Researching at Concordia Historical Institute

CHI Serves the Researcher

Researching at CHI, which has been called “the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.”, is a much sought after goal of many patrons. Included in CHI’s climate-controlled collection are more than 2.6 million manuscripts, documents, letters, and papers from significant individuals and official church agencies. While Concordia Historical Institute is the Department of Archives and History for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, it also has accumulated a vast collection on the history of Lutheranism in North America.

Answers to your questions

Researching at CHI will involve the staff, who will help a patron find answers about the history of American Lutheranism, the history of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, congregational histories, and even assisting with genealogical research. CHI is here as a service agency to Lutherans, as well as an institution for collecting and preserving documents of historical value, stimulating historical research and teaching about church history. The Rev. Todd Zittlow, archivist, heads the reference department of qualified staff and volunteers.

What can I research in person?

CHI’s Archives include:

Synodical records from the Missouri Synod and other Lutheran synods, dating back to the 18th Century
Materials from various Lutheran commissions, boards, and committees
Information on Lutheran groups such as the Walther League
Personal collections of prominent American Lutherans
Biographical records on Lutheran pastors and teachers
Rare volumes including Bibles and hymnals
Microfilm collection
Church records of official acts (baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths)

CHI’s Library offers:

Historical, theological and collected works
Lutheran periodicals, past and present- bound and on microfilm
Individual church histories and regional data

Of special interest in the Reference Room*:

Indexes to assist with historical research
Reference works including rare atlases
Theological Encyclopedias
Microfilm/microfiche reader/printer
Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly
Der Lutheraner, The Lutheran Witness, and Lehre und Wehre
Complete Missouri Synod Convention Proceedings, Statistical Yearbooks and Lutheran Annuals
19th-21st century Lutheran yearbooks and annuals listing congregations and pastors

* $10.00 access/ assistance fee for Non-Members, includes 5 copies; No access fee and member rate for copies to LCMS seminary and Concordia University System students with valid ID

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