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The E. Theodore Bachmann Manuscript Collection

Identifier: SCM 020

Scope and Content

This collection of Bachmann’s papers includes materials related to the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.


  • 1947-1983

Language of Materials

Primarily English, some German


There are no special restrictions to this collection. The materials may be accessed by patrons according to the normal rules of the Seminary Archives.

Preferred Citation

The following is the acceptable citation for publication: The E. Theodore Bachmann Manuscript Collection. Special Collections, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.

Biographical Information

Dr. E. Theodore Bachmann (1912-1995) was a Lutheran historian, pastor, and educator who devoted six decades to promoting the unity of the church and mission work. He had an international career as a teacher, pastor, writer, and administrator. A native to Philadelphia, Dr. Bachmann attended Quaker schools in his youth before receiving degrees from Haverford College and the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He then earned a masters degree from Harvard University and a doctorate in church history from the University of Chicago.

After World War II, Dr, Bachmann was active in Europe, first with the World Council of Churches and then as a liaison with the German Evangelical Church for the American military government. For five years he was on the staff of the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, Switzerland as editor for their quarterly “Lutheran World,” and for its German edition, “Lutherische Rundschau.” In the 1960s, Dr. Bachmann served the newly merged Lutheran Church in America as an executive in areas of college education, church vocation, and theological education. He also taught at Lutheran seminaries in Chicago, St. Paul, Berkeley, and Sao Paulo, and served as an adjunct professor and a visiting scholar at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Dr. Bachmann is perhaps best known for his book “Lutheran Churches in the World: A Handbook” (Augsburg Fortress, 1989), which he and his wife Mercia Brenne Bachmann complied at the behest of the Lutheran World Federation. He also translated from German a biography of Martin Luther written by Heinrich Bornkamm, which was published in 1983 in association with the commemoration of Luther’s 500th birthday.

Dr. Bachmann passed in December 1995 in New Brunswick, NJ at the age of 84. He was survived by his wife of 54 years, along with his son, Frederick B., his daughter, Mary L., and two granddaughters.


3.63 linear feet (6 boxes)

Processing Information:

In January 1995 Bachmann and his wife, Mercia Brenne Bachmann, donated a box of materials related to the World Council of Churches. In July 1998, then his widow, Mercia donated two more boxes of materials; one box relating to the Lutheran World Federation and the other to the Lutheran Church in America. The contents of Box 4 were located in library storage and added as a new series in 2008. The contents of Boxes 5 and 6 were located in library storage and added as new series in 2019.

The E. Theodore Bachmann Manuscript Collection
Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • December 20, 2016: EAD finding aids for collections processed and encoded before 2015 were revised slightly and imported into ArchivesSpace in 2016.
  • October 24, 2013: EAD doc updated by Cortney Frank to reflect finding aid revisions made by Bob Golon.
  • August 5, 2019: Boxes 5 and 6, as well as the bibliographical note, were added in 2019 by Andrea Odegaard.

Repository Details

Part of the Princeton Theological Seminary. Library. Special Collections Repository

Princeton Theological Seminary
Wright Library
25 Library Place
Princeton NJ 08540 USA