Billy Graham Center

Interview of Bruce Finley Hunt - Collection 104

[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. All of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

Since we are migrating our website to a new platform, we will no longer be updating this earlier version our site. Please visit our Archon database for online guide descriptions. In early 2018, look for our new site, currently under construction, linked in the BGC Archives section on the Library and Archives page. (12/11/2017)

Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Bruce Finley Hunt

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

Lists of Audio Tapes in this Collection (Location Records)
    Audio Tapes


Audio file and written transcript for T1

Audio file and written transcript for T2

Audio file and written transcript for T3

Audio file and written transcript for T4

Audio file and written transcript for T5

Collection 104
[September 20, 2002]
Hunt, Bruce Finley; 1903-1992
Interviews; 1980, 1982
5 reels of tape

Brief Description
Oral history interviews in which Hunt discusses his boyhood in Korea, college and seminary education at Wheaton College, Rutgers University and Princeton Seminary; a portion (1928-1942) of his missionary work in Korea and Manchuria; and his impressions of Korean culture.


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.



Bruce Hunt was born in Pyeng Yang, Korea, on June 4, 1903, the son of Presbyterian missionaries William Brewster and Bertha Violet Finley Hunt. He grew up in Korea and attended the Pyeng Yang Foreign School. In 1919, he came to the United States and lived with relatives in St. Louis, MO, for a brief time before enrolling as a Greek major in Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL. In his senior year, his parents came to the United States on furlough and, since they were living in Princeton, NJ, he transferred to Rutgers University so that he could stay with them. He graduated from Rutgers in 1924 with an A.B. He worked in Maine for a summer for the Presbyterian church and then enrolled in Princeton Seminary. After graduating in 1928, he returned to Korea as a missionary under the Presbyterian board of Foreign Missions in the U.S.A., but shortly afterwards switched to the Independent Board for Foreign Missions because of that board's defense of a conservative interpretation of the Bible. In later years, because of a procedural dispute, Hunt left the Independent Board and came under the Orthodox Presbyterian missionary organization.

Hunt's first station after he returned to Korea was Chungju. He spent seven years there, dividing his time between attendance at language school and visiting Korean churches for which he was responsible. While in Chungju, he became engaged to Katherine Blair, a teacher at a mission school, and they were married before they both returned to the United States for furlough in 1935. They were to have five children: Lois, Bertha, Katharine, David, and Mary.

Hunt attended Westminster Seminary during his furlough when he and Katherine returned to the United States. After a year's leave, the Hunt family moved to Harbin in Manchuria where Hunt continued to work among Koreans. When the Japanese satellite state of Manchuko was set up, Christians were increasingly pressured by the government to participate in rites of Shintoism, which included worship of Japan and the Japanese emperor. Hunt and other missionaries were arrested by the Japanese in 1941 for their refusal to accept this practice, just as Korean pastors had been arrested earlier because of their resistance. He was released briefly but then was arrested again after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He and his family were exchanged along with other civilian internees in August, 1942, and went to Philadelphia to live with his parents for a year. For the rest of the war, he worked with the Orthodox Presbyterian churches on the west coast of the United States.

In 1946, Hunt returned to Korea, this time to Pusan, the town which remained his base and his family's home for the rest of his period of service. By 1947, he was on the faculty of Korea Theological Seminary, a new Presbyterian school in Pusan. Besides teaching, Hunt's time was occupied with evangelism trips and Bible conference work. Kathy Hunt, his wife, handled the mission's relief work correspondence and taught at a local college. In later years, Hunt taught at Koryu and Pusan Hap Dong Seminary. In July, 1976, the Hunts retired from the Korean mission field and moved to Abingdon, PA. Hunt died on July 26, 1992 in Quarryville, PA, and his wife Katharine on December 8, 1994.

Scope and Content

Bruce Finley Hunt was interviewed by Robert Shuster on March 22 and May 21, 1980 and October 16, 2002 in Abington, PA and Wheaton, IL. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to the cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

Tape T1 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
00:30 Birth place in Korea
00:45 Parents' background
02:15 Childhood in Korea
03:00 Childhood friends
03:45 Places lived in Korea
04:45 Missionary activity of father, William Brewster Hunt
06:15 Evangelistic function of father, church planting in Korea
07:15 Korean Bible Conference church organization
08:45 Search the Scriptures meetings
09:45 1907 Korean revival, religious literature distribution
13:15 Korean Christians and the top notch
15:15 Buddhist ethics in conjunction with Christianity
16:15 Lack of anti-missionary attitudes in Korea
17:00 More on playmates
17:45 Difficulties of traveling in Korea
18:15 Catholics persecuted in 1850, work of Gutzlaff and Thomas
19:15 Japanese-Korean conflicts
20:30 Missionary boarding school, the Chinese in Korea, the China trade
21:30 Japanese-Korean conflict, impressions of the Japanese army
24:30 Russian-Japanese War, 1905
24:45 Missionary outreach to Japanese in Korea
25:45 Learning the Japanese language, pressure on Koreans to learn Japanese
27:00 Korean nationalist movement
29:30 Dangers of political involvement for the Korean church
31:00 Effect of Japanese annexation on Christians in Korea
31:45 Opposition to liberation theology in Korea by missionaries
32:30 Korean missions movement and the West
35:00 Presbyterian and Methodist competition in Korea, Christian education, William Baird
38:15 Education of Hunt; learning Korean
39:00 Nature of Korean language
39:45 Communicating the Gospel in Korean, critique of cross-cultural theory
41:30 Boarding school and home education, learning Korean writing
43:00 The elder Hunt and the Korean people
44:15 More ideas on cross-cultural communication
45:00 Boarding school experience
47:00 End of side 1

Tape T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:15 1919 demonstration for Korean independence
04:15 Witnessing a nationalist demonstration in Pyeng Yang in 1919
07:45 Acceptance of Christ
08:00 Buchman movement, moral rearmament
08:45 Missionary prayer meetings
09:30 Prominent relations in U.S.
10:30 Robert Evans' pastoral work in U.S.
11:00 Invitation to live with relatives in U.S.
12:00 Admission to Wheaton, Howell Evans
13:15 Conversion experience, the character of students at Wheaton
17:30 End of tape

Tape T2 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape and continuation of interview
00:15 Adapting to American life
01:30 Deciding on a life's work; transfer to Rutgers
03:00 Spiritual atmosphere in Wheaton campus; street preaching
04:45 Charles Blanchard; preaching style
07:00 Dr. George H. Smith
07:15 Football team
08:15 Dr. Darian A. Straw, Dr. Simeon J. Bole
10:15 Sports activities; understanding football
12:00 Academic atmosphere at Wheaton
13:45 Effect of Wheaton education on later missionary work
15:45 "A good Christian can be a good missionary"
16:15 American awareness of Korea; attitude toward missions to Korea
18:00 Attitudes of American Christians to missionaries, doubtful value of contextualization
19:30 Beltonians
21:30 Intramural sports; cheerleading; cross-country; other activities at Wheaton
25:30 Attendance at Princeton; J. Gresham Machan
26:15 Travel to Maine as a Bible School worker for the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.; building confidence
28:30 Reasons for attending Princeton Seminary; applying to be a missionary
30:00 Impressions of J. Gresham Machen
33:30 Tensions at Princeton Seminary in 1929; liberal and conservative split on the Presbyterian mission board
36:30 Formation of the League of Evangelical Students
37:45 Carl McIntire
38:15 Difference between the Seminary split in 1929 and the church split in 1936; liberalism of the mission board; formation of the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions
44:15 Split between Machen and McIntire; resigning from the Independent board
46:07 End of interview

Tape T3 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:30 Preparing for work as a missionary
02:00 Interview process of the Presbyterian Mission board; Auburn Affirmation disputes between liberals and conservatives
05:45 Travel to Korea
07:00 Arrival in Korea, language problems, modernization
10:15 Assignment in Chungju
12:00 Language school; curriculum
14:00 Usefulness of material learned at language school
14:45 Seoul; Japanese in the city, relations between Koreans and Japanese
17:30 The Korean government in exile
18:45 Strategy of the northern Korean Presbyterian board; John L. Nevius and the New Method
26:30 Practices of the Independent board of Missions; the use of money
29:00 Financial support of the United Presbyterians in the U.S.A.
29:45 Problems of the church in Chungju; attitude of the aristocrats to the church
32:45 Mission station personnel, women's Bible conferences
36:00 Nurturing new churches
37:30 Order of service on Korea
38:45 Visiting churches, baptism, checking the rolls, preparing new converts
43:45 Learning to read the Bible; baptism and communion
48:00 End of side 1

Tape T3 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:15 Evangelizing among non-Christians, church growth
02:30 Yearly Bible Institute, setting Bible conferences; personal goals; visits to non- Christian villages; starting churches
08:30 Social class of Christians; occupation of Christians
11:15 Relations with the government, travel regulations
13:15 Relations with Catholic missionaries
14:30 Conservative nature of the mission
16:15 Western culture and Korea; missionary houses
19:00 Shintoism
20:45 Japanese and church schools
24:45 Attitude of the Japanese toward the church; the conspiracy case
26:30 Buddhism and Confucianism
27:45 Buddhist ethics compared with Confucianism
33:30 Christian heresies; Lee Young Do
37:00 Departure from Chungju marriage; attendance at Westminster Seminary; joining the Independent Board
41:00 Trilingual Mission and Manchuria
42:15 Lack of knowledge about Korea on the part of Americans
44:00 End of interview

Tape T4 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:15 Introduction; his work in Harbin Manchuria with Koreans, the history of the first Protestant Christian church and missionaries in Korea
04:00 Missionary conference and reasons for working in Manchuria, the Corays, Heber McIlwaine and the Byrams, previous missionaries and their difficulty working with Koreans in Manchuria
08:30 Discussion of the 105 case, reasons for it; tensions between Korean nationalism and church involvement in politics
13:15 Hunt's views on the ethics of tentmaking; How they got into Manchuria
16:15 Government's strict religious laws and the missionaries responses to them; Emperor worship and the reasons for Hunt's imprisonment, disagreement with the Mukden presbytery
22:30 The Korean presbyteries, and their relation to the missionaries
25:30 The cosmopolitan population of Harbin, Russians, missionaries' involvement with them
27:15 How he started his missionary work in Harbin, his missions philosophy
33:30 Hunt's system of finding unchurched places in Korean countryside
37:15 Most effective way of mass evangelism for Hunt in Korea
41:45 Sa Yung Weh, Korean revival movement with emphasis on Scripture teaching
44:45 Transportation in Manchuria under the Japanese government
46:00 End of side one

Tape T4 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side one
03:00 Continuation of the discussion on transportation in Korea; Amount of time Hunt spent itinerating in the countryside
05:45 Koreans occupation in Manchuria - farming, and why they settled in Manchuria
09:15 Tensions between Chinese and Koreans
09:30 End of tape

Tape T5 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Travel to the first concentration camp in Mukden, loneliness, activities of the prisoners in camp, separation from his family
06:00 The Japanese/American prisoner exchange
08:45 Closing remarks
10:30 End of tape


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in March and May, 1980, from Bruce Hunt.

Accession 80-46, 80-70, 82-141

June 25, 1981
Robert Shuster
V. DeLong
R. Gruendyke
P. Land
J. Nasgowitz

Updated, October 16, 1995
Paul A. Ericksen
M. Congdon

Updated September 20, 2002
Robert Shuster

Accession 80-46, 80-70, 82-141
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The items listed below are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

# R/C speed length Sides Contents Dates
T1 R 64 min 1 Interview with Bruce Hunt by Robert Shuster. Discussion includes growing up in Korea as child of missionaries, evangelistic work in Korea, language studies, political situation and education at Wheaton College March 22, 1980
T2 R 46 min 1 Conclusion of interview on Tape T1 in which discussion includes education at Wheaton College, call to missionary work, education at Princeton Seminary, and Independent Board of Foreign Missions March 22, 1980
T3 R 91 min 1 Interview with Bruce Hunt by Robert Shuster. Discussion includes service as missionary to Korea with Presbyterian church, Bible Institute, church planting, and Korean-Japanese relations May 21, 1980
T4 R 56 min. 1 Interview with Bruce Hunt by Robert Shuster. Discussion includes missionary work in Manchuria, imprisonment, mission philosophy, Korean revival movement October 16, 1982
T5 R 10 min. 1 Interview with Bruce Hunt by Robert Shuster. Discussion includes concentration camp in Moocton, Japanese/American prisoner exchange October 16, 1982

Send us a message

Return to BGC Archives Home Page
Expiration: indefinite