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RG4004.AM:  Benjamin Franklin Wyland, 1882-1986 

Papers:  1926-1972

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb. and St. Petersburg, Florida:  Congregational Minister

Size:  0.2 cu.ft; 1 box


Benjamin F. Wyland, son of Frank and Molly Griffith Wyland, was born on March 16, 1882, in Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1905 and his B.D. from Yale in 1908.  Wyland married Ada Beach on January 14, 1909, at New Haven, Connecticut.  This marriage produced four children.

After being ordained as a minister in the Congregational Church in 1908, Rev. Wyland served as associate pastor at the Tompkins Avenue Church, 1910-1917.  During 1917-1918 he was religious editor of the New York Tribune.  In 1918 Wyland served in the pulpit of Union Church in Worcester, Massachusetts.  In 1923 he was an exchange preacher between the U.S. and England.  He held this position again in 1933.

From 1926-1936 Rev. Wyland was pastor at the First Plymouth Congregational Church of Lincoln, Nebraska.  During his tenure, a new church building was completed.  After leaving Lincoln in 1936, Wyland served three years as pastor in Brooklyn, New York.  During World War II he became liaison Chaplain for the Council of Churches of Maryland.  After the war, Wyland moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he continued to serve his church and where he was also deeply involved in numerous social welfare projects.

Ada Wyland died in 1953 and Benjamin then married Mildred (Carmichael) Oeschger.  Mildred died in 1978.  Rev. Benjamin F. Wyland died in St. Petersburg, Florida, on July 24, 1986.  He is buried in the Harlan Cemetery at Harlan, Iowa, along with his second wife, Mildred.


This collection consists of one box of manuscript material arranged in five series:  1) Memoirs, 1964 and undated; 2) Correspondence, 1926-1972; 3) Manuscripts, 1966-1967; 4) Certificates and Tributes, 1945-1959; and 5) Miscellany.

This material relates to the church and social work of Rev. Benjamin F. Wyland.  Series 1 consists of two sets of memoirs written by Rev. Wyland.  Folder 1 contains reminiscences written by Wyland to his son, Gordon, in 1964.  These are presented in letter form and they describe Wyland’s biographical sketches of Wyland’s life taken from Who’s Who.  Folder 2 includes Wyland’s memoirs, in narrative form, about his years serving churches in Worcester, Massachusetts; Lincoln, Nebraska; Brooklyn, New York; and St. Petersburg, Florida.  Of particular interest is his description of the architectural plan and design of the First Plymouth Congregational Church of Lincoln, Nebraska, which was built during his pastorate there.

The correspondence, 1926-1972, of Series 2 includes the letter of notification of Wyland’s appointment to the First Plymouth Congregational Church of Lincoln, Nebraska.  Correspondents in this series include Charles W. Bryan, Thurgood Marshall, and Herbert Hoover.  (Hoover’s letter is a xerox copy.)  Series 3 consists of manuscripts, 1966-1967, of Rev. Benjamin F. Wyland.  Included is the Centennial Address given by Wyland in 1966, for the hundred-year anniversary of the First Plymouth Congregational Church of Lincoln, Nebraska.  Two articles written by Wyland are also provided, as well as Wyland’s report on integration in St. Petersburg.

The certificates and tributes of Series 4, 1945-1959, were presented to Wyland because of his many services to society.  The miscellany of Series 5 includes an architectural report on the First Plymouth Congregational Church of Lincoln, Nebraska; newspaper articles, including one which describes Rev. Wyland’s work with service men during World War II; and a volume describing the bells of the First Plymouth Congregational Church entitled Carillon Music and Singing Towers in the Old and New World.


Series 1 – Memoirs of Rev. Benjamin F. Wyland, 1964, n.d.

Box 1


    1. Memoirs in letter to his son, 1964; biographical sketches from Who’s Who

    1. Memoirs, undated

Series 2 – Correspondence, 1926-1972

    1. 1926-1972

Series 3 – Manuscripts, 1966-1967

    1. Centennial Address: First Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, August 19, 1966, “And so they crucified my Lord,” March 25, 1967; Minister Attends Queen’s Garden Party

    1. Integration: How it Came to St. Petersburg

Series 4 – Certificates and tributes, 1945-1959

    1. 1945-1959

Series 5 – Miscellany

    1. Miscellany, including:  The Architectural Record, May 1929 — “First Plymouth Congregational Church of Lincoln, Nebraska”

      Newspaper Articles including one, September 2, 1944, entitled, “The Church Solves a Problem.”  (Xerox copy with collection; original in Oversize)

      Carillon Music and Singing Towers in the Old and New World (First Plymouth Congregational Church)


Subject headings:

Bryan, Charles Wayland, 1867-1945

Clergy — Nebraska

Congregational Church in Nebraska

First Plymouth Congregational Church (Lincoln, Neb.)

Hoover, Herbert Clark, 1874-1964

Lancaster County (Neb.) — Religious institutions and affairs

Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993

Social problems

Social reform

Wyland, Benjamin Franklin, 1882-1986


AIF/psw                  07-01-1980

Revised TMM        04-05-2016