Charles Telford Erickson Papers
Scope and Contents
The first series, CORRESPONDENCE, although not extensive, does give an indication of Erickson's interests and concerns. The material, dating from 1908 to 1963, was all received or written by Erickson except for a sixteen typewritten page letter by his wife, Alice Lee Welcher Erickson, describing their attendance at the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration of Albania's Independence in 1937, and a letter written by his son, Paul Telford Erickson.
The letters written from Albania in 1908 and 1909 give a vivid description of the family's journey there, the arrival of their freight, his first attempt at language study and his first impressions of the country. These letters are among the few that are of a personal nature.
Throughout the correspondence there are letters expressing Erickson's concern for Albania. He wrote letters to Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Foster Dulles, and other statesmen, bringing to their attention the plight of Albania, and discussing other current political subjects.
While attending the San Francisco Conference as a delegate for the Pan-Albanian Federation of America, Erickson wrote letters regarding the Conference to various persons including President Truman, Anthony Eden, Senator Vandenberg, and G.M. Panarity of the Pan-Albanian Federation. One issue of concern to Erickson was Albania's rejection for membership in the United Nations.
As indicated in the correspondence of 1940, Erickson tried to find an interim pastorate in Germany, Lebanon, England, China or Hawaii. Due to the Second World War and a variety of other reasons, this attempt to give service failed. However, he and Mrs. Erickson did travel in 1946-1947 and letters regarding their travel arrangements and his speaking engagements are included as well as thank you notes for his services.
The second series, Writings, is divided into three major categories:
- Notebook Material
Each of the sermons has a title and usually a Biblical text. Erickson labeled some of the material "Broadcasts", "Easter Sunday", "Communion" or "Installation Service". Sometimes indicated is the location where the sermon was preached. A number of sermons have additional pages attached to them that relate to the sermon topic.
The manuscripts primarily relate to Greek mythology, and the culture and history of Albania, the Balkans, or the Near East. "Little Kingdom What Next" is the only manuscript that is complete. This narrative of 167 pages includes revisions of certain chapters. The remainder of the manuscripts are incomplete; several manuscripts have no title. At the end of this category are folders that contain other writings such as "Articles", "Broadcasts", "Lectures", and "Notes".
The contents of the third category, Notebook Material, are varied. Sermons, sermon material, poetry, prayers, humor, and anecdotes are included. Although most are written by Erickson, there are some printed clippings.
Printed Material is the last series. It includes Albanian language material, church bulletins, pamphlets, newspapers and newspaper clippings regarding Albania dating from 1928 to 1973. One folder contains material written by Erickson.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Charles Telford Erickson.
- I. Correspondence, 1909-1968
- II. Writings, 1941-1950, n.d.
- III. Printed Material, 1928-1973
3 Linear Feet (9 boxes)
Language of Materials
A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog
The collection consists of correspondence, writings, and printed material dating from 1908 to 1973, relating to Erickson's personal life and a number of aspects of Albanian history during this period. Letters document the Ericksons' journey to and life in Albania, and interactions with statesmen, presidents, senators and others regarding Albania's political situation. Charles Telford Erickson was born in Galesburg, Illinois in 1867. He served as a Congregational minister before and after his missionary service in Albania, which began in 1908. Erickson served for 12 years under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and 14 years independently. From 1920 to 1921, he was Special Commissioner for Albania to the U.S. and from 1922 to 1923, he assisted American Legation staff in Albania. Following retirement, Erickson traveled widely, promoting the World Council of Churches and the International Missionary Council, and as a spokesman for Albania.
Biographical / Historical
Charles Telford Erickson, born in 1867 in Galesburg, Illinois, of Swedish parents. He was educated at DePauw University, receiving a B.A. in 1891, an M.A. in 1893, as well as an LL.D. bestowed on him in 1932. In 1895 he was awarded an S.T.B. from Boston University and that same year, married Carrie Louise Earl. They had five children.
After serving in Rangoon, Burma for one year,1897-1898, they were forced to return to the United States because of Mrs. Erickson's ill health. For a few years, he served as pastor of churches in Ohio, and later he spent three years at Yale University where he received a master's degree in 1902. He then served as pastor of a Congregational church in Hartford, Connecticut until he became director of the mission work of the American Board of Foreign Missions at Elbasan, Albania in 1908. Erickson served under the American Board for twelve years and continued independently for fourteen more years. It was during this period that Drury College (1914) gave him a D.D.
During the First World War, Erickson worked as a Red Cross official in Italy and later was chosen an honorary delegate to the Peace Conference in Paris by the Albanian Federation of America and the provisional government of Albania. He acted as a special commissioner for Albania to the United States in 1920-1921 and assisted the American Legation staff in Tirana, Albania in 1922-1923.
Commissioned by the Albanian Government, under Ahmet Zoger, who later became king, to build a national College of Agriculture, he founded two schools; an agricultural school for boys, and a domestic arts school for girls. An American Committee directed the enterprise known as the "Albanian-American Schools of Agriculture". In 1930 the Trustees of the Boys' and Girls' Schools asked the Near East Foundation to assume responsibility for the administration of the overseas work. Due to the invasion and occupation by Italy in 1939, the Near East Foundation, without choice, relinquished their ownership to the Italian government.
Following the death of his first wife (date unknown), Erickson married Alice Lee Welcher in 1936, one year prior to his retirement. In 1937, the Ericksons attended the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the Independence of Albania. They stayed at the United States Legation as guests of Minister and Mrs. Grant.
After his retirement, Erickson served as a delegate of the PanAlbanian Federation of America to the United Nations Conference on International Organization which met in San Francisco, California in 1945. He served as inter1m pastor for churches at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, Lake Helen, Florida, and Avalon, California. He and his wife traveled around the world as Erickson spoke to churches and other groups, mostly in Australia and New Zealand, promoting the World Council of Churches, the International Missionary Council, and world Congregationalism. They lived during these latter years at Capri, Corfu, Rhodes, Guernsey, Jersey and Britain, and then finally settled in California. Erickson did not forget Albania during these years but continued to be a spokesman for her welfare. He died in 1966 having lived ninety-nine years.
- Fusonie, Alan E. "The Albanian-American School of Agriculture: Erickson and Hoover. Its Forgotten Benefactors 1920-1939" Chapter IV revised, of Charles Telford Erickson: American Friend of Albania, Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1970. Box 1, Folder 2.
- New East Foundation, A Key to the Balkans. New York: 1923, 12 pp. Box 7, Folder 6
- Who's Who in America, 26th ea., s.v. "Erickson, Charles Telford"
- For further information see:
- Minneapolis, Minnesota, University of Minnesota Immigrant Archives. Erickson, Charles Telford "My Retreat from Civilization".
- Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971
- Albania -- History
- American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
- Congregational churches -- Albania
- Dulles, John Foster, 1888-1959
- Erickson, C. Telford (Charles Telford), 1867-1966
- Missions -- Albania
- Near East Foundation
- Pan-Albanian Federation of America VATRA
- Stassen, Harold E. (Harold Edward), 1907-2001
- Willkie, Wendell L. (Wendell Lewis), 1892-1944
- Guide to the Charles Telford Erickson Papers
- Compiled by Jane S. Thomson
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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