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Ottomar Fuerbringer (1810-1892) Collection, 1810-1992.

  • Collection Number: M-0023
  • Collection Size: 1.7 linear feet

Biographical Sketch

Ottomar Fuerbringer was born on 30 June 1810 in Gera, Thuringia, Germany, as the son of Wilhelm Fuerbringer and his wife Christine Ernestine Graef. He studied theology in Leipzig from 1828 to 1830, during which time he was strongly influenced by his friends and fellow students Theodor Brohm, J. F. Buenger, Otto Hermann Walther, C. F. W. Walther, and Franz Delitsch. These students had formed a religious club that opposed rationalism and met regularly to read the scriptures. From 1831 to 1838 Fuerbringer tutored under Pastor G. H. Loeber in an institute for boys in Eichenberg. In 1839 he came to America with the Saxon emigrants on the ship Republik as a candidate of theology.

Fuerbringer was one of the founding fathers of Concordia Seminary in Perry County, Missouri, where he was the first instructor of history and classical languages. In 1840 he was called to become the pastor of the congregation in Elkhorn Prairie (now known as Venedy), Illinois.

On 18 October 1842 he married the widow of his dear friend Otto Hermann Walther, Agnes Ernestine (nee Buenger), and was a father to her small son Johannes and her adopted daughter. This union produced five children: Ludwig, Gustav, Renate (Moll), Maria (Hubinger) and Karolina (Sievers).

Fuerbringer assisted in drafting the constitution of the Missouri Synod in 1847. On 24 May 1853 he became a citizen of the United States.

On 6 April 1851 a call from Freistadt and Kirchhayn, Wisconsin, was extended to him, which he accepted. Fuerbringer served these congregations for seven years. During this time in Wisconsin he was very active in the controversy involving Pastor J. A. A. Grabau and the Buffalo Synod. From 1854 to 1872 and from 1874 to 1882 he served as president of the Northern District. On 5 September 1858 he was installed in the St. Lorenz Church in Frankenmuth, Michigan, where he remained until his death on 12 July 1892.

Scope and Content Note

The Ottomar Fuerbringer Collection consists mainly of correspondence and sermons. The folders are arranged in alphabetical order by topic and/or type of document.

There are titled class notes that could stem from Fuerbringer’s own student times (f.6-10). However, it is more likely that they are notes in preparation for the lectures he gave as a professor at the Concordia Seminary.

There are two documents written in such minute handwriting that it is difficult to decipher them even on photocopies enlarged 200% (f.28). It is not known if the handwriting is Fuerbringer’s.

Five handwritten notebooks are part of this collection, believed to have come from Fuerbringer’s student times. These bound volumes are located in a separate box and there is an index describing the several titles that appear in each volume (f.34). The title of each volume found in the Folder List is only the first visible entry in a volume.

There are many original Latin texts that may be a mixture of correspondence, lectures and sermons (f.39). Since they are not translated, it has not been determined into which category they fit.

The correspondence contains the letters written and received by Ottomar Fuerbringer. Many letters are available only in photocopy and typed transcription formats. The originals of these letters may be part other collections (e.g. of the writers and/or recipients) at Concordia Historical Institute, or they may no longer exist at all.

The sermons are arranged in two different ways. On approximately one half of all sermons a biblical text is clearly identified. Those sermons are filed according to their text. Some of these sermons begin with the word “Gebet” (prayer). The inside of the front page, however, reveals the biblical text on which the prayer and the sermons are based.

The other sermons appear in booklet format and have more than one sermon per booklet. These sermon booklets are usually based on different books of the bible and, therefore, could not be filed according to biblical text. Instead, the sermon booklets are arranged in chronological order, since they all have the year in which they were written on the front page.

A very fragile book called Die Predigten über das verdorbene Christenthum by Philipp Jacob Spener, published in 1687, was placed in a protective box (f.59). A stamp depicting “OF” (Ottomar Fuerbringer) identified the ownership of this book.

Donor Information

The majority of the collection was donated by Ottomar’s son Ludwig Fuerbringer and by his grandson Alfred.

Folder List

  • f.1: Announcements for Worship Services
  • f.2: Biographical Material
  • f.3: Book: Hills Homeopathic Healing Art
  • f.4: Buffalo Synod Matters
  • f.5: Call Document (21 Feb 1958)
  • f.6: Class Notes – Exegetical
  • f.7: Class Notes I
  • f.8: Class Notes II
  • f.9: Class Notes III
  • f.10: Class Notes IV
  • f.11: Congregation Meeting, Freistadt, Wisconsin (1860)
  • f.12: Congregational Constitutions (various)
  • f.13-22: Correspondence (1830-1890)
  • f.23: Correspondence: Undated
  • f.24: Essay: Geschichtlich, theologischer Vortrag
  • f.25: Essay: Griffe aus Luther’s Geist
  • f.26: Essay: Lehre vom heiligen Predigtamt
  • f.27: Essay: Various
  • f.28: Extremely small handwriting
  • f.29: Fragments
  • f.30: Invitation for Baptismal Sponsorship
  • f.31: Latin Texts
  • f.32: Legal Papers
  • f.33: Miscellaneous
  • f.34: Notebook Index
    • v. 1: Biblische Anthropologie und Exegese der Bergpredigt, 1829
    • v. 2: System der christlichen Sittenlehre
    • v. 3: Die christliche Glaubenslehre, 1829-1830
    • v. 4: Geschichte der christlichen Kirche und Religion
    • v. 5: Evangelium Matthaei, 1829
    • v. 6: I & II Einleitung ins Alte und Neue Testament etc.
  • f.35: Notebook (small)
  • f.36: Photos
  • f.37: Prayers
  • f.38: School/University Documents
  • f.39-60: Sermons
  • f.61-108: Sermon Booklets (1833-1883)
  • f.109: Synodical Report, 1871
  • f.110: Theses
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