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Company History

Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, the Publishing House of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was formed at the time of the 1988 merger of the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. That 1988 merger was a culmination of more than two hundred years' history of Lutheran immigration to North America. The name "Augsburg Fortress" carries on the tradition of two previous publishing houses: Fortress Press of Philadelphia and Augsburg Publishing House of Minneapolis. Like all families, however, the publishing house has a long history or genealogy. Milestones that mark the history of Lutheran publication for Augsburg Fortress and its predecessors include:

  
Click any photo to enlarge.

Emmanuel Lutheran Church,
New Philadelphia, Ohio,
circa 1842.
Image of Emmanuel Lutheran Church circa 1842.
In the basement of this church, the first issues of The Lutheran Standard were printed.

Pastor Emmanuel Greenwald D.D.,
Editor 1842-44; 1851-54
Image of Emmanuel Greenwald, circa 1842.

Minneapolis, circa 1891.
Image of building in Minneapolis circa 1891.

Rock Island, circa 1904.
Image of building in Rock Island circa 1904.

Minneapolis, circa 1908.
Image of building in Minneapolis circa 1908.

Philadelphia, 13th & Spruce, circa 1920.
Image of building in Philadelphia, 13th & Spruce, circa 1920.

Columbus, circa 1943.
Image of building in Columbus circa 1943.

Muhlenberg Traveler bus, circa 1953.
Image of Muhlenberg Traveler bus circa 1953.

Philadelphia, Queens Lane, circa 1962.
Image of building in Philadelphia, Queens Lane, circa 1962.

Minneapolis building tear down, October 1998.
Image of Minneapolis building tear down, October 1998.

1811: Das Evangelische Magazin published by the Ministerium of Pennsylvania for 15 years.

1831: The Lutheran Observer, an English language monthly, is published in Baltimore in August 1831. According to one historian, it "...was the first successful and lasting magazine for American Lutherans." (The Lutheran, August 1981) The Observer became a part of The Lutheran at the time of the 1917 merger forming the United Lutheran Church.

1841: Elling Eielsen, itinerant lay pastor among Norwegian settlers, walks from Illinois to New York to have the Eielsen Catechism printed in English.

1842: The Ohio Synod begins publication of The Lutheran Standard. The monthly magazine continues until the merger of 1988.

1855: The Lutheran Publication Society is formed. Subsequent connections link it to the General Synod.

1855: T. N. Hasselquist sets up a print shop in his Galesburg, Illinois home. The shop moves to Chicago in 1858. This shop is the ancestor to the Augustana Book Concern, the Swedish component in Lutheran publishing.

1881: Lutheran Book Concern (Ohio Synod) and the Wartburg Press (Iowa Synod) are established. Both merge into the American Lutheran Church in 1930. Lutheran Book Concern was located in Columbus, Ohio, and Wartburg Press in Chicago and later in Waverly, Iowa.

1891: Augsburg Publishing House founded in Minneapolis. Located first at Augsburg Seminary and then in the "seven corners" area of Minneapolis, the House moved to downtown Minneapolis in 1908.

1893: Danish Lutheran Publishing House, with some roots reaching back to the 1870s, is formed in Blair, Nebraska.

1919: Board of Publication of the United Lutheran Church forms following the merger of The General Synod, the General Council and the United Synod of the South. Muhlenburg Press becomes the trade name for books published by the United Lutheran Church in America.

1930: Synods of Ohio and Iowa (as well as Texas) combine to form the "old" American Lutheran Church. The church publishes under the Wartburg Press imprint in Columbus, Ohio.

1960: Merger creates the "new" American Lutheran Church (ALC). Augsburg Publishing House is named as the church publisher and draws in the publishing program from Columbus and Blair, as well as that of Messenger Press.

1962: Board of Publication of the Lutheran Church in America created by merger. Fortress Press becomes the trade name for books published by the Lutheran Church in America Board of Publication.

1988: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the "new Lutheran Church," forms by a merger of the Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. The name, "Augsburg Fortress, Publishers" is chosen to reflect the historical background of the church's publishing story.

1997: Relocated Minneapolis corporate offices to new downtown Minneapolis location at 100 South Fifth Street.

2009: Established sparkhouse design studio to create innovative, dynamic resources to meet the needs of congregations from a variety of denominational traditions.

With such a long history, it is difficult to identify a single year as the "start" of the publishing house. Even through the many histories, however, the focus remained the publishing of theologically sound and excellent resource materials.


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