Jr. (1879-1957) consists of a photograph of him as a boy and a photograph of him performing with his brother Arthur in the “1899-1900 Salmagundi.”

Folder List

Theodore Julius Brohm (1808-1881) series

  • f.1 Baptismal Record, Biographies and Funeral Sermon
  • f.2 Confession of Saxon Emigrants
  • f.3 Correspondence, 1828-1842
  • f.4 Correspondence, 1843-1849
  • f.5 Correspondence, 1879-1880
  • f.6 Diaries, 1838-1839 and 1843-1859
  • f.7 Diplomas, 1827
  • f.8 Miscellaneous
  • f.9 Notes, 1827-c. 1830
  • f.10 Photographs

Johanna von Wurmb Brohm series

  • f.11 Correspondence, 1835-1882
  • f.12 Correspondence, no date
  • f.13 Photographs
  • v.1 Bible

Johann Theodore Julius Gotthold Brohm (1846-1926) series

  • v.2 Bible, 1864
  • f.14 Brohm house and cane
  • f.15 Correspondence, 1875-1914
  • f.16 Martin Luther Waisenhaus, 1870
  • f.17 Photographs
  • f.18 Sermons, 1867-1892
  • f.19 Sermons, no date
  • f.20 Sermons by others
  • f.21 Student notes, c.1859-1859
  • f.22 Teaching notes, 1871-1925?
  • f.23 Theological essays, c.1867-1921
  • f.26 Photo album containing the following images:
    • Frau Tschirpe, Saint Louis
    • Frau P. Brauer, Saint Louis
    • Frau Schroeder, Saint Louis
    • Frau Lambrecht, New York
    • Frau Louis Lange
    • Anna Lange
    • Joachim Birkner, New York
    • Frau Joachim Birkner
    • Herr Weihe, New York
    • Frau Weihe, New York
    • Teacher Erck, Holy Cross, Saint Louis
    • H. Erck, son of Teacher Erck
    • Unidentified building on waterfront
    • Sondershausen
    • Wernigerode Castle
    • Christuskirche, Hannover
    • Zion Lutheran Church, Boston

Children of Johann Theodore Julius Gotthold Brohm Series

  • f.24 Arthur C. Brohm, 1904-1958
  • f.25 Theodore Brohm Jr., 1900
brohmac

Arthur C. Brohm (1882-1968), 1938

Theodore Brohm Jr. (1879-1957) as student at Milwaukee

Theodore Brohm Jr. (1879-1957) as student at Milwaukee

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