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John N. Kildahl

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Title: John N. Kildahl  
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Subject: Levanger, St. Olaf College, Ole Edvart Rølvaag, Luther Seminary, F. Melius Christiansen, 1857 in Norway
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John N. Kildahl

John Kildahl
2nd President of St. Olaf College
In office
Preceded by Thorbjorn N. Mohn
Succeeded by Lauritz A. Vigness
Personal details
Born January 4, 1857
Nord-Trøndelag, Norway
Died September 25, 1920
Nationality Norwegian, American
Alma mater Luther College, Luther Seminary
Religion Lutheran
Luther's Rose
 Lutheranism portal

John Nathan Kildahl (January 4, 1857 – September 25, 1920) was an American Lutheran church minister, author and educator.


Kildahl was born in Beitstaden parish (Namdalseidet), Nord-Trøndelag, Norway. Kildahl emigrated as a boy from Norway to rural Goodhue County, Minnesota. He was educated at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He graduated from Luther Seminary and was ordained by Bernt Julius Muus at St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota.[1]


Kildahl served as a Lutheran pastor at churches in Minnesota and Illinois. Kildahl was called first to Lutheran congregations at Vang and Urland in rural Minnesota. He served as principal and professor at Red Wing Seminary. Later Kildahl was President of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Seminary from 1885–86. In 1889, Kildahl was called to Bethlehem Church in Chicago. Kildahl served as the founding pastor of Trinity Norwegian-Danish Lutheran Church from 1891-1892. Trinity Lutheran Church in Evanston, Illinois was organized on July 29, 1891 as a member of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church.[2][3]

In 1899, Kildahl was elected President of St. Olaf College, a position he would hold until 1914. At St. Olaf College, Kildahl recruited a distinguished faculty that included Ole Rolvaag in the humanities and F. Melius Christiansen in music. He also served as pastor of St. John's Church in Northfield, Minnesota from 1899 to 1903. Starting in 1914, he was a professor at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota.[4]

Kildahl was a prolific writer principally regarding matters relating to the Lutheran faith. His original works were written in the Norwegian language. Many of his works were translated into English and published posthumously.

Selected works

  • Kirkeraadet har talt ilde(Minneapolis, Augsburg Publishing House. 1904) Norwegian
  • Naar Jesus Kommer ind i huset (Minneapolis, Augsburg Publishing House. 1906) Norwegian
  • Synd og Naade: Praekener over tredje vaekke af kirkeaarets evengelietekster(Minneapolis, Augsburg Publishing House. 1912) Norwegian
  • The doctrinal teachings of Christian Science (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House 1920)
  • Dr. John Nathan Kildahl en Mindebok (Augsburg Publishing House Minneapolis. 1921)Norwegian
  • Misconceptions of the word and work of the Holy Spirit (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House. 1927)


Additional Sources

  • Olaf M. Norlie, ed. Norsk Lutherske Menigheter i Amerika, 1843-1916 (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House. 1918) Norwegian
  • Johan Arnd Aasgaard, ed., Quarter Centennial Souvenir of St. Olaf College, 1874-1899 (Northfield, Mn. 1900)
  • C. A. Mellby, St. Olaf College through Fifty Years, 1874-1924 (Northfield, Mn. 1925)
  • Ingebrikt Grose, The Beginnings of St. Olaf College (Studies and Records, 5:110-121. Northfield, Mn. 1930)
  • William C. Benson High on Manitou: A history of St. Olaf College, 1874-1949 (St. Olaf College Press. 1949)
  • Joe Shaw History of St. Olaf College, 1874-1974 (St. Olaf College Press (1974)

External links

  • Kildahl Hall at St. Olaf College
Academic offices
Preceded by
Thorbjorn N. Mohn
President of St. Olaf College
1899– 1914
Succeeded by
Lauritz A. Vigness

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