Billy Graham Center

Interviews of Harold Paul Adolph - Collection 169

[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)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)
    Audio Tapes

Audio file and written transcript for T1

Audio file and written transcript for T2

Brief Description.
Tapes of two interviews about Adolph's boyhood in China, his education at Wheaton College, and his activities in Ethiopia as a medical missionary. Interviews were recorded on 1/14/81 and 1/21/81. These tapes are part of the Missionary Sources Collection. For more infor- mation, please see guide.
Vol: 2 audio tapes

Collection 169
[February 26, 2000]
Adolph, Harold; 1932-
Interviews; 1981

2 reels of audio tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Harold Adolph was born in China to Dr. and Mrs. Paul Adolph, American missionaries serving with China Inland Mission. In 1940, during World War II, the family returned to the United States but were back in China in 1948. Soon, however, they had to leave again when CIM ordered all its missionaries out of the mainland because of the Communist takeover. In 1950, Harold enrolled in Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL. There he met his future wife, Bonnie Jo Adelsman. After receiving his undergraduate degree in 1954, he went to the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received his M.D. in 1958. He took his internship in the Canal Zone in Panama and then served in the Navy. After his period of service was up in 1966, he went to Ethiopia with his wife and family (he and Bonnie had two children) as missionaries of the Sudan Interior Mission. Almost all of his eight years were spent as a doctor at Soddo Mission Hospital. Because of the political and social upheaval in Ethiopia, Harold had to leave Ethiopia in 1974. He returned to Wheaton with his wife and set up a private practice.

Scope and Content

The Interviews with Harold Adolph were conducted by Wheaton College student Daniel Mercer on January 14 and 21, 1981. The dates covered by the interview were 1932-1981. The topics covered by the interviews are listed below. 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 the reel-to-reel original. The boldfaced entries are intended to highlight the topics covered in the interview.

Tape T1 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:00 Introduction
01:15 Decision to go to China
03:00 Growing up in China
03:45 "All of China was poor"
04:30 Work of Adolph's father in China
06:30 Leaving China in 1940
07:30 The effect of mission life on children
08:45 Rebellion among missionary children; advantages of being a missionary's child; disadvantages; culture shock
15:15 Missionary kids in national schools
16:00 Importance of furloughs for the missionary family
18:30 Pre-furlough blues; planning the furlough
21:00 Culture shock
23:45 Ancestry and family
26:15 Sino-Japanese war; life in occupied China; losing everything
30:45 Returning to China in 1948
31:45 Condition of China after the war
34:45 Spiritual condition of China in 1948
38:00 Leaving China for the last time
40:00 Decision to attend Wheaton
40:45 Activities at Wheaton
43:00 Special services at Wheaton; other experiences
45:00 End of side 1

Tape T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
01:00 V. Raymond Edman
03:45 Changes in Wheaton College over the years
07:15 Effect of the years spent at Wheaton on Adolph's dedication to mission work
09:45 Marriage
10:15 Medical school at the University of Pennsylvania
12:15 Preparation for medical school
13:15 Choosing a mission board
15:30 Preparation for the mission field
17:00 End of T1

Tape T2 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:30 Introduction
01:00 Preparation after medical school; work in the Canal Zone; types of medical problem in the Canal Zone
02:45 Leprosy
03:00 Joining the Sudan Interior Mission; arrival in Africa
05:45 First impressions of Ethiopia
06:00 The Woleyte tribe
09:00 Satanic activity in the area
11:00 Physical characteristics of the area
12:00 Patients at Soddo Mission Hospital
14:00 Foot diseased
15:00 Introduction to Soddo Mission Hospital; Nathan Barlow
15:45 Construction of the hospital
17:00 Hospital staff
19:15 Opportunities to preach the Gospel
20:45 Relations with government; opinion of Haile Selassie.
23:15 Effect of the conflict in Eritrea
24:45 Languages of Ethiopia; Amharic
26:15 Obtaining water and other necessities
30:00 Food supply
33:15 Spare time activities
36:00 Jealousies
37:00 Working relations with other missionaries; fellowship with other missionaries and with Africans
42:45 Historical development of American missions in Ethiopia
45:00 End of side 1

Tape T2 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of side 2
00:05 Recap of side 1
01:00 Religious composition of Ethiopia; activities of Christians
02:15 Relations between American missionaries and Coptic Christians; conversion of Moslems
04:45 The presentation of the Gospel to animists
07:30 Training of local church leaders
09:30 Personal illness that required greater dependence on God
11:15 Miracles
12:30 Contact with Ethiopians since the return to the United States
13:30 Persecution of Christians in Ethiopia
15:00 Problems of the church in Ethiopia
16:45 Woleylen evangelists
17:45 Changes in the hospital over the years; plans for building a new hospital
23:30 Story of Ato Bogala
33:45 Animal husbandry
35:00 Adaption of the Adolph's children to Ethiopia
37:30 Causes of the revolution in Ethiopia; results of the revolution
39:15 Conflicts with university students; impact of the revolution
40:45 Comparison with other Marxist revolutions; land reform
43:00 Attitude of elite groups to Haile Selassie
44:30 Return to the United States
49:15 Work with the Christian Medical Society
50:45 Opinion of the relationship between evangelism and social work
53:00 End of tape

The materials in this collection were received by the Center in January 1981 from Harold Adolph.

Accession #81-10

December 7, 1981
Robert Shuster
J. Nasgowitz

Accession: 81-10
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 62 minutes. One side only. Interview with Harold Adolph by Daniel Mercer. Discussion of Adolph's youth in China, his parent's work, missionary children, furloughts, condition of China in 1948, education at Wheaton College, medical education at University of Pennslyvania and decision of becoming a missionary. Recorded on January 14, 1981.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 96 minutes. One side only. Interview with Harold Adolph by Daniel Mercer. Discussion of service with Sudan Interior Mission in Ethiopia, impressions of the country, American missions in Ethiopia, evangelistic work and the Christian church in Ethiopia, Ato Bogala, family life on the mission field, and work with the Christian Medical Society. Recorded on January 21, 1981.

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Last Revised: 2/26/00
Expiration: indefinite