Billy Graham Center

Ephemera of William Booth - Collection 98

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent.]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of William Booth

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

Lists of Audio Tapes and Video Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)
    Audio Tapes
    Video tapes
List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description

An audio tape with excerpts from two of Booth's sermons, one of which contains a reference to Salvation Army; two autographs of Booth, one dated 1921, one undated; one video tape containing black and white photos and filmed segments of Salvation Army activities, including Booth's funeral. Also includes a brief commentary of Salvation Army history in Depression years in the United States, and activities during World War II. Included on the video tape is a 5 minute sermon by Harry Ironside, filmed at Moody Memorial Church.

Collection 98 [March 14, 2001]
Booth, William; 1829-1912
Ephemera; 1921, n.d.
1 Box (DC), Audio Tape, Video Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


William Booth was born to Samuel and Mary Booth on April 10, 1829, in Nottingham, England, the third of five children. When Booth was thirteen, his father encountered several severe financial losses coupled with what would prove to be a fatal illness. Booth was apprenticed to a local pawnbroker for whom he worked six years. Samuel Booth died later that year [unknown] after experiencing a conversion to the Christian faith.

Working in the pawnshop, Booth became increasingly aware of the needs of the poor and determined to help ease their sufferings. He was baptized into the Church of England, but broke his ties with it and joined a Wesleyan fellowship. He underwent conversion at the age of fifteen and became active in Christian work.

By 1852, Booth was preaching full-time on a Methodist circuit. During one of his services, he met his future wife, Catherine Mumford. Together they had seven children. The young couple asked the Methodist Conference repeatedly for permission to engage in full-time evangelism, but their requests were always denied. In 1861, therefore, the Booths left the circuit and set up their own work. For the next few years, Booth conducted revival services all over England in such places as Cornwall, Hayle, Cardiff, Wales, and Walsall.

The Salvation Army grew out of revival meetings held in an East London suburb in 1865. Chains of mission groups were established, though the groups often suffered physical abuse for their religious involvement. The name "Salvation Army" was officially adopted in 1878 and the group was reorganized using military terms for their workers and activities. In 1880, after the Army was incorporated in the United States, the entire organization also started wearing uniforms and music bands were also organized.

The Army became involved not only with saving souls but with social concerns--setting up homes for girls in trouble, helping convicts find jobs, conducting a prison ministry, operating homes for the aged, holding camps for the deaf, setting up Evangeline homes for Christian business women, and hospital visitation. The official publication of the Salvation Army is the War Cry, begun in 1879.

Booth continued a rigorous schedule of speaking, writing, and traveling. In 1912, Booth underwent two unsuccessful operations on his eyes. Complications arose which led to his death on August 20 of that year.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of one audio tape, one video tape, and a sheet of engraved stationery. The audio tape, T1, consists of two brief excerpts from sermons preached by Booth; no dates or locations are given, however. The video tape contains black and white photographs and filmed segments of Salvation Army activities, including Booth's funeral. A brief portion of a sermon by Harry Ironside is followed by a five-minute segment repeating the photos and films with a commentary outlining the Salvation Army's years during the 1930s depression in the United States and expansion of their services in World War II.

A piece of stationery engraved with the crest and name of the Salvation Army International Headquarters in London is signed by W. Bramwell Booth, Booth's son and in 1912 his successor as General. It is dated November, 1921.


These materials were received at the Archives in October and December 1979, November 1980, and September 1983.

Accession #79-118, 179-143, 80-147, 83-110, 84-116
February, 1980
Mary Ann Buffington
S. Kouns

Revised, May 27, 1983
Frances L. Brocker
J. Nasgowitz

Revised, April 28, 1987
Frances L. Brocker
J. Nasgowitz

Accession # 79-118, 79-143
Type of Material: Audio Tapes
The items listed below are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, about four minutes. One side only. Narrated introduction with two excerpts of the poem, "Crossing the River," read by William Booth; n.d.


Accession # 83-110
Type of Material: Video Tapes
The items listed below are located in the VIDEO TAPE FILE:

V1 - Compilation of black and white photographs and filmed segments, with music, of Salvation Army scenes; commentary on Army history during the 1930s and World War II following five-minute sermon of Harry Ironside. 23 minutes, 30 seconds; n.d.

Box Folder Item
1 1 Autograph: W(illiam) Bramwell Booth; 1921

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Last Revised: 3/23/01
Expiration: indefinite