- Collection Number: M-0006
- Collection Size: 0.8 linear feet
William Albert Kramer was born on 4 October 1900 on a farm near Frohna in Perry County, Missouri, to Theodor and Mathilde (Burfeind) Kramer. He attended Concordia Lutheran School through grade 6 and continued at the Frohna public school for grades 7 and 8. Kramer received his high school and college education at Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois, graduating from the two-year college program in 1922. Later, when River Forest opened a summer school and expanded into a four-year college, he completed work for a bachelor’s degree in 1941. Kramer also earned a master of arts degree in education from St. Louis University in 1943. In 1955 Concordia College, River Forest, bestowed an honorary doctorate in literature on him.
On 15 July 1923, Kramer married Renata Gertrude Welp, the daughter of Henry J. Welp, who taught in Frohna for more than fifty years. The Kramers had three children: The Rev. Dr. Howard W. Kramer, a former professor at Concordia Lutheran College, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and president emeritus of Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada; Dorothy Schroeder of St. Louis; and Arlene Robertson, former teacher at First Lutheran Church, Little Rock, Arkansas. He also had eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren at the time of his death.
From 1922 to 1928 Kramer taught at Grace Lutheran Church, Uniontown, Missouri. He served as a teacher and principal from 1928 at 1940 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Strasburg, Illinois. From 1940 to 1970 he served The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, first as editor of school materials, then as assistant secretary of schools and from 1961 through 1970 as secretary of elementary and secondary schools in the Board of Parish Education. As editor of school materials he wrote or edited dozens of books.
After his retirement at the end of 1970, Kramer continued to serve the Synod’s school department on a part-time basis. At various times during his professional service he assisted the church in other capacities: as a member of the Central Illinois District Board; the editorial board for This Day magazine; and the board of the Lutheran Association for Higher Education (St. Louis, Missouri). In 1972 he was appointed to the Board of Governors of Concordia Historical Institute. He also served his local congregation, Holy Cross (St. Louis), in various offices.
Kramer died on 2 January 1998 in Richmond Heights, Missouri.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The William A. Kramer Papers contain mainly books, correspondence, photographs and negatives, published material and a large amount of printed material and writings. The materials are arranged in alphabetical order by type of document.
The books were carefully screened for personal notes and marginalia and then separated into various categories for filing purposes. The majority of the books will be placed in the reference library of Concordia Historical Institute. A small selection of the books containing personal notes are filed in separate folders in the collection (f.14-19).
The correspondence is arranged in chronological order and contains all letters to and from W. A. Kramer. The majority of the personal mail are letters of appreciation.
All of the published materials were checked to see if they are available in CHI’s library. If so, the articles were discarded. All publications that were not part of the CHI library holdings have been filed as part of this collection in chronological order.
The writings comprise the largest category of the collection and include mainly articles and presentations. They appear in chronological order. These writings list two dates, the first when it was composed (usually on the last page) and the second when it was presented. The latter date was used for filing purposes.
There is a complete bibliography of all of his writings that Dr. Kramer himself prepared. This should give the researcher an overview of the extent of his writings (f.2).
All bulletins, minutes, etc., not personally annotated by Dr. Kramer pertaining to the Board of Parish Education were filed with LCMS Board of Parish Education Records.
Two original handwritten messages were found, dedicated to Renata Welp, Kramer’s wife. They are also part of this collection (f.7).
There is a set of index cards arranged in alphabetical order by topic. The cards cite periodicals and articles relating to education (f.3).
William A. Kramer donated the collection to Concordia Historical Institute on 24 February 1997.
f.1 Audio Cassette – Service of Praise honoring Dr. Wm. Kramer, 9/17/1972
f.3 Card File of Education Articles and Periodicals
f.4 Centennial Thankoffering Material, 1947
f.5 Correspondence, 1940-1955
f.6 Correspondence, 1956-1981
f.7 Renata Kramer (nee Welp), 1913
f.8 Lutheran. Education Week Material, 1946
f.9a Photographs & Negatives
f.10 Printed Material
f.11-18 Writings, 1930-1983
f.19 Writings, “Agency of Christian Education”
f.20-21 Writings, Published 1932-1971
f.22 Dietrich’s Katechismus
f.23 Devotions for Lutheran Schools (2 Volumes: 1934, 1964)
f.24 God’s People
f.25 Living for Christ, My Prayer Book
f.26 Memory Book for Lutheran Schools
f.27 Writers’ Workshop for Curriculum Units in Religion