Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pieces of Our Past: Erasmus of Rotterdam Medal (1531)


Artifact: Erasmus of Rotterdam Medal

Size: 34.15 x 33.35 mm
Weight: 13.7 g

Date: 1531

Significance: This silver medal was minted in Germany in 1531 in honor of the Dutch Renaissance humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536). The obverse side (left) has a bust of Erasmus while the reverse side (below) has a man’s head on a cubical boundary stone atop grassy ground, which was Erasmus’s memento mori device.* The Latin inscriptions on the medal and their meanings are: IMAGO AD VIVA EFFIGIE EXPRESSA meaning “His image modeled to the living features” CONCEDO NVLLI TERMINUS meaning “I, Terminus [Death], yield to none” and MORS VLTIMA LINEA RERVM meaning “Death is the final goal of all.”

This medal, along with some 700 other coins and medals from CHI’s Reformation Era and Anniversary Collection, has now been photographed. CHI hopes to have a catalog of this extensive collection published for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation (2017).

Click here to view larger images of the medal. 
Photo(s) by Daniel Harmelink
*A memento mori is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pieces of Our Past - English Lutheran Conference of Missouri (1872)


Artifact: Sketch of the English Conference of 1872

Size: 10.5 x 8.5 inches

Date: possibly 1947

Significance: The sketch is an artist's (Wm. M. Lawson of Chicago) conception of the free conference that was held August 16-20, 1872, in Gravelton, Missouri. At this conference, the English Lutheran Conference of Missouri was organized. This organization was the precursor to the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri and Other States (1891), which joined the Missouri Synod in 1911 as the English District. This sketch appeared (possibly for the first time in print) in The Lutheran Witness: English District Edition on August 12, 1947, in an article celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the free conference. Dr. C. F. W. Walther (right) is shown preaching from a wagon, Rev. Jonathan Moser (middle) stands translating Walther's words into English, and Rev. Polycarp C. Henkel (left), the pastor at Zion Lutheran in Gravelton where the conference was held, is also pictured.

For a larger image of the sketch and more information about the beginnings of the English conference, click here.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pieces of Our Past: Wilhelm Sihler & the Founding of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana


Artifact: Photograph of Wilhelm Sihler

Size: 6.5 x 8.5 inches (including surrounding mat)

Date: Unknown

Significance: August 2 marks the anniversary of the founding of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1846. Wilhelm Sihler (1801–1885) was instrumental in founding the “practical seminary” and served as its first president from 1846 to 1861, when it moved to St. Louis during the Civil War.

About the Photograph: While the photograph is undated, Sihler’s beard and hair color seem to indicate the photograph was taken later in his life. Sihler appears in his clergy robe with beffchen (the white linen at the collar), which was the common dress of a Lutheran pastor in the late 1800s. The photographer was B. H. Benham of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Norwalk, Ohio.

Click here for additional information and a letter Sihler wrote at the time the seminary was opened.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pieces of Our Past: Cleveland, Ohio, 1845


Artifact: Sketch of Cleveland, Ohio

Size: 10.5 x 8.25 inches 

Date: 1845

Significance: With the LCMS’s 65th convention beginning this weekend, a look at past conventions, or rather the first meetings that led up to the formation of the Synod, seems appropriate. While this sketch of Cleveland may not at first glance seem connected to the LCMS, it was sketched by Friedrich Lochner when he was in Cleveland at the first of three preliminary meetings that brought about the establishment of the Missouri Synod. This artwork is an interesting view of the harbor city. Rolling hills and open land are seen in the foreground, with the many buildings that made up the city proper sitting along the shore of Lake Erie, which is seen in the background.

For a larger image of the sketch and additional information about the preliminary meetings that led to the formation of the Synod, click here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pieces of Our Past: Civil War Diary


Artifact: Missouri Synod Pastor’s Civil War Diary

Size: 6.5 x 8 x .25 inches

Date: 1863 (open to July in photograph)

Significance: As much of the country is observing the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg this week, we decided to take a look at one of the Civil War era items in the CHI collection. This is one of the diaries we have from Pastor Franz Julius Biltz who was a pastor in Concordia, Missouri, during the Civil War. Concordia’s location in western Missouri placed Biltz and his congregation squarely amid armed conflict between secessionists and Union troops that took several lives from the congregation. Biltz’s diaries shed light on the events happening during this time, both local and national. In the photograph, the diary is open to a page in July 1863 where he notes in the second column: “1-3 – Battle near Gettysburg Pa–.”

Click here for additional information and images from the diary.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pieces of Our Past: Double-button carbon KFUO Radio microphone

Artifact: Double-button carbon KFUO Radio microphone

Size: 6.5 x 8 x 5.5 inches

Date: 1920s

Significance: The microphone pictured is an early microphone used at KFUO Radio, possibly the first used. It is a microphone for the Western Electric 1-B transmitter and was apparently used at KFUO from its founding in 1924 until 1935. Walter A. Maier, one of the founders of KFUO and first speaker of The Lutheran Hour, used either this microphone or an identical model as seen in old photographs. For an example and additional information, click here.

Stop by the LCMS International Center to see additional artifacts on display outside the new KFUO Radio studio. While you are there, you may also want to visit the Concordia Historical Institute Museum, which includes an exhibit on KFUO and a re-creation of an old studio when Dr. Walter A. Maier was speaker of The Lutheran Hour.

The new KFUO studios will be dedicated on Monday, June 24, at 10:00 a.m. at the LCMS International Center. The service will be streamed live.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pieces of Our Past: African Wood Carving

Artifact: African Wood Carving

Size:  15 x 32.5 x 1 inches

Date: ca. early to mid-1990s

Significance:  This wood carving, along with two others of differing sizes (see website for additional photographs), was gifted to LCMS World Mission by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ghana.  Not much else is known about these three beautiful carvings other than that they presumably depict life in west Africa.