Papers 1923-1960s

Benson, Oscar Algot, 1891-1972


3 boxes.
Files are arranged by topic.
These papers generally cover the years 1940-1960, with the bulk originating in the years of Dr. Benson's tenure as President of the Augustana Lutheran Church (1951-1959).
Oscar Algot Benson was born April 7, 1891, in Derry, Pennsylvania. He received his grammar and high school education at Greensburg, PA. He graduated from Upsala College, East Orange, NJ, in 1912. He received his M.A. degree at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, in 1914, and his bachelor's of divinity degree from Augustana Theological Seminary in Rock Island, IL, in 1915. He was ordained into the ministry of the Augustana Lutheran Church that same year.
After his ordination he served as pastor of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Albert City, Iowa for five years. From 1920 until 1931 he served congregations at Montclair, NJ, and Ridgway, PA. He began his ministry to Salem Lutheran Church, Chicago, IL, in 1931. In 1940 he was elected president of the Illinois Conference of Augustana Synod. He held this post until 1949 when he became pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester, MA. He held this post until he was elected as the tenth president of the Augustana Lutheran Church at the 92nd annual synod of that church body, held at Galesburg, IL, June 14, 1951. He assumed office on October 15, 1951. He was re-elected for a second four-year term on June 16, 1955. During his term as president, Dr. Benson was a strong advocate of the merger talks that led to the formation of the Lutheran Church in America in 1962. After his tenure as president Dr. Benson served congregations in Omaha, NE, beginning in 1959, and in Mt. Vernon, NY, beginning in 1964.
Dr. Benson studied at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned a Ph. D. in sociology in 1933. He was honored with D.D. degrees from Upsala in 1943 and from Bethany College, Lindsborg, KS, in 1956. Dr. Benson also served as Vice President of the New York Conference in 1929. In 1950 he was elected president of the American Lutheran Conference and vice-president of the National Lutheran Council. He became President of the National Lutheran Council, representing over 4.5 million members of eight church bodies in 1952, and was re-elected for a third one-year term in 1955. He also was a member of the General Board of the National Council of Churches and on the executive committee of the Lutheran World Federation. He sat on the board of Upsala College as well.
Dr. Benson was also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for nearly 20 years. He was married to Elfie I. Hansen (d. 1977) of Albert City, IA, in 1920. They had two children, Hilvie and Philip.
Dr. Benson retired from the active ministry in 1964 and died on December 15, 1972, in Chicago. He was 81 years of age.
Finding aid available in the archives : folder level control.
Forms part of: Collection PA Personal Papers.

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