Manuscripts

MSS 115
Berg, Rev. Otto B., 1915-1991
Papers of Rev. Otto B. Berg, 1909-1995
 

 

Gallaudet University Archives


Descriptive Summary

Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 115
Creator: Rev. Otto B. Berg
Title: Papers of Rev. Otto B. Berg, 1937-1987
Quantity: 7.0 Linear Feet (14 document boxes)
Abstract: Rev. Berg was a prolific clergyman in the Deaf community and this collection focuses on his work as a clergyman.
Note: This document last updated 2005 November 21.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: His wife, Mary Ann Berg, gave the Rev. Otto B. Berg Papers to the Gallaudet University Archives. The gifts were made in March 1995 and April 1996.
Processed by: Michael Olson. February 2001.
Processing Note:
Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research.

Related Material in the Archives:

Photographs 

  • Berg, Otto [picture]. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Portraits

Vertical Files

  • Berg, Otto. Gallaudet University Archives, Call Number: Deaf Biographical

Biographical Sketch

Rev. Otto B. Berg was born on January 7, 1915 in Mohall, North Dakota. He grew up on a farm and attended public schools for nine years until he became deaf at the age of 14 due to medical aliment. He was transferred to the North Dakota School for the Deaf at Devils Lake and graduated in 1932. He was employed as a printer and also an editor at a county newspaper. In 1933 he entered Gallaudet College, now Gallaudet University. There he was involved in several activities, specifically as an editor for The Buff and Blue, a student newspaper. Berg graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938. Following his graduation, he worked as a printer and edited a small weekly newspaper in Wisconsin.

Rev. Berg became interested in becoming a priest for the deaf and he entered the Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia in 1940. He graduated with a Bachelor of Theology degree in 1943. He began to work with the deaf people. Rev. Berg was ordained as a Deacon at All Soul's Church for the Deaf in Philadelphia on May 30, 1943. He served as a missionary to the deaf for the Dioceses of Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia, South and Southwest part of Virginia from November 1, 1943 to December 31, 1947. He also was ordained as an Episcopal priest at Church of St. Michael's and All Angel's in Baltimore on May 27, 1944. Rev. Berg was married to Mary Ann Laken in 1945 and had two children, David and Larry.

Rev. Berg served as a vicar at All Souls' Church for the Deaf in Philadelphia from January 1948 to September 1950. At that time he was a missionary to the deaf for the Dioceses of New Jersey and Delaware. In 1950 Rev. Berg and his family moved to Washington, DC. He served as a vicar at St. Barnabas Mission for the Deaf from 1951 until his retirement on June 30, 1979. He was a part time chaplain at Gallaudet College until September 1, 1950. He founded Canterbury Club, an Episcopal group for Gallaudet students. Rev. Berg worked as a missionary to the deaf for the Dioceses of Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. He also served as a Vicar at Resurrection, St. Mark's Church and St. John's Church in Chevy Chase. He retired in 1979, however, he continued to active as a volunteer teacher at Andeweg School for the Deaf in Beirut, Lebanon for a short time.

Rev. Berg involved in the activities for the Deaf community in the Washington, DC area. He was the President for the DC chapter of Gallaudet University Alumni Association. He was the founder and president of the National Health-Care Foundation for the Deaf, Inc. He served as a President for the Episcopal Conference for the Deaf from 1966 to 1969. He also was the president of the Washington DC Division 46 of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf from 1970 to 1973. He served on the Board for the Telecommunication Exchange for the Deaf, Inc. He was an editor of The Deaf Episcopalian. In 1980 he was named as a Historiographer for the Episcopal Conference for the Deaf. In 1991 he received an award from the Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund. He received several awards for his tiring service to the deaf.

Rev. Berg wrote a book about the history of the Episcopal Church for the Deaf, titled "Missionary Chronicle: being a history of the ministry to the deaf in the Episcopal Church, 1850-1980" published in 1984. He authored with Henry L. Buzzard, "Thomas Gallaudet: apostle to the deaf: with a supplement on the life and ministry of Henry W. Syle" published in 1989. Rev. Berg died on May 4, 1991 in Washington, DC.

Scope and Content

The Rev. Otto B. Berg Papers consist of correspondence, clippings, articles, booklets, brochures, program books, certificates, diaries, minutes, reports, sermons, newsletters, constitution and by-laws, memorandums, annual reports and pamphlets. Rev. Berg was an Episcopal priest from 1944 until his retirement in 1979. He was a missionary to the deaf for New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. He involved in serving with deaf organizations in Washington, DC area.

The collection, which consists of approximately 11,900 pages, dates from 1909 to 1995. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, newsletters and sermons. The bulk dates are mostly between 1943 and 1991, which was during his time he served as an Episcopal priest and missionary to the deaf. The strength of the collection is centered mostly on activities with Episcopal Church for the Deaf.

The largest subject in the collection is focused on the Episcopal Church, which Rev. Berg was heavily involved. Rev. Berg served as a priest and vicar in Philadelphia and in Washington, DC area. He involved with the Episcopal Conference for the Deaf. Rev. Berg involved with several organizations, for example, Deaf Pride, Inc; District of Columbia Association for the Deaf, Inc; National Fraternal Society of the Deaf Washington Division #46; Telecommunication Exchange for the Deaf, Inc; and National Health-Care Foundation for the Deaf, Inc.

In the collection consists of correspondence between Rev. Berg and his friends, Rev. Joseph Ondiek and Bishop Ghais Abdel Malik whose reside in Europe and Egypt; also Father A. J. Andeweg of Switzerland. These letters related to their work with deaf people.

The collection includes two boxes of sermons between 1943 and 1987. They are arranged by year. Rev. Berg wrote these sermons when he was served in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

There are index cards that listed deaf Episcopal members from 1949 to 1960.

Of interest item in the collection, Rev. Berg kept a journal while he was student at Gallaudet College. It is called "Daily Page" written between 1935 and 1938 which tells his daily activities at Gallaudet for his class assignments.

In the collection including one old minute book of "Washington Episcopal Deaf-Mute Mission Guild" dated from 1909 to 1911. However, there are few pages written by a secretary of that organization.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: Episcopal File
Boxes 1-8 1909-1995

Rev. Otto B. Berg was an Episcopal priest and vicar to the deaf from 1944 to 1979. In this series are correspondence, newsletters, brochures, reports, constitution and by-laws, minutes, and sermons. The collection mainly include materials relate to Episcopal activities for the deaf.

Series 2: General File
Box 8 1945-1992

This series consists various subjects relating to deaf. Including in this collection there is two folders on Wilson H. Grabill, a close friend of Rev. Berg's.

Series 3: Organizations File
Boxes 9-11 1951-1991

Rev. Berg involved in several organizations in the Washington, DC area between 1951 and at the time of his death in 1991. Including in this series are correspondence, minutes, reports, constitution and by-laws, and newsletters. He heavily involved with the organizations between 1981 and 1991 after his retirement from Episcopal Church.

Series 4: Personal File
Boxes 11-14 1922-1991

This series including various subjects relating to Rev. Berg's activities. Including in this collection are correspondence, awards, certificates, diplomas, program books, membership cards, diaries, and journal. Class assignments and journal written by Rev. Berg while he was in college between 1935 and 1938 are included. Also including in this series are diaries kept by Rev. Berg written between 1947 and 1959 relating to church activities and travels. Two elementary school grade reports between 1922 and 1924 are including in this collection. Obituary of Rev. Berg is included.

Folders Lists

Box Folder Title of Folder Date
1 1 All Angels’ Mission to the Deaf—100th Anniversary 1959
1 2 Apostles’ Creed, by The Rev. Otto B. Berg n.d.
1 3 Article on Sacrifice and Baptism 1985
1 4 Articles of Incorporation—C.C.W.A.D./E.C.D. 1986
1 5 Bible Study 1978-1988
1 6 Blueprints—Architectural, Mechanical and Electrical for St. Barnabas’ Mission 1960
1 7 Booklet—St Luke’s Chapel f/t Deaf, Lebanon 1973
1 8 Booklets—Baptism and Confirmations n.d.
1 9 Brochures/Pamphlets 1962-1985
1 10 Certificate by District Court of the U.S. for the D.C. to perform as an Episcopal priest 1944
1 11 Charismatic Conferences, Pittsburgh 1980
1 12 Christ Church, Alexandria, VA—Directory 1985
1 13 Christ Church Mission to the Deaf 1982-1986
1 14 Christ Church Mission—Correspondence 1982-1986
1 15 The Church of England Council f/t Deaf 1972
1 16 Church Pension Fund/Social Security 1978-1990
1 17 Community Service Center f/t Hearing Impaired 1973-1979
1 18 C.C.W.A.D.—Advisory Committee 1969
1 19 Correspondence—Andeweg, Father A. J. 1987-1995
1 20 Correspondence—Children, Inc. 1977-1991
1 21 Correspondence—C.C.W.A.D. 1957-1966
1 22 Correspondence—C.C.W.A.D. 1967
1 23 Correspondence—Diocese of Washington 1946-1991
2 1 Correspondence—General 1943-1990
2 2 Correspondence—The Link International and Father Andeweg 1978-1993
2 3 Correspondence—Malik, Bishop Ghais Abdel 1979-1991
2 4 Correspondence—Ondiek, Rev. Joseph 1979-1991
2 5 Correspondence relating to a book on Rev. Thomas Gallaudet and Rev. H. W. Syle 1988-1990
2 6 Correspondence—Semi-Annual Reports to Diocese of Washington 1974-1978
2 7 The Deaf Churchman—Acknowledgements 1960-1987
2 8 The Deaf Episcopalian/The Deaf Churchman 1966-1991
2 9 The Deaf Episcopalian—Microfilm 1986-1987
2 10 Diary of Joseph M. Ondiek 1981
3 1 Episcopal Church f/t Deaf Advisory Committee Minutes and Reports 1960-1969
3 2 E.C.D.—Board Minutes 1966-1969
3 3 E.C.D.—Booklets 1961-1972
3 4 E.C.D.—Constitution and By-Laws 1966-1971
3 5 E.C.D.—Convention—Correspondence 1990-1991
3 6 E.C.D.—Convention—Program books 1972-1983
3 7 E.C.D.—Correspondence 1981-1983
3 8 E.C.D.—Correspondence related to History Project 1979-1994
3 9 E.C.D.—Historiographer—Correspondence 1970-1990
3 10 E.C.D.—Historiographer’s Reports 1981-1990
3 11 E.C.D.—Lay Readers’ Sermons n.d.
3 12 E.C.D.—Liturgical Committee—Materials 1966-1982
3 13 E.C.D.—Memorandums 1978-1983
3 14 Fellowship of St. John 1978-1991
3 15 Good Friday Ecumenical Services 1970-1983
3 16 Installation of Rev. Henry Knox Sherrill 1947
4 1 Index cards of Episcopal Members 1949-1960
4 2 Index cards of Episcopal Members n.d.
4 3 Index cards of Episcopal Members n.d.
4 4 Letter and brochures—Sutcliffe, Rev. T. H. 1962
4 5 Lists of Episcopal Members 1958-1980
4 6 Marriage of Mike Cardinal & Mary Jo Verschay 1987-1990
4 7 A Missionary Chronicle—Letters 1984-1991
4 8 A Missionary Chronicle—Sales of 1984-1990
4 9 Newsletters 1976-1986
4 10 Newsletters—Agape (Mission o/t Holy Spirit) 1984-1986
4 11 Newsletters—All Souls’ News 1948-1950
4 12 Newsletters—All Souls’ Church f/t Deaf 1991
4 13 Newsletters—Christ Church Mission t/t Deaf 1981-1984
4 14 Newsletters—The Church Review 1941-1942
4 15 Newsletters—Ephphatha Epistle 1991
4 16 Newsletters—E.C.D. Monthly Newsletter 1980-1991
5 1 Newsletters—Episcopal Cursillo 1985-1992
5 2 Newsletters—Holy Trinity Newsletter 1986-1992
5 3 Newsletters—The Messenger (St. Barnabas) 1967-1986
5 4 Newsletters—No Name Newsletter 1986
5 5 Newsletters—St. Ann’s Church f/t Deaf 1991
5 6 Newsletters—Signs of the Cross 1985
5 7 Newsletters—The Silent Missionary (Photocopy  1886-1892 (part 1) 1987
5 8 Newsletters—The Silent Missionary (Photocopy) 1886-1892 (part 2) 1987
5 9 Office of Campus Ministries at Gallaudet 1966-1983
5 10 Pamphlet—The Church Ministry to the Deaf In the United States by Steve L Mathis 1954
5 11 Paper-Religious Education and Personality Development in Deaf People by Frank Weldon n.d.
5 12 Report-The Church’s Mission Among the Hearing Impaired: A Preliminary Appraisal by John  Lowe 1962
5 13 Retreats 1976-1983
5 14 Rev. Charles Price—The Psalms 1961
6 1 St. Barnabas’ Mission to the Deaf 1963-1992
6 2 St. Barnabas’ Mission—Program books 1985-1986
6 3 St. Barnabas’ Mission—Program books 1991-1993
6 4 St. Barnabas’ Protestant Episcopal Mission For the Deaf—Constitution & By-Laws 1930
6 5 St. John’s Mortgage Burning 1977
6 6 Script for film on portions of prayers and the Holy Communion 1967
6 7 Sermons 1943-1949
6 8 Sermons 1950-1952
6 9 Sermons 1951-1963
6 10 Sermons 1953-1958
7 1 Sermons 1959-1964
7 2 Sermons 1963-1989
7 3 Sermons 1964-1966
7 4 Sermons 1965-1969
7 5 Sermons 1970-1987
7 6 Sermons 1983
7 7 Sermons n.d.
7 8 Sermons n.d.
8 1 Sermons n.d.
8 2 Sermons n.d.
8 3 Sermons n.d.
8 4 Sermon by Rev. Jay Croft on Gallaudet/Syle 1989
8 5 Sermon—Elizabeth Moss Osborne 1978
8 6 Sermon given at Jesus Light of the World Church, Cairo, Egypt n.d.
8 7 Washington Episcopal Deaf-Mute Mission- Guild-Minute book 1909-1911
8 8 Weddings, Baptisms, etc 1951-1980
8 9 Christian Deaf Community n.d.
8 10 The Christian Deaf Community at Blumenstein, Switzerland n.d.
8 11 City of Philadelphia—Annual Reports 1948-1949
8 12 Elam Sprenkle—Live Steam Locomotives 1975-1978
8 13 Grabill Scholarship Fund 1986-1992
8 14 Grabill, Wilson H. 1945-1983
8 15 Herdtfelder, August P.—Biography 1976-1988
8 16 Landyshev Papers 1967-1968
8 17 Newsletter—Washington United Methodist Church of the Deaf 1985-1990
8 18  “Overflow Verses” by Agatha Tiegel Hanson 1972
8 19 The Poems of Edward Alden Trainor, Sr. 1977
8 20  U.S. Immigration Law—Lebanon 1980
9 1 Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf 1967
9 2 Deaf Pride, Inc 1979-1989
9 3 Deaf Pride, Inc—By-Laws 1979
9 4 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—Constitution & By-Laws 1983
9 5 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—Correspondence 1983-1988
9 6 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—Convention 1983
9 7 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—General 1983-1987
9 8 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—Membership Lists 1983-1986
9 9 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—Memorandums 1983-1986
9 10 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—Minutes and Agendas 1983-1986
9 11 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—National Association o/t Deaf 1983-1985
9 12 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—Newsletters 1983-1984
9 13 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—Special Meeting: re: Lopez 1985
9 14 D.C.A.D.C., Inc—Treasurer’s Reports 1983-1986
9 15 G.U.A.A.—DC Chapter 1981-1988
9 16 Metro Washington Association o/t Deaf, Inc 1987
9 17 National Fraternal Society of the Deaf 1951-1971
9 18 N.F.S.D.—Washington Division #46 1962
9 19 N.F.S.D.—Washington Division #46 1989-1990
9 20 N.F.S.D.—Washington Div. #46—Newsletters 1980-1983
10 1 National Health-Care Foundation f/t Deaf, Inc. 1973-1990
10 2 N.H.C.F.D. Inc.—Newsletters 1977-1990
10 3 National Literary Society for the Deaf—Constitution and By-Laws 1966-1972
10 4 National Literary Society for the Deaf—History 1982
10 5 Newsletters—Out of the Clatterbox 1983-1987
10 6 Newsletters—Voice of the MAD (Maryland Association for the Deaf) 1982
10 7 Telecommunications Exchange for the Deaf, Inc. 1986-1991
10 8 T.E.D.I., Inc.—Board Meeting Minutes 1987-1991
10 9 T.E.D.I., Inc.—Correspondence 1987-1990
11 1 T.E.D.I. Tales by Rev. Otto B. Berg 1987-1988
11 2 T.E.D.I. Regional Advisory Council—General 1985-1987
11 3 T.E.D.I. Regional Advisory Council—General 1985-1987
11 4 Virginia Association of the Deaf 1952-1981
11 5 Volunteer Services for the Deaf 1979-1984
11 6 Washington Episcopal Clergy Association 1971-1991
11 7 Washington Metropolitan Deaf Alliance, Inc. 1980-1981
11 8 Address Books    Part 1 1947-1980
11 9 Address Books    Part 2 1947-1980
11 10 Airlines Tickets 1979-1988
11 11 Awards 1936-1977
11 12 Baseball Official Score Card—Washington Baseball Club 1934
11 13 Blueprint—Alternation of Porch and Steps at The Residence of Rev. Otto B. Berg 1964
11 14 Booklet—A Pictorial Pilgrimage to the Cathedral of St. John’s, New York City 1936
12 1 Certificate—Confirmation 1939
12 2 Certificate—Pupil’s Voluntary Reading Course 1927
12 3 Class Assignments—Astronomy 1938
12 4 Class Assignments—Analytics 1935-1936
12 5 Class Assignments—Calculus 1936-1937
12 6 Class Assignments—English 1938
12 7 Class Assignments—Psychology n.d.
12 8 Class Assignments—Test—Surveying 1935
12 9 Columbia Typographical Union—Constitution & By-Laws 1964
12 10 Commencement Exercises Program—North Dakota School for the Deaf 1932
12 11 Correspondence—Personal 1947-1991
12 12 Correspondence—Personal 1946-1979
12 13 Correspondence—Personal 1980-1983
12 14 Correspondence—Personal 1984-1987
12 15 Correspondence—Personal 1984-1991
13 1 Daily Page by Otto B Berg 1935-1938
13 2 Diaries 1947-1949
13 3 Diaries 1950-1954
13 4 Diaries 1955-1959
13 5 Diploma—Gallaudet University 1986
13 6 Diploma—North Dakota School for the Deaf 1932
13 7 Diploma—Public School, North Dakota 1928
13 8 D C Real Property Assessments 1980-1991
13 9 Driver’s Licenses 1990
13 10 Financial Statements from Norway 1939-1946
13 11 Gallaudet College—Chicago Alumni 1942
13 12 Gallaudet College—Commencement Programs 1934-1938
13 13 Gallaudet College/University 1964-1990
13 14 Gallaudet Encyclopedia 1985-1986
13 15 Genealogy n.d.
13 16 The George Washington University Federalist 1958
13 17 Grades Reports—Gallaudet College 1934-1938
13 18 Guest Book—Housewarming 1958-1959
13 19 Hand Alphabets 1953
13 20 Hazel’s Parliamentary Chart 1938
14 1 Kappa Gamma Fraternity 1936-1987
14 2 Letter—Barbara Bush 1989
14 3 Letter—Donald N. Langenberg 1991
14 4 Letters—Personal 1934-1936
14 5 Letters—Harry E. Polk, Williston Daily Herald 1936-1938
14 6 Letters—Cadwallader L. Washburn 1938
14 7 Literature/Poems n.d.
14 8 Materials relating to Rev. Berg’s Ordination 1940-1944
14 9 Membership Cards 1956-1995
14 10 The New Testaments with Psalms 1943
14 11 Newspaper—Renville County Farmer, Mohall, ND 1951
14 12  “O” Street Lot Transaction 1984-1990
14 13 Obituaries—Clippings 1979-1986
14 14 Obituary of Rev. Otto B. Berg 1991
14 15 Personal 1945-1990
14 16 Personal Profile 1971
14 17 Personality Study and Life History of Stanley Firrah 1941-1942
14 18 Philadelphia Divinity School 1940-1974
14 19 The Pocket Gospel of St. John n.d.
14 20 Report Cards—Public Schools, North Dakota 1922-1924
14 21 Rev Berg’s Comments on Answering Service For the Deaf 1980-1982
14 22 Visitor’s Passes to Congress 1970

 

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