Billy Graham Center

Papers of Charles Grandison Finney - Collection 143

[Note: The BGC Archives does not have the original documents of this collection. What it does have is a microfilm edition of the papers, which it purchased from a publisher, as did many other archives and libraries.]

[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.]

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 Charles Grandison Finney

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

List of Microfilm in This Collection (Location Records)

List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)
* * * * *
Click to go to a web page with the text of many Finney documents

Click to go to the online guide of the Charles Finney Collection at Oberlin College.

Brief Description.
Microfilm edition of originals in the Oberlin College Library. Includes incoming correspondence, sermon outlines from 1853-75, lecture outlines, and articles. Calendar and index are on reel 1. Also includes two letters relating to Finney, one dated January 6, 1845, written by Lydia to William Westervelt, describing a sermon of Finney's to which many responded. A second letter from Finney, dated January 15, 1873, was written to Brother Pierson discussing the location of Pierson's parents' residence, written for him because of Finney's poor eyesight. Two additional reels of microfilm have been added, for a total of eleven. They include correspondence and lecture and sermon outlines. A third letter was also added, dated 1929, from Jeremiah Porter to his sisters in which he describes attending a Finney service. For more information, please see guide (there is also a guide prepared by Oberlin College).
Vol: 11 Reels of Microfilm, 1 Folder

Collection 143
[November 30, 2000]
Finney, Charles Grandison; 1792-1875
Papers; 1817-1875

1 Box (DC; .2 cubic feet), 11 Reels of Microfilm


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection. However, permission to quote material from the microfilm must be obtained from:

The Secretary
Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH 44074


Charles Grandison Finney was born in Warren, Connecticut, in 1792, the son of Sylvester and Rebecca (Rice) Finney. In 1794, Finney's parents moved to Oneida County, New York. Finney was converted on October 10, 1821, studied theology with a Princeton-trained pastor, and was licensed to preach and then ordained in the Presbyterian Church.

In 1824 Finney went as missionary to the settlers of upstate New York, where revival followed under his preaching. Revivals swept through urban centers such as New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Forced by illness to curtail his travels, he became pastor of the churches in New York City, then one in Oberlin, Ohio. In 1835 he accepted appointment as professor of theology of the newly formed Oberlin Collegiate Institute (now Oberlin College). He then served as president of the College from 1851 until 1866. He became known as the "Father of Modern Revivalism." Finney died in August 1875.

[NOTE: In the Scope & Content description, the notation "folder5-2" means box 5, folder 2.]

Scope and Content

This collection includes eleven reels of microfilm made of originals in the Oberlin College Library. Included on the microfilm are correspondence, sermon and lecture outlines, and articles. A calendar and index appear on Reel 1.

Also included in the collection are three letters (folder 1-1). One, dated January 15, 1873, was written by an unidentified person for Finney, and is addressed to Brother Pierson. It concerns the location of the home of Mr. Pierson's parents and also mentions Finney's poor eyesight. The second, dated January 6, 1845, is a letter from "Lydia" to William Westervelt in which she describes Finney's preaching, the response to his altar call by almost the entire congregation, and the shame of one of her friends who did not respond. The third letter was written June 23, 1829, by Rev. Jeremiah Porter to his sisters. In it he gives a first-hand account of a revival meeting held by Rev. Charles Finney.



The materials in this collection were received by the Archives in 1980, 1984, and 1988.

Accession 84-116
Revised, February 3, 1987
Frances L. Brocker
J. Nasgowitz

Accessions 88-59, 88-131
Revised, March 4, 1997
Janyce H. Nasgowitz

Accession 84-116, 88-59
Type of Material:

One set of the items listed below are in the CENTER LIBRARY MICROFILM ROOM:
[for reels 1 through 9, listed below, there is a master negative, two copy negative reels, and two
positive reels; for reels 10 and 11, there is only one positive copy.]

Reels 1- 9 - Microfilm edition of the papers of Charles Grandison Finney; 1824-1875. Includes correspondence, sermon and lecture outlines, and articles. A calendar and index appear on reel 1. Originals are held by Oberlin College.

Reel 10 - Microfilm edition of C.G. Finney correspondence; 1830-1875. Originals are held by Oberlin College.

Reel 11 - Microfilm edition of C.G. Finney lecture notes and sermon outlines; 1872-1875, n.d. Originals are held by Oberlin College.

Box Folder Item
1 1 Correspondence; 1829, 1845, 1873

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Last Revised: 12/03/01
Expiration: indefinite