Lars Olof Jonathan Söderblom was born Jan.15, 1866 in Trönö, Sweden. He was educated at the University of Uppsala and while a student attended an American Christian Student Federation meeting in Northfield, Massachusetts in 1890. He was ordained as a minister of the Church of Sweden in 1893 and served as pastor of the Swedish church in Paris and as seaman's pastor at Calais and Dunkerque from 1894 to 1901. While he was in France he received the degree of doctor of Theology from the University of Paris. He became a professor of theology at Uppsala University in 1901 and from 1912 to 1914 he taught history of religion at the University of Leipzig. He was named primate of the Church of Sweden as Archbishop of Uppsala in 1914. As Archbishop he actively promoted world peace and ecumenism both in Europe and the United States. One result was the Christian Conference on Life and Work which met in Stockholm in August, 1925. In 1930 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He died on July 12, 1931.
In 1921 the Church Peace Union in the United States and the World Alliance invited him to the United States to promote the ecumenical concerns of the Federal Council of Churches in Christ and to lecture on comparative religion and Martin Luther. Archbishop S₄derblom Rev. L. G . Abrahamson, a leader of the Augustana Lutheran Synod and the editor of the church periodical, Augustana, became aware of this decision. The Augustana Synod had already invited Archbishop Söderblom in 1916 and this invitation was renewed. This invitation conflicted in some ways with that of the Church Peace Union in that the reason for the visit would now include the improvement of relations between the Augustana Synod and the Church of Sweden and the promotion of Lutheran unity in America. The Church Peace Union was upset about this change, but was open to the idea of the Archbishop spending a week in Rock Island, Illinois.
What developed, however, was an American trip for the Archbishop longer than any other journey aboard and the subject to his book, From Uppsala To Rock Island ( only published in Swedish ). With the Rev. Abrahamson at his side, the Archbishop embarked on a trip to get in touch with all of America, or as his wife, Anna, put it, "to find out where the Swedes went." After his arrival in New York, Söderblom, his wife and son visited churches and lectured at universities for two and a half months in California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
From the description of Nathan Söderblom Papers 1913-1931 (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Library). WorldCat record id: 124040257