A Day in the Life of Concordia Seminary–in 1853

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Dr Gerhard Bode, Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Seminary Archivist, has been researching Concordia Seminary’s history in preparation of celebrating our 175th anniversary this year. He found several gems describing life at the seminary over the many years.

In October 1853, Professor Adolph Biewend described life at Concordia College for an article in Der Lutheraner. At this time the seminary was located off of South Jefferson in St. Louis city, pictured above in 1858.

The day’s work is regulated by a new clock in the new wing and a bell in the court, which resounds a great distance. It rings at five o’clock in the morning to signify to those not yet at work that it is time to get up. Fifteen minutes later joint morning devotion is held in the large lecture room under the direction of an instructor. Breakfast is served at 5:30 and then work begins. At 8:45 the bell rings as a warning to get ready for the morning lessons, which last from 9:00 to 12:00. After 12:00 dinner is eaten and the students are free until 2:00. Five minutes before that the bell rings, and afternoon lessons, which last until 5:00, begin. Then there is free time until 7:30 with supper at 6:30. At 7:30 the bell summons to work again, and at 8:45 the bell summons to vespers, which again is conducted under the supervision of an instructor; then the younger students retire. During study period the students of the Gymnasium are under constant supervision of a seminary student.

During free time the students may be seen as they engage in all kinds of games on the playground or use the athletic equipment there, take care of a garden of which each one has a small one, beautify the grounds, or in summer go to the Mississippi River, about one mile away, for a bath (under supervision of an instructor). On Sunday morning they all go to the city to attend church and return after the conclusion of the afternoon service.

I hope they took a bath in the winter, too. Although if the winters then were like this year’s winter, it might have been tough to dunk in the Mississippi.

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  1. Peter Arno Lange on Facebook January 9, 2014
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