The images in the Theodore Schmidt collection are graciously donated by his daughters, Ruth Sievers and Lois Hobratschk. © Ruth Sievers and Lois Hobratschk, and used by permission.
The website wendishresearch.org provides various articles and documentation regarding the Wendish heritage, including information about Theodore Schmidt. It includes a biography and additional photographs of Theodore Schmidt by Weldon Mersiovsky. Click on the link to explore more information.
Theodore Schmidt's daughter Ruth Sievers Schmidt describes her father's time at Lutheran Concordia College in Austin, as well as his service as a pastor and missionary in South America. She notes his facility with languages, including his knowledge of Wendish, a language spoken by the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany.
[T]hose years from 1937-1946 were the most memorable years in [my parents'] married life. Papa often said that were it not for Mother needing a surgical procedure in 1946 that she couldn't get it done in Brazil they would probably have stayed in Brazil for many more years! They missed their families terribly (and Mother's father died during the years they were down there), but Lois and I were born in Brazil and thus they had their own family there.
The various congregations my parents served in the U.S. provided not only their work but the congregation was also their social and personal life. Everything they did centered around the church. A highlight of my father's ministry was preaching the Wendish sermon at both the 100th and the 125th Anniversary of the Serbin congregation. He preached the same sermon on both occasions.
Schmidt was included in various editions of "The Texas Messenger" which was a publication that was part of the Texas District of Lutherans. Below is a photograph of Reverend Theodore Schmidt preaching in Wendish.
Theodore Schmidt of Serbin, Texas (pictured at left), was among the first class of boys to attend Lutheran Concordia College in 1926. This group of 14-year-olds was called the sexta, the sixth year from graduation in the German Gymnasium model of education. Schmidt's collection of 73 photographs shows his Concordia class of 26 boys exploring their new campus and the sights of Austin, then a small city of about 30,000 people.
Schmidt's nickname was "Tante," or "aunt," because he was the oldest in his class, enrolling at age 18. Schmidt later graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
These rare images are graciously made available by Schmidt's daughters, Ruth Schmidt Sievers and Lois Hobratschk. Concordia alum Ruth Sievers graduated with Concordia's first co-educational class in 1959. We thank Theodore Schmidt's family for sharing these images of Concordia's beginnings, as seen through the eyes of Concordia's first students.
Schmidt's photographs carefully document this campus surroundings: his dormitory room, students studying (Schmidt and Behrund, right), and a boy playing the piano (Arnold Vehling, below). Official portraits taken at the time of Concordia's opening highlight the school's Spanish-style architecture, but the images in Schmidt's collection show how boys lived in their new school.