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Walter E. Buszin (1899-1973) Papers

Identifier: Collection ID-0261

Scope and Contents

The collection contains class notebooks, a syllabus for "The History of Church Music", a picture album, and some correspondence.


  • 1892 - 1959

Biographical / Historical

Walter Buszin was born on 4 December 1899. He attended Concordia College, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, where he graduated in 1924 and completed the Bachelor of Divinity Degree in 1925. He was ordained in Trinity Lutheran Church, Springfield, Illinois, May 2, 1926. He studied music at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and Northwestern University’s School of Music in Evanston, Illinois. He received the Master of Sacred Music degree from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1937 and the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Concordia Seminary in 1941.

Buszin’s teaching career began at Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois, where he taught from 1925–1927. He served as professor at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota, 1929–1935; Concordia College, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1937–1946; Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois, 1946–1947; and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, where he taught liturgics, hymnology, and church music from 1947 until he retired in 1966. He was a visiting professor at Washington University, St. Louis. He received three honorary doctoral degrees: a Doctor of Music degree from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana (1954); and two Doctor of Divinity degrees, one from Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois (1967); and the other from Waterloo Lutheran University, Waterloo, Ontario (1967).

In addition to teaching, Walter Buszin had a long record of distinguished service to the church. He was appointed to a subcommittee of the Missouri Synod Committee on Hymnology and Liturgics from its inception in 1929, became a full committee member in 1940, and was appointed committee chair in 1949. He recommended the name of the committee be changed to the Commission on Worship, Liturgics, and Hymnology, which change took place in 1959. He served until 1967, when he was named honorary chairman. Early in the 1940s Buszin singlehandedly reorganized the music department of Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, recommending that a music editorial committee be established; he was a member of this committee for over 20 years. He contributed regularly to the many Valparaiso University Church Music Seminars, established in 1944. Early in his career he established connections with eminent musicologists and church musicians in Europe, first through correspondence and later through firsthand contact, becoming a connecting link between Lutheran scholars of post-world-war Germany and America. He served on the Inter-Lutheran Spanish Hymnal Committee that produced Culto Cristiano in 1964 and the Commission on Music of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. He was honored with the publication of a Festschrift in 1967, Cantors at the Crossroads. In 1968 Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, honored him by naming a “Walter E. Buszin Room” in its Fuerbringer Library. He was elected Fellow of The Hymn Society of America (1962), appointed honorary member of the International Heinrich Schütz Society (1965), and was the recipient of the first Canticum Novum Award of Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio (1967).

During his lifetime he contributed scholarly essays in the field of Lutheran church music and edited and arranged numerous editions of liturgical, choral, and organ music, published both in the United States and abroad. He contributed to the development of five hymnals and was editor for many years of Response in Worship—Music—The Arts, the journal of the Lutheran Society for Worship, Music and the Arts, of which he was a founding member. He was a member of several learned societies and organizations: the Hymn Society of America, the American Society for Aesthetics, the American Musicological Society, the Gesellschaft für Musikforschung, the International Musicological Society, the Neue Bach Gesellschaft, Ecclesia Cantans, and the Lutheran Academy for Scholarship. He was one of three Americans to serve on the editorial board of the Jahrbuch für Liturgik und Hymnologie, a German periodical on liturgy and hymnology.

Buszin died on 2 July 1973 in Omaha, Nebraska, where he served as music librarian at Boys Town following his retirement from Concordia Seminary in 1966. -Connie Seddon


4.42 Linear Feet (Four cubic foot boxes; One 5" document box)

Language of Materials

Multiple languages

Physical Location

A.03.10.03 and A.03.10.04

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Concordia Historical Institute Repository

804 Seminary Place
Saint Louis MO 63105 USA