Billy Graham Center

Papers of Ralph T. Davis - Collection 291

[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


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

List of Photographs in This Collection (Location Records)

List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description.
A group of notebooks used by Davis with summaries of biblical books to be used for sermons; sermon notes and outlines; church history, data on Africa Inland Mission, geography and worldwide cultures, hymns, and other information. There is also a photo and a few clippings concerning his career as a missionary and executive leader of AIM.

Collection 291
[May 5, 2001]
Davis, Ralph T.; -1963
Papers; 1935-1962, n.d.

2 Boxes (DC; .75 cubic feet), Photographs


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Ralph T. Davis attended Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, and there decided to become a missionary. He served in the Army in 1918, and was married the next year, 1919. In 1921 Ralph and Ellen Davis began a career as missionaries in Africa under the sponsorship of Moody Church. The Davises worked principally in the Congo, and also in South and Central Africa, until they returned to the United States in 1935.

Davis then assumed administrative duties with Africa Inland Mission, headquartered in Brooklyn, NY. He began working as a Deputation Secretary in 1936 in the Chicago area, and in 1939 he assumed the post of Assistant General Secretary and served in that capacity until he became General Secretary for the American Home Council in 1941.

In 1950 Wheaton College honored his work with AIM by conferring a Doctorate of Divinity on him. In that same year, Davis began work on a constitutional committee for the mission, which culminated its work with the adoption of a new constitution in 1955. In June of 1955, at the International Conference in Kijabe, Kenya, Dr. Davis was appointed International General Secretary, and remained in this position until he became Director Emeritus in 1962. The Davises moved in that year to Clermont, Florida, where AIM had established a retirement home called Media. Even though in poor health, Davis conducted a voluminous correspondence, edited a monthly pamphlet, "Fuel for Prayer Fires," and continued to accept a limited number of speaking engagements. Davis assumed the interim chairmanship of the complex just before his sudden death on August 19, 1963.

The Davises had one son, Rev. Robert Davis, who in 1962 was director of AIM radio in Kenya, Africa.

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

Scope and Content

The materials in this collection consist primarily of notebooks apparently used by Davis for sermon materials or in his administrative capacities for AIM. They include: notes on books of the Old and New Testaments; sermon outlines and notes; church history; notes on geographical areas, countries and peoples; hymns and poems; other missions and religions. These notebooks are foldered separately and are listed by their contents in the Container List of this guide. Also included is a photograph of Davis, clippings of his career, and a small group of hymns and poems.


The materials in this collection were received at the Center in October, 1982.

Accession #82-147
January 30, 1985
Frances L. Brocker
J. Nasgowitz

Accession 82-147
Type of Material: Photographs

The items listed below are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by Folder Titles at the beginning of each entry below:

DAVIS, RALPH T. Ralph T. Davis in doctoral robe, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois; l950. 1 b&w.

Box Folder Item
1 1 Genesis; n.d.
1 2 Psalms; n.d.
1 3 Old Testament; n.d.
1 4 Matthew-Revelation; n.d.
1 5 Acts; n.d.
1 6 Romans; n.d.
2 1 Ephesians; n.d.
2 2 Church history; n.d.
2 3 AIM data, general information; n.d.
2 4 Sermon notes; n.d.
2 5 Sermon outlines; n.d.
2 6 Clippings: 1935-1962; n.d.
2 7 Hymns, Poems; n.d.

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Last Revised: 5/5/01
Expiration: indefinite