Luther Seminary: Library

Collection Size: 
2481 Como Ave, St. Paul MN, USA 55108
African, Asian, European languages
Lutheran, Reformed
Email/Contact Person: 
Reference Librarian

The Carl Doving Hymn Collection is a collection of hymnbooks in many different languages and dialects; there are 43 languages and dialects from Europe, 93 from Asia, 120 from Africa, 24 from America, 2 from Australia, 1 from New Zealand, 42 from Oceania, and many more. Once housed at Luther College, the collection was placed on permanent loan to Luther Seminary in the 1950s. In 1997, Luther College transferred ownership of the collection to the seminary. It is now housed as one of the seminary’s special collections in its climate-controlled Rare Book Room. Approximately 1,500 volumes ranging in date from the mid-1650s to the early 1900s. The collection is strong in hymnody as it developed in overseas missions, particularly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Lutheranism is especially strong, as witnessed through the publications of their world mission societies, but other denominational world mission activities are also well represented. Scandinavian hymnals and psalters from the immigration period of the nineteenth century are particularly strong in the general collection. The library has no personal papers or other manuscript collections relevant to hymnody, but many of the hymnals in the Doving Collection contain extensive notes in Doving’s hand detailing how the hymnal was obtained as well other annotations related to the item. The Doving Collection is supplemented by materials housed elsewhere in Special Collections: facsimile editions of early Luther hymnals and microfilmed copies of Lutheran and Reformed hymnals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries from the Continent and Scandinavian countries. In addition, there are examples of Books of Common Prayer and Sternhold/Hopkins’s The Whole Book of Psalms, in early and subsequent editions. Hymnals and psalters from the British Isles and the Americas of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are included, as are hymnals and psalmbooks from the North American Lutheran traditions. The general collection houses all of the library’s denominational hymnals from the twentieth century. New titles are added in all areas regularly. All bibliographic records in the Doving Collection are searchable through, MARTIN, the library’s online catalog linked from its website, and in-house through a separate shelflist located in the Rare Book Room. Items in the collection are identified as such in a local notes field. Date range: 16th-20th c.