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August Lindstedt papers, 1910-1948

Identifier: MSS-Miss-3

Scope and Contents

This collection contains information from August Lindstedt, his family, and fellow missionaries throughout his life. The majority of these materials come from either Russia or China, with some materials originating from Sweden or the United States. Most materials fall between the years of 1910 and 1948.

The V.M. Leontieff series contains a folder of letters, mostly in English and regarding finances from the 1930s. The reports are mostly in Russian and span mostly from 1927 to 1935.

The Dokument och Andra Vardehandlingar series comes from a black folder with a corresponding name. The Loose Papers folder contains various materials, such as reports, membership list for the Harbin Church, a program for Assembly of Protestant Churches, a letter on the opening for the 1940 Harbin Church building, and Puke's travel letter from Latvia to the Soviet Union to China. The rest of the series holds correspondence with August Puke, from 1926 to 1942. Most letters are in Russian, with some in Swedish or English.

The Correspondence with V.V. Shadrin series ranges from 1927 to 1946. The newsletters are in Russian, some from 1934. The letters are also primarily in Russian.

The Korrespondens i Ryska Missioners Intresse folder series contains a variety of materials from the large black folder with the same title, likely owned and used by Lindstedt. The Papers and notes folder holds Christmas cards, a few letters, and other loose papers. The Jesu Kristi gudom folder holds what seems to be an essay written by Lindstedt, entitled in English "Jesus Christ deity." The Russian language education folder seems to be from Lindstedt's education in Russian, although the documents are in Swedish. The American fundraising folder contains several programs and newsletters from location in the United States that seem to have been supporting the Russian mission in China. Many of these documents are from Edgewater Swedish Baptist Church in Chicago. The folder also includes some interwar maps of Europe and Germany. The News folder holds some international newsletters and a newspaper. The titles are The Bulletin of the National Christian Council, the North China Star, and a Christian newlsetter published in Warsaw. The Travel folder contains passenger lists from forms of transportation used by the Lindstedts, including ships and trains.

The Brown Binder series contains a seemingly random assortment of documents with an unclear arrangement system. In this series are letters, travel logistical materials, such as hotel reservations, and correspondence with the Baptist General Conference and supporting churches, such as Edgewater Swedish Baptist Church in Chicago.

The photographs series contains thousands of photographs, mostly of Russians in Manchuria following the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union. A few photographs are from Russia while Lindstedt was a missionary there, including images from the Russian Revolution. There are many general scenes of China and of Russians living in China. There are also scenes of war and life under the Japanese after the invasion of Manchuria. More specific are the photographs of Baptist missionary work amongst Russians in China, including church scenes, congregations, charity work, and baptisms. People pictured in these photos include the Lindstedt family, August Puke, V.V. Shadrin, and E.W. Olson. There are some photographs from other locations around the world, including the United States. These are from fundraising trips in America, as well as one photograph from Bethel, likely from Marwin Lindstedt while a student.

The Pamphlets folder holds various publications, including an English language visitor guide to Harbin by the South Manchuria Railway Company from 1934, three Russian language religious pamphlets from Harbin Baptist Church around 1926, and a Swedish language report on the Russian mission in Shanghai from 1930.

The Letters and Reports from Potloff, Leontieff, Blackman and others folders are mostly in Russian and deal with the Manchuria missions. They span the years 1927 to 1941 and contain 221 documents.

The P.V. Potloff folder holds 46 letters and one telegram from 1930 to 1939, mostly in English.

The I.Z. Osipoff folders are separated into correspondence from Osipoff and to Osipoff. The first folder contains 13 letters and two fliers on the Dairen Church, 53 letters and reports from Manchu-kou, and 51 letters and reports on other subjects. The second folder contains 25 letters from Lindstedt to Osipoff and three letters concerning Osipoff. Most materials are in Russian and date between 1929 to 1936.

The A.P. Petroff series holds 55 letters from Petroff in Russian from 1935 to 1941. There are four reports from the orphanage in Harbin and Manchu-kuo from 1935 to 1940. There are also 16 letters to Petroff's orphanage in Harbin from 1939 to 1941. Finally, there is a letter to Lindstedt from the Russian Mission Society in London regarding Petroff from 1936. Most documents are in Russian.

The P.V. Kovlechenkoff file holds 16 quarterly reports, 16 letters from Kovlechenkoff, and a telegram regarding Kolechenkoff. These materials are in Russian, English, and Swedish and date between 1926 and 1933.

The Zaharoff file holds 50 correspondence between Zaharoff and others, including Lindstedt. The languages are Russian and English, and they date from 1929 to 1935.

The Correspondence with Swedish Baptist General Conference of America series is split between correspondence to or from Lindstedt. Most material is in English or Swedish. Olof Hedeen, G. Arvid Hagstrom, and Ragnar Arlander are prominently featured in this series. The dates range from 1924 to 1945.

The Diaries span the years from 1910 to 1948. Most of the entries are in Swedish. Places where entries were recorded include Örebro in Sweden, Vladivostok in Russia, Harbin and Shanghai in China, and Bethel, Minnesota and Chicago in the United States.

The processing notes folder contains notebook paper found with the collection that looks like Bethel librarians' David Guston or Norris Magnuson attempts to sort the collection. It also includes correspondence about research in the collection. Finally, it includes an envelope with Ruth Lindstedt's name, likely the source of the collection.


  • 1910 - 1948

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researcher use.

Biographical Note

August Lindstedt was born January 2, 1887 in Vastanfors, Sweden. He worked in the steel mills in Fagersta, Sweden, until he attended Orebro School of Missions. In 1916, Lindstedt worked as a technician in a Swedish cable factory in the Urals, Russia in order to learn the language so he could return as a missionary in the future. After the Russian revolution, he fled back to Sweden by ship through a heavily mined Baltic Sea. He served as a pastor in Hudiksvall before returning to Russia.

Lindstedt met E.W. Olson in 1921 while in Sweden, and he traveled to Siberia with him to begin his missionary work in 1922. On the journey, he met Margaret Bergskold of Englewood Baptist Church, Chicago, whom he married in January 1923. Margaret taught English and music at the Vladivostok Bible Institute. In spring 1923, they fled Vladivostok, now controlled by the Bolsheviks, after Lindstedt was arrested and interrogated. They settled in Harbin, Manchuria, where Lars Marwin was born. Later children were Olof, Carl, and Roy. He left Manchuria with Olson in 1924. He briefly pastored a church in Omaha, Nebraska. In Chicago, the Lindstedts became the first official representatives of the Swedish Baptist General Conference in a foreign land.

The Lindstedts returned to Harbin in November 1925, where August pastored the Central Church. The Japanese invaded Manchuria 1931. In 1934, the Lindstedts moved to Tientsin, following the Russian refugees hoping for emigration out of China. They went to Shanghai in September 1939, where they remained during the war years. The Japanese attempted to take Margaret Lindstedt to a prison camp, but her Swedish passport prevented it. In 1946, they moved to Tsingtao.

August Lindstedt ended his missionary work in 1947 due to health problems, moving to Chicago. He moved to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1949 and died February 7, 1950.

Historical Note

E. W. Olson was a central organizer of Swedish Baptist missions in Russia, who went to Vladivostok in 1919. He left Vladivostok in 1920 for the United States, where he started the Ryska Evangelisten magazine, which ran from January 1921 until October 1924. After traveling to Sweden in 1921, he recruited August Lindstedt to return to Siberia with him in 1922. He relocated to Harbin, Manchuria, after the Bolsheviks took Vladivostok. He left Manchuria in 1924.

V.M. Leontieff was a former army officer who converted to a Baptist in Vladivostok. He later helped lead the Russian Baptist Church in Harbin. In 1924, he went to Shanghai. He later worked in Hengtaohotze. In 1935, he moved to Tientsin to assist Lindstedt, and in 1937 to Shanghai. He emigrated to Australia in 1939, where he pastored Brisbane Russian Baptist Church, which broke off from the main congregation in 1943.

August Puke was a Latvian army courier who converted to a Baptist in Vladivostok. He led the Vladivostok church after the Bolshevik takover until 1925, when he left for Manchuria. He worked as a church leader in Hengtaohotze. While pastoring in Harbin, he dedicated the church building in 1940. In 1955, he moved to Brisbane, Australia.

I. Osipoff worked as a teacher in the Russian Bible Institute in Vladivosktok, and later was a Baptist leader in Harbin. By the 1930s, he worked in Samanny Gorodok within Harbin. Later, he worked in Dairen.

V.V. Shadrin worked as evangelist in Manchuli. By 1939, he pastored in Tientsin. He fled communist China in 1951 to Australia.

P.V. Potloff pastored in Harbin in the slum distric of Nahalovka. He later worked in Tientsin and Shanghai. He later became pastor of First Russian Baptist Church of San Francisco.

Aleksey P. Petroff escaped from a Russian labor camp and fled to Harbin in 1934. He established an orphanage in Harbin. He remained in Harbin for the rest of his life, dying in 1961.


7 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials






The arrangement of this collection differes by series or file. It appears that a previous Bethel employee, possibly David Guston, rearranged some of the materials in this collection, which is reflected in some of the files, mostly in box 5.

The Dokument och Andra Vardehardlingar folder series is mostly cronological according to Puke's correspondence.

The Korrespondens i Ryska Missioners Intresse folder series is arranged topically. Original or donated order is unknown.

The Brown Binder series is arranged in the order in which the papers were found. Although not confirmed, this order likely reflects the order the material was donated to the History Center and possibly the original order kept by August Lindstedt.

The photographs are arranged by subject matter. Any original order has been lost after being stored in a bankers-sized box without clear order or folders, before they were reorganized in 2022.

The folders in box 5 are mostly arranged as they were found in 2022, according to arrangement by a previous Bethel employee, possibly David Guston.

The Diaries are arranged chronologically, as Lindstedt would have recorded events over time.

Custodial History

The provenance of this collection is unclear. It is likely that Ruth Lindstedt donated the materials, as an envelope with her name and phone number is in the collection. Ruth was the daughter-in-law of August and the wife of Marwin. The two black folders and brown binder in which their corresponding series were kept likely came from and were used by August Lindstedt, so they have been retained as part of the collection.

Related Materials

August Lindstedt's son Lars Marwin Lindstedt wrote a thesis for his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Bethel Theological Seminary in 1953, titled "A History of the Russian Mission of the Swedish Baptist General Conference of America." The thesis contents circles around August Lindstedt's participation in the Russian mission and cites materials from the collection before it was donated to the History Center. The thesis is kept at the History Center.

The Marwin and Ruth Lindstedt papers contain information from their time as missionaries in the Philippines. This collection is kept at the History Center.

Processing Information

It appears that an attempt at processing the collection occurred previously, possibly by David Guston in 1993, before that effort was abandoned. The processing materials left behind from this effort are kept in the collection at the end.

Rebekah Bain
October 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The History Center: Archives of Bethel University and Converge Repository

3900 Bethel Drive
Arden Hills MINNESOTA 55112 United States