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Collection 087 Papers of Fredrik Franson

Identifier: CN 087

Scope and Contents

Microfilm copy of correspondence, reports, excerpts from sermons and other writings collected by Rev. Edward P. Torjesen on the life and ministry of Fredrik Franson (1852-1908). Materials include articles written about evangelistic work, prophecy conferences, missionary efforts on several continents, and the recruitment of Christian workers.  Persons featured include mission founders A.B. Simpson and James Hudson Taylor. Materials include articles in several languages. Documents are arranged chronologically by date in folders as received.

This collection consists of 343 folders of material collected by Edvard P. Torjesen of The Evangelical Alliance Mission and represent Torjesen's research on Franson's life in preparation for writing a biography of the mission founder. The container list follows the same format as the microfilm reels which is a chronological listing of materials. Distinctive white dated tabs were found in the upper left hand corner of the folder as means of identification. Almost exclusively the material is found in languages other than English. The eight folders containing documents in English are noted by the word English in brackets following the date. Whenever possible, the foreign title and English translation are given. Brief summaries and notes noted on the material were included when appropriate as an aid in identification.

All materials are duplicates of originals. Documents include: correspondence while on various mission projects in Utah, Europe, China, and South America; reports from various mission meetings and conferences; excerpts from Franson sermons; excerpts from various books, pamphlets, and tracts written by Franson; and Franson's funeral notice.


  • Created: 1872-1909

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Fredrik Franson was born June 17, 1852, in the parish of Nora, Westmanland, Sweden. His father, a land owner and miner, was able to provide well for his family, although he died when Franson was five. His mother remarried two years later, to Pa Olson. Franson's siblings included Eric, Frans, August, Anna, and a half sister, Marie. Taking advantage of excellent educational opportunities, Franson became fluent in several languages including Swedish, German, Latin, Norwegian, English, and French.

The family emigrated to the United States when Franson was seventeen and settled in Saunders County, Nebraska, a farming community. Along with his brother August, Franson began to farm. However, the physical strain proved too great and led to a severe malaria attack. During his year's convalescence, Franson read and studied the Bible and finally became convinced of his own need for salvation in 1872 at the age of twenty. He joined the local Baptist Church at Esteina, Nebraska, and was baptized.

After spending three years studying the Bible and other Christian material, he began preaching as an assistant for an evangelism tour of various locations in Nebraska. Franson next went to Chicago and joined the church pastored by Dwight L. Moody so he could learn and observe the techniques employed by Moody in his evangelistic work.

In 1875 Franson began his own evangelistic work among Swedish immigrants in Minnesota. He had great success and planned a trip to Europe in 1879. Other work in Utah required his attention first so he left for a ministry among the Mormons with the help of Rev. J. F. Fredrickson. Franson was moved to write Mormonism Unveiled as a result of his experiences.

He returned to Nebraska in December 1880 for rest. While home, he wrote a treatise on church growth and development used by many of the small mission churches in the area. He was ordained January 20, 1881, by the Free Church at Phelps Center prior to his departure for Europe.

Work in Europe consumed Franson's time for the next nine years taking him to every European nation. His journey and ministry was not without trial. He was imprisoned several times and even banished from Denmark forever in 1885 for his evangelistic activities. J. Hudson Taylor of China Inland Mission contacted Franson regarding the great need for China missionaries. Franson used his influence with Scandinavian churches to encourage them to send workers to China. Within the next four years they sent over fifty.

When Franson returned to the United States in 1890, he held the first Bible and missionary course in the Swedish Pilgrim Church for fifty missionary candidates. The sending agency was called The Scandinavian Alliance Mission, later becoming TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission). Fields of service were extended to include nations such as China, Japan, India, Africa, Mongolia, and South America. Franson made tours of the fields in 1894 and again in 1902. The last tour lasted eight years. Franson spent much time in Australia helping to establish and administer the work there.

Franson returned to the United States through Mexico, arriving in Texas on June 5, 1908. He was very tired and went to Colorado for much needed rest before engaging in a new missions thrust to youth. While recovering from his strenuous ministry, Franson died on August 2, 1908.

Many organizations were formed or influenced greatly by Franson's ministry including Danish Mission Confederation, Swiss Alliance Mission, Barmea Alliance Mission, Finnish Alliance Mission, Swedish Evangelical Mission in Japan, Swedish Alliance Mission, and TEAM. TEAM presently supports the work of 892 active missionaries on twenty-two different fields.


2.00 Reels of microfilm

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in July 1979, microfilmed, and returned to the owner. The BGC Archives maintains negative and positive copies of the microfilm.

Accession 79-87

April 17, 1980

Mary Ann Buffington

S. Kouns

Collection 087 Papers of Fredrik Franson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US