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February 28, 2014
Artifact: Archive Work Coat
Significance: Dr. Karl Kretzmann, first full-time curator of Concordia Historical Institute, wore this coat while working, as sifting through historic papers and artifacts could often be a dusty, dirty job. Kretzmann served at CHI from 1943 to 1948, and since then his coat has been signed by every director including CHI’s new executive director, Dr. Daniel Harmelink.
About Karl Kretzmann: As a student at Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis, Kretzmann was the private secretary to history professor A. L. Graebner. It was this position that lit the flame of a lifelong love of researching Lutheran history. After graduating in 1899, Kretzmann served congregations in the Atlantic District for over forty years. While living in this area he researched Lutheran congregations from colonial America, a topic on which he lectured with much success. He became an internationally known author and speaker on Lutheran history. In 1937 Hartwick Seminary in New York bestowed on him an honorary doctorate of divinity in recognition of his work in American Lutheran church history.