- Collection Number: M-0103
- Collection Size: 0.8 linear feet
Herman Bielenberg was born on 13 December 1899 in Staten Island, New York, to Albertus and Carolina (Lehnert) Bielenberg. Albertus was a fabric colorer who encouraged his son to join the clergy. Herman graduated from Concordia College (Bronxville, New York) in 1920 and from Concordia Seminary (St. Louis, Missouri) in 1923. Albertus died when Herman was 17, having never seen his son preach.
In 1923 Herman married Emma Pardieck of St. Louis. Three children were born to this union: Albert, Ruth (Huber) and Helen (Puterbaugh). Before his death in 1989, the couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
Rev. Bielenberg served parishes in Abita Springs, Louisiana, and in Cabot, Pennsylvania. His last parish was at Christ Lutheran Church, Oil City, Pennsylvania, where he served for 32 years before retiring.
In 1938 Rev. Bielenberg wrote the original script and supervised the production of The Call of the Cross. This was the first sound motion picture produced by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. In 1947 he was named chairman of the Synod’s Board for Visual Education. Bielenberg also edited the Eastern District Edition of the Lutheran Witness for 17 years.
Bielenberg was an avid photographer and won numerous awards for his work. On his retirement he and his wife travelled extensively delivering photographic lectures to congregations, camera clubs and civic organizations. The most well known lecture was “Footprints of the Creator,” which traced evidence of God in nature using Bielenberg’s own color slides. He was active in many photographic societies such as the Photographic Society of America.
Bielenberg died on 16 January 1989 at the age of 89 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The scrapbook contains many photographs taken by Rev. Bielenberg during the filming of The Call of the Cross in 1938. There are also captions, brochures, pamphlets and picture postcards used to document the making of the film. In addition, there is one page of family photos and three loose photos of Rev. Beilenberg from different stages of his life.
The scrapbook was donated to CHI by Rev. Herman A. Bielenberg in April 1980.