Billy Graham Center

Papers of Marian Gold Chapman - Collection 134

[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. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions


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

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

Brief Description.
Prayer letters written by Chapman, a missionary with Latin America Mission in Cartagena, Colombia (1957-1975); Bogota, New Jersey (1975-1977), and Coral Gables, Florida (1977-1979). The letters (1957-1992) describe educational, financial, and administrative work with a girls' school, administration for LAM in Colombia, personal concerns about the cultural customs, political unrest, and personal health. Also includes an oral history with Chapman in which she describes her family, conversion, religious background, education at Wheaton College, teaching at Wheaton Academy, work with the Latin America Mission at a girls' school in Cartegena, local church participation, experiences as interim field administrator and field treasurer, language training, persecution of Protestants and work in largely Catholic Colombia, LAM restructuring and Community of Latin American Evangelical Ministries, participation in the Wayne State Inter-Varsity group, Evangelism-in-Depth, role of women in church and mission, cooperation among the missions, and colleagues.

Collection 134
[July 27, 2004]
Chapman, Marian Gold; 1922-
Papers; 1957-1993
1 Box (DC; .4 cubic feet), Audio Tapes, Photograph


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Marian Chapman was born on July 20, 1922 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to John C. and Madge (Corwin) Chapman. John was an architect and in 1931 the family moved to Detroit.

Marian graduated from Detroit Central High School in June of 1940 and then went on to Wayne State University in 1941. During 1942 and 1943 she attended Detroit Business University, after which she worked several years as a stenographer. In 1946 she began studies at Wheaton College, from which she graduated in 1948 with a B.S. in math education. While at Wheaton, Miss Chapman was a member of Women's Glee Club, Sigma Pi Sigma, Foreign Missions Fellowship, and attended the nondenominational College Church, although her family background was Methodist.

During the 1948-49 school year, Marian taught at Montrose School in New Jersey. In 1949 Marian moved back to Wheaton to teach at Wheaton Academy, where she eventually became registrar.

In 1957 Marian was accepted by Latin America Mission (LAM) as a missionary to Cartagena, Colombia, where she worked in the Girl's Secondary School, a local church, and served as field treasurer and interim field administrator during her 18 years on the field.

Marian terminated her work in Colombia in January of 1975 and joined the LAM staff in New Jersey. In 1977 she moved with LAM headquarters to Coral Gables, Florida, and in June 1978 became Assistant to the President of LAM Publications. In February 1984 Marian returned to LAM headquarters serving in a few different secretarial positions.

Scope and Content

This collection contains a series of forty-one prayer letters written from Cartagena, Colombia, New Jersey, and Florida by Marian Chapman to supporters in the United States while she was serving Latin America Mission (LAM). Also included are a biographical sketch and a prayer reminder sent out by LAM.

The letters are dated from July 15, 1957, to January 1979 and contain accounts of acceptance as an LAM missionary, arrival in Colombia, adjustments to culture, surprise at the widespread influence of Catholicism, teaching experiences in Cartagena Secondary School, ministry in the Buen Pastor Church, concern over lack of national workers, work as interim Field Administrator after the death of Dick Wolcott, and health problems which contributed to her return to the U.S. in 1975.

There are descriptions of residency and visa problems, her 1959 language studies in Costa Rica, the political turmoil of Colombia in the 1950s and 1960s, 1961 financial problems of the Cartagena school, increased enrollment and construction of new buildings for the school, her teaching of music and piano, preparation for evangelistic campaigns, and work with Evangelism in Depth.

Mention is also made of the 1958 Billy Graham Panama Crusade, the death of Marian's mother, persecution by Communist guerrillas including the death of co-worker Ernie Fowler, the visit of the ship S. S. Hope, visits from Ellen Thompson, the Latin American Community of Evangelical Ministries, furloughs in 1960, 1962-63, 1965, 1969, 1973, her work with LAM upon returning to the U.S. in 1975, and the influence of Charles Troutman on her life.

From 1970 to 1978 the letters were printed by Missionary Letters, Inc.

Marian Gold Chapman was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on January 15, 1993, at the LAM headquarters in Miami, Florida. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1940-1993. The boldfaced entries are intended to highlight the topics covered in the interview. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to a cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

T1 - side 1

00:00 Beginning of tape

00:45 Introduction to interview

01:15 Birth, family, Methodist background

02:45 Initial attendance at Wayne State University, transfer to Wheaton College

04:00 Inter-Varsity at Wayne State University, Inter-Varsity leader Charles Troutman, C. Stacey Woods, size of group

10:45 Personal conversion at a concert given by Homer Rodeheaver when about nine or ten years old, remembrances of Rodeheaver

12:15 Missions-related church activities, early interest in missions through mother, interest continuing through college, focus on China

15:30 Four-year break between freshman and sophomore years to help support family and comfort parents from brother's death; secretarial school

18:00 Impressions of Wheaton College, Women's Glee Club, Foreign Mission Fellowship, Spanish studies, influential professors: Angeline Brandt, Dr. Merrill Tenney, Dr. Marian J. Downey, Mrs. Mignon B. MacKenzie

25:00 Remembrances of Jim Elliot, Elizabeth Howard (Elliot), and Dave Howard as students

27:45 Teaching experience after graduation: one year at Montrose School in New Jersey, seven years at Wheaton Academy; variety of tasks

32:15 Initial contact with Latin America Mission (LAM) at Montrose School, William Thompson

37:00 Death of Jim Elliot stirred her up to apply to LAM; application process, fund-raising

41:45 Orientation at Camp-of-the-Woods, reasons for attraction to LAM

44:00 End of tape

T1 - side 2

00:00 Beginning of tape

00:05 Overlap with side 1

00:45 Continuation of side 1

01:30 Sent to Cartagena, Colombia to replace Field Treasurer going on furlough; involvement also at girls' school, teaching English on the side

07:15 First impressions of Colombia, character of Cartagena, ease of adjustment because of upbringing

09:30 Language school at San Jose

12:30 Return to Cartagena as director of girls' school, problems with students and teachers

14:45 Comparisons of American and Colombian students

16:45 Remnants of persecution of Evangelicals in Colombia: visa difficulties, field director Ernie Fowler killed by Indians

20:30 Key Latin leaders at Cartagena schools; change of leadership to Latins, ratio of Latin to gringo faculty

24:00 End of tape

T2 - side 1

00:00 Beginning of tape

00:45 Continuation of interview on T1

01:00 School director Orlando Hernandez

02:15 Local church involvement in Colombia; present growth of the church, church music and piano Lessons, pastors, people's expectations of missionaries

09:00 Return to job as Field Treasurer, extensive use of earlier business classes; initial lack of Catholic-Protestant interaction, influence of Vatican II

13:00 Turning over of mission leadership to Latins (Orlando Hernandez), response of missionaries; Community of Latin American Evangelical Ministries (CLAME), administrative work, cooperation

19:00 Return to United States because of illness in 1975, success of Latin leaders, financial problems at the Cartagena school, later improvements with growth

25:30 Sudden death of director Dick Wolcott in 1971, effects on the missionaries and nationals, support of friends; Chapman takes over as interim director, working with Charles Troutman and Dave Howard; vacation spots for missionaries

32:30 Evangelism-in-Depth involvement, quality and impact of program, leaders

37:45 Leadership role of women in Colombian church, relations between Protestant denominations, positive role of women in LAM

43:30 End of tape

T2 - side 2

00:00 Beginning of tape

00:10 Overlap from side 1

01:30 Memories of Ernie Fowler, story of his murder

05:30 Work at home office in New Jersey, memories of boss Reed Miller, office move to Coral Gables; work at LAM Publications, financial problems and cut-backs, present status

18:30 Various jobs at home office: Church Ministries Department, Personnel

20:00 End of tape

T3 - side 1

00:00 Beginning of tape

00:45 Continuation of T2

01:00 Work in Personnel Department

02:15 Summer workers at Cartagena, advantages and disadvantages of short-term missions, qualifications and preparation for missions, Chapman's personal feelings of inadequacy

08:45 Writing prayer letters, change of communication style in missions

10:30 Difficulties in Personnel Department, conflicts with administrative policy

12:15 Activities in Florida: planned move to retirement home, handbell choir at church, impact of Hurricane Andrew

16:00 One short return to Colombia in 1978, unsure of desire to return again

17:00 Good qualities of LAM: family atmosphere, LAM view of marriage

22:00 Mike Berg, consequences of having former president still working in the office

26:15 Memories of Paul Pretiz and Dayton Roberts

29:30 End of tape



The letters in this collection were given to the Archives by Miss Chapman in October 1979 and January 1993. The tapes were received in February 1993 on the occasion of the interview.

Accession: 79-124, 93-8

July 2, 1980
Gerald Lynch
M. Buffington
S. Kouns

May 11, 1995
Mark Congdon
P. Ericksen

Accession: 93-22
July 27, 2004, updated
Christian Sawyer

Accession 93-8
Type of material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE. Request by the T# at the beginning of each entry below.

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 68 minutes. One side. Interview with Marian Gold Chapman by Paul Ericksen, February 15, 1993. Discussion of childhood, schooling at Wheaton College, move to Colombia under LAM, and key people and events in Colombia.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 63 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T1. Discussion of Catholic-Protestant interaction, CLAME, Evangelism-in-Depth, the role of women in Colombia, and work at LAM Publications.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 30 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T2. Discussion of short-term missions, communication in missions, and memories of Mike Berg, Paul Pretiz, and Dayton Roberts.


Accession 93-22
Type of material: Photographs

The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE. Request by the folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.

CHAPMAN, MARIAN GOLD. One color photo of Marian Gold Chapman with note from Paul and Carol Landrey on back, 1990.

Box Folder Item
Prayer Letters
1 1 July, 1957 - December, 1959
1 2 July, 1960 - October, 1964
1 3 February, 1965 - August, 1969
1 4 March, 1970 - November, 1974
1 5 September, 1975 - January, 1979
1 6 November, 1979 - January, 1992

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Last Revised: 7/27/04
Expiration: indefinite