Erickson, C. Telford (Charles Telford), 1867-1966

Variant names
Birth 1867-07-15
Death 1966-12-26

Biographical notes:

Charles Telford Erickson was born in Galesburg, Illinois in 1867. He was educated at DePauw University, Boston University, and Yale University. He served as a Congregational minister before and after his missionary service in Albania which began in 1908. Erickson served for 12 years under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and 14 years independently. From 1920-1921, he was Special Commissioner for Albania to the U.S. From 1922-1923, Erickson assisted American Legation staff in Albania. He was commissioned by the Albanian government to build a national college of Agriculture. He founded two schools in an enterprise known as the "Albanian-American Schools of Agriculture." Following retirement, he traveled widely, promoting the World Council of Churches and the International Missionary Council, and as a spokesman for Albania.

From the description of Charles Telford Erickson papers, 1908-1973 (inclusive). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 702165170

Charles Telford Erickson, born in 1867 in Galesburg, Illinois, of Swedish parents. He was educated at DePauw University, receiving a B.A. in 1891, an M.A. in 1893, as well as an LL.D. bestowed on him in 1932. In 1895 he was awarded an S.T.B. from Boston University and that same year, married Carrie Louise Earl. They had five children.

After serving in Rangoon, Burma for one year,1897-1898, they were forced to return to the United States because of Mrs. Erickson's ill health. For a few years, he served as pastor of churches in Ohio, and later he spent three years at Yale University where he received a master's degree in 1902. He then served as pastor of a Congregational church in Hartford, Connecticut until he became director of the mission work of the American Board of Foreign Missions at Elbasan, Albania in 1908. Erickson served under the American Board for twelve years and continued independently for fourteen more years. It was during this period that Drury College (1914) gave him a D.D.

During the First World War, Erickson worked as a Red Cross official in Italy and later was chosen an honorary delegate to the Peace Conference in Paris by the Albanian Federation of America and the provisional government of Albania. He acted as a special commissioner for Albania to the United States in 1920-1921 and assisted the American Legation staff in Tirana, Albania in 1922-1923.

Commissioned by the Albanian Government, under Ahmet Zoger, who later became king, to build a national College of Agriculture, he founded two schools; an agricultural school for boys, and a domestic arts school for girls. An American Committee directed the enterprise known as the "Albanian-American Schools of Agriculture". In 1930 the Trustees of the Boys' and Girls' Schools asked the Near East Foundation to assume responsibility for the administration of the overseas work. Due to the invasion and occupation by Italy in 1939, the Near East Foundation, without choice, relinquished their ownership to the Italian government.

Following the death of his first wife (date unknown), Erickson married Alice Lee Welcher in 1936, one year prior to his retirement. In 1937, the Ericksons attended the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the Independence of Albania. They stayed at the United States Legation as guests of Minister and Mrs. Grant.

After his retirement, Erickson served as a delegate of the PanAlbanian Federation of America to the United Nations Conference on International Organization which met in San Francisco, California in 1945. He served as inter1m pastor for churches at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, Lake Helen, Florida, and Avalon, California. He and his wife traveled around the world as Erickson spoke to churches and other groups, mostly in Australia and New Zealand, promoting the World Council of Churches, the International Missionary Council, and world Congregationalism. They lived during these latter years at Capri, Corfu, Rhodes, Guernsey, Jersey and Britain, and then finally settled in California. Erickson did not forget Albania during these years but continued to be a spokesman for her welfare. He died in 1966 having lived ninety-nine years.


Fusonie, Alan E. "The Albanian-American School of Agriculture: Erickson and Hoover. Its Forgotten Benefactors 1920-1939" Chapter IV revised, of Charles Telford Erickson: American Friend of Albania, Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1970. Box 1, Folder 2. New East Foundation,A Key to the Balkans. New York: 1923, 12 pp. Box 7, Folder 6 Who's Who in America, 26th ea., s.v. "Erickson, Charles Telford" For further information see: Minneapolis, Minnesota, University of Minnesota Immigrant Archives. Erickson, Charles Telford "My Retreat from Civilization".

From the guide to the Charles Telford Erickson Papers, 1908-1973, (Yale University Divinity School Library)

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