On-site research by appointment not necessary but recommended

Concordia Historical Institute. Oral History Collection, 1976-1995.

  • Collection Number: M-0014
  • Collection Size: 2.4 linear feet (audio cassettes, video tape, transcripts)


Both the transcripts and the cassettes for the J. A. O. Preus interviews conducted in 1981 and 1982 are closed to research until 2006 and 2007, respectively. The 1995 interviews with Carl Muhlenbruch and Alvin Mueller are closed to research until June 2000.


Oral history commenced at Concordia Historical Institute as an effort to preserve the individual memories of various members of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. CHI Director August R. Suelflow conducted some of the interviews, while graduate students, interested faculty and friends of the Institute conducted others.

There was no consist record keeping for the project. Therefore, why the individuals represented in this collection were chosen over other individuals is not clear. No permission forms were used to set forth guidelines to those people being interviewed. There is also no indication that the interviewees read and approved the transcriptions taken from the taped conversations. Unless otherwise specified in writing, the interviews are open for research with no restrictions.


The interviews were conducted over a 19-year period on audio cassettes. The people and the topics range from reminiscences of life at Concordia Seminary (St. Louis) in the nineteenth century to discussions of synodical affairs with Dr. J. A. O. Preus after his retirement as synodical president. There are transcripts for seven of the seventeen interviews.

Dr. Suelflow conducted an interview with former LCMS president Dr. John W. Behnken in November 1965 which was recorded on one reel-to-reel audio tape. This has been copied onto two audio cassettes to facilitate research use. In the interview Dr. Behnken speaks briefly on a variety of topics: his student days at St. John’s (Winfield, Kansas) and at Concordia Seminary, faculty teaching practices, being a chaplain at Camp Logan during World War I, relations with European churches following the Second World War, mission activity, fellowship questions, and about theological questions that arose during his tenure as synodical president and which faced the LCMS at the time of the interview.

The two cassettes on the Chicago Study Club are not interviews. Rev. Paul Burgdorf and Rev. Harold Romoser simply recorded their replies to a set of questions supplied to them.

The interviews with Drs. Alvin Mueller and Carl Muhlenbruch were conducted at the same time. There is also a video recording of this session.


Box 1

a.c.1 Dr. Ralph Bohlmann (excerpts) – 25 Oct. 1976
a.c.2 Chicago Study Club, Paul Burgdorf – *******
a.c.3 Chicago Study Club, Harold Romoser – c.Nov. 1984
a.c.4-9 Frieda Erdmann (in German) – c. Oct. 1987
a.c.10-14 Paul Koenig
a.c.15-16 Alvin W. Mueller and Carl Muhlenbruch – 9 June 1995

Box 2

a.c.17 John F. Nau – 17 Aug. 1982
a.c.18-21 J. A. O. Preus (interviewed by A. R. Suelflow)
a.c.22 Martin Schmidt – 12 Nov. 1976
a.c.23 Martin H. Scharlemann – 5 Nov. 1976 (side 2)
a.c.24 Southern Illinois District Representatives – 2 May 1987
a.c.25 Clarence Spiegel – n.d.
a.c.26 E. C. Weber – c.May 1987
a.c.23 Rev. Gloria Weber – 28 Oct. 1976 (side 1)

Box 3

f.1 Transcript – Chicago Study Club, Rev. Paul Burgdorf
f.2 Transcript – Chicago Study Club, Rev. Harold Romoser
f.3 Transcript – Dr. John F. Nau
f.4 Transcript – Dr. J. A. O. Preus, 18 June 1981
f.5 Transcript – Dr. J. A. O. Preus, 19 Feb. 1982
f.6 Transcript – Dr. Martin H. Scharlemann
f.7 Background – Southern Illinois District Representatives
f.8 Transcript – Rev. Gloria Weber
v.c.1 Alvin W. Mueller and Carl Muhlenbruch – 9 June 1995

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