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Northwest District (LCMS) International Walther League Records

Identifier: NWD.19

Scope and Contents

The records document the activities of districts and the local societies of the International Walther League from 1921 to 1993. Included are the official minutes and reports of the executive boards of each district. Also included are financial statements, convention programs and minutes, some correspondence, newsletters, programs from summer camp and zone rally activities, and photocopies of clippings.


  • 1921 - 1993
  • Majority of material found within 1921 - 1969

Language of Materials

Collection materials are inEnglish.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for research by appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

The Northwest District Archives is the owner of the materials in the International Walther League Collection and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Northwest District Archives before any reproduction use. Copyright resides with the creator of the documents or their heirs. The status of copyright is governed by the Copyright Law of the U. S. (Title 17, U.S.C.). In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Historical note

The Walther League was organized in May of 1893 in Buffalo, New York. The term International was added later. The main emphases included worship, education, service, recreation, and fellowship among young people of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod congregations.

The IWL began as an all-male society, but within a few years women were included also. In the Pacific Northwest, the region was divided into three districts: Evergreen (Washington), Oregon, and Utah-Idaho. The Oregon District was initiated when the Oregon League of Lutheran Young People's Societies affiliated with the International Walther League in 1920. The Washington District became a member of the International Walther League on September 25, 1921. The Utah-Idaho District was organized at Buhl, Idaho, on May 29, 1938, although the Idaho District youth held conventions as early as 1934. The congregational societies of each district were organized into zones. Each district elected its own officers. The district officers planned regional activities (such as conventions, Lutheran Service Volunteer (LSV) Schools, rallies, and conferences) and gave support to the zones within each district. Beginning in 1946, the presidents of the districts were appointed as auxiliary members of the Northwest District's Youth Committee in order to coordinate the work between the two organizations.

In 1949 approximately 2,100 of the 3,500 young people under twenty-five in Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod congregations were members of the International Walther League. By the 1960s the IWL was losing its influence and membership declined. In the period 1967-1968 much of the administrative functions of the IWL were transferred to the Synodical Board for Youth Ministry; in 1977 the IWL closed its office. The Synodical Board for Youth Ministry attempted to assist congregations to serve their youth until a new organization, Lutheran Youth Fellowship, came into being in 1977.

Additional historical information about the International Walther League may be found in the following publications:

Pahl, Jon. 1993. Hopes and Dreams of All: The International Walther League and Lutheran Youth in American Culture, 1897-1993. Chicago: Wheat Ridge Foundation. [A general history of the IWL.]

God Opens Doors: A Centennial Celebration of the Northwest District of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. 2000. Portland, Oregon: Northwest District. [The IWL in the Pacific Northwest is discussed in pages 135-147.]


5 Linear Feet (in 4 record boxes and 1 document box.)


The records of the Lutheran International Walther League societies in the Washington, Oregon, and Idaho-Utah Districts.


The records are arranged in five Series: Series I. General Interest. Series II. The Washington District. Series III. The Oregon District. Series IV. The Utah-Idaho District. Series V. Tri-District Activities. Within each series arrangement is chronological.

Separated Materials

Several photographs were removed and placed in the general photographic collection.

Guide to the Northwest District (LCMS) International Walther League Records An Inventory at the Northwest District Archives
In Progress
Nolan R. Bremer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Northwest District (Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod) Archives Repository

Northwest District Archives
Concordia University
2811 NE Holman St.
Portland Oregon 97211-6099 USA