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Walter O. Forster (1913–1997), Manuscripts and Papers (1936–1953)

  • Collection Number: M-0059
  • 10 boxes, 2 linear feet

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Walter Otto Forster was born on September 14, 1913 in Chesterfield, Missouri. He graduated from Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, with a B.D. degree in 1935. Forster earned both his degrees in history from Washington University in Saint Louis—a master’s degree in 1936 and a Ph.D. degree in 1942. In 1946 he joined the faculty of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he taught American history, European history, American government and international relations. He became a full professor in history in 1956 and continued to teach history and international relations. From 1961 to 1964 Forster was the head of the Department of History, Government and Philosophy at Purdue University.

In 1936 Forster started working on his Ph.D. dissertation, originally suggested by Dr. Walter A. Maier, which he defended in 1942 and published in 1953 as a book. Forster’s monumental work, Zion on the Mississippi (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House), which traces the origin and the initial development of the Lutheran Church in Missouri, “became the definitive history of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri and other states and was used as a textbook at Lutheran seminaries and colleges” (The Indiana Religious History Association Newsletter, Jan. 1998, v. 16, no. 1).

Forster died on December 29, 1997, at the age of 84.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The bulk of this collection contains W. O. Forster’s manuscript of his book Zion on the Mississippi, which grew out of his doctoral dissertation, “Settlement of the Saxon Lutherans in Missouri, 1839–1847: A Study in the Origins of the Missouri Synod,” submitted and defended at Washington University in Saint Louis in the early 1940s. The collection contains both typed and handwritten material with extensive notes and corrections, covering the history of Lutheranism in Germany and the U.S. for the period from 1800 to 1857. It also contains notes on source materials for Forster’s book and notes on areas of further research after the publication of the book, among other notes. This collection includes an outline of Forster’s dissertation and its bibliography, as well as rules for thesis writing.

The collection also contains several documents written by other authors, such as facsimiles of court documents pertaining to Martin Stephan’s court cases, a map of the Saxon colonies in Perry County, Missouri, and other miscellaneous notes, newspaper clippings and more.

The collection includes seven card file boxes, which contain citations and notes from various sources (books, journals, periodicals, newspapers) on which Forster based his research and which he used to write his book; material used in the book’s appendices, notes on various topics related to Saint Louis, religious denominations and pieces of music, among others.

NOTES

The original order of the materials in this collection has been preserved for the most part; in two instances the original bulky folders were divided into two normal size folders.

Forster refers the reader to ten chapters of his draft manuscript, which do not correspond to the chapters of the final product, the book. For this reason we recommend consulting the manuscript together with the book.

FOLDER LIST

Forster, Walter O.

Box 1 (1 cubic foot; mostly typed pages)

Folder List:

f.1 Page proofs with corrections and notes by the author: Chapters I – V

f.2 Page proofs with corrections and notes by the author: Chapters VI – X

f.3 Page proofs with corrections and notes by the author: Chapters XI – XVI

f.4 Page proofs with corrections and notes by the author: Chapters XVII – XIX; Appendix A, Lists and Tables; Appendix B, The Codes; Bibliography; and Topical Index (two copies of the Index with different notes)

f.5 Chapter I – XIX and Bibliography – extensive corrections throughout the book before submitting it to the publisher

f.6 Chapters I – VI – extensive corrections and retyping apparently of Forster’s first draft, prepared for publication (part 1 of the original folder)

f.7 Chapters VII– IX – extensive corrections and retyping apparently of Forster’s first draft, prepared for publication (part 2 of the original folder)

f.8 Chapter II, The Rise of Stephanism in Saxony, 1810–1837 – typed draft with extensive corrections

f.9 Chapter III – a typed draft with extensive corrections (completed)

f.10 Chapter IV – a typed draft with extensive corrections

f.11 Chapter V – a typed draft with extensive corrections

f.12 Chapter VI – a typed draft with extensive corrections

f.13 Chapter VII – a typed draft with extensive corrections

f.14 Chapter VIII – a typed draft with corrections

f.15 Chapter IX – a typed draft with corrections

f.16 Lists of corrections for Chapters III – IX

f.17 Introduction to Appendix A, Lists and Tables – a draft with extensive corrections and two retyped versions

f.18 Introduction to Appendix B, The Codes – corrections and a retyped copy

f.19 Appendix A, Lists and Tables – drafts with multiple corrections and notes

f.20 Appendix B, The Codes – three drafts with multiple corrections

f.21 Bibliography – a draft

f.22 Bibliography – notes for after publication

f.23 Notes on source materials: Chapter I – VI; Notes on sources about religious conditions in Saxony (1800–1840); empty hand drawn calendar for Nov – Dec, 1838; January, 1839

f.24 Notes for re-insertion or modification of the publication: in Chapters I, II, III

f.25 Notes on areas of further research after publication

f.26 Seminar Reports: Outline and Bibliography of Forster’s dissertation, Washington University in Saint Louis (WUSTL), Semesters I – II, 1936-1937

f.27 The first draft of Forster’s Summary of his dissertation, Washington University in Saint Louis (WUSTL), June 1942

f.28 Newspaper clippings; Letter by a Pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church, dated Oct. 26, 1943, to a woman who joined the Evangelical Reformed Church

f.29 Indexes of names; Information related to ships; List of publications 1839–1848; Revision of the Table of Contents

f.30 Loose Notes: Topics to be investigated at a later date; Notes on the Table of Contents; Notes on Chapter Two; Notes on the arrangement of some of the footnotes from p.18 to p.65 [the source of these pages has not been identified].

f.31 Forster’s notes on areas of further research or revision before publication, including notes referring to periodicals and newspapers

f.32 Rules for the writing of the thesis; General rules; Rules on the format; Format for the dissertation; Variant expressions (changes) in Footnote References; Notes on footnotes from Journal of Modern History and American Historical Review

f.33 Forster’s notes on Löber’s diaries; “Points to insert from Stephan to Flügel letter” (Forster’s handwritten notes)

f.34 Forster’s editorial handwritten notes on Zion on the Mississippi

f.35 Illinois State Historical Library: Reference report on Hamburg, IL and Kaskaskia, July 1950; A letter from Pastor Martin Stephan to Consul J. G. Flügel, Oct.1841 (two copies); A letter from Kretzmann to Forster; An account in German; Notes from Stephan to Flügel, Oct. 1841

f.36 Account of the migration of the Saxon Lutherans to Missouri in 1839; Editorial notes; Names from a survey (not indexed)

f.37: List of families from the Kingdom of Saxony; loose notes

Box 2 of 9 boxes (mostly handwritten pages)

f.38 Forster’s handwritten notes on: the Preface; from Chapter I to IX; Lists and Tables; Bibliography; Table of Contents of Zion on the Mississippi

f.39 Forster’s edits on Chapter I, “The European Background”

f.40 Detailed plans for Chapter I through VIII (three typed copies with notes)

f.41 Notes referring to the beginning of Der Lutheraner, the Mexican War (in Chap.VI), events in Saint Louis, Perry County, Altenburg; quotes from unbound MSS; a note referring to the events of May 1839 and other quotes and notes

f.42 Notes on: C. F. W. Walther’s activities and letters; O. H. Walther’s letters; the period of controversy; building a college and a list of boys students; C.H.I.Q. (Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly) (1952–53); Ebenezer; A letter in German referring to a protest against an article written by Sproede.

f.43 Handwritten drafts with footnotes and citations referring to pages 33 – 39B [the source of these pages has not been identified]

f.44 Handwritten notes on Chapter VII referring to a branch congregation and school, congregational life, the political and civic significance of Saxons, Der Lutheraner, and more

f.45 Handwritten notes on Chapter VIII, Introduction; Notes on Chapter VII referring to Perry County, Concordia Seminary, the building of the church, the school, and more.

f.46 Handwritten footnotes # 1-668 – in Chapters VII through X

f.47 Handwritten footnotes in Chapters VI and VII

f.48 Table of Contents of Zion on the Mississippi – two versions

f.49 A handwritten and a typed preface to Forster’s Zion on the Mississippi; A typed preface to Forster’s dissertation

f.50 A typed title page from Forster’s book and a title page from his dissertation

f.51 Notes on cities/areas in Saxony and Duchin in Germany

f.52 Notes on plates: from Frontispiece to Chapter XIX; Notes on illustrations; Notes on a trip; Notes on groups – I through VII; Notes on Chapters I – XIX

f.53 A note on the death of O. H. Walther dated 1841; catalog cards for unbound MSS (manuscripts), dated 1839-1841; a note on the Evangelical Union Church leaving Germany, dated 1857; a list of school events; bibliographical citations and notes, some of which are related to C. F. W. Walther and O. H. Walther, covering the period from 1838 to 1845

f.54 Notes on citations from The Lutheran Annual, vols. II-III; Notes on letters (unbounded MSS) from the Saxon collection; Handwritten draft of Chapter VIII

f.55 Notes on the synodical organization referring to 1839, 1846, 1847 and synodical meetings in 1846 and 1847; Notes on Chapters VIII and IX; Notes referring to The Lutheran Annual, vol. III and the new Synod in 1847; Random notes and clippings

f.56 Crossed-out loose notes

Box 3 (legal size)

f.57 Galley proof with extensive handwritten notes by W. O. Forster: from Forward to Chapter VIII

f.58 Galley proof with extensive handwritten notes by W. O. Forster: from Chapter IX to Bibliography

f.59 Facsimiles of court documents pertaining to Martin Stephan’s court cases in 1841 and 1842

f.60 A typed document related to the law suits against Martin Stephan (two copies)

f.61 A facsimile letter in German, dated Nov. 1838

f.62 Map of the Saxon colonies in Perry County, Missouri, 1838

Cardfile Boxes

Box 4

Alphabetical cards (A-Z) with the names of the Germans who immigrated to America, containing the German city they came from, their occupation; some of the cards contain additional information;

New York Additions; Gruber’s Group; Amalia List; Additions in Saint Louis;

Places of Residence; A list of occupations.

Box 5

Cards containing references to pieces of music; MSS – cards with comments on various subjects

Box 6

Alphabetical cards (A-Z) by authors’ names, containing books, journals, etc.; some of the cards refer to the chapter of the book where the citation was used; Unchecked references with unknown location

Box 7

Alphabetical cards (A-Z) by subject, covering a wide range of topics such as religious denominations (from Baptists to Unitarians), schools, steamboats, transportation, weather, and many more.

Box 8

Alphabetical cards (A-Z) by subject, covering a broad range of topics such as Saint Louis buildings, Saint Louis maps, immigration, colonization, Mexican War, and many more.

Box 9

Bound MSS, C.H.I.; Unbound MSS, C.H.I. – Ungrouped; Unbound MSS, C.H.I. – Grouped; MSS, not C.H.I.; MSS – for further check

Box 10

  • Newspapers: cards with events, descriptions, notes, and quotes from newspapers published in the 1840s, such as Denver Tribune, Daily Missouri Republican, Saint Louis New Era, and more
  • Newspapers: quotes from newspapers related to the Saxons
  • Books: reference notes from books, some of which have been cited in various chapters in Zion on the Mississippi
  • Periodicals: quotations and notes from articles from journals such as Der Lutheraner, Missouri Historical Review, Saint Louis Magazine, and others, some of which have been cited in Forster’s book.

DONOR INFORMATION

This collection was donated by Forster’s daughter, Mrs. Vivian Baumann, in Nov. 1998.

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