Billy Graham Center

Papers of Silas Fowler Fox - Collection 292

[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

Biography of Silas Fowler Fox

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

Lists of Books, Films, Photographs, Slides in This Collection (Location Records)
List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description

Diaries, correspondence, photos, films, and other documents that relate to Fox's career in the Telugu-speaking area of India as an independent missionary. The collection also has information on indigenous Indian evangelists.

Collection 292 [May 30, 2001]
Fox, Silas Fowler, 1893-
Papers, 1949-1973, n.d.
2 Boxes (1 RC, 1 DC), Films, Photographs


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Silas F. Fox was born in Josephsburg, AB, Canada on December 22, 1893. He was the youngest of three children born to attorney Caleb and Bessie Fox. Caleb died three weeks after Silas' birth. Silas' siblings were Paul and Florence. Bessie married again to a Mr. Roberts, postmaster and storekeeper. Robert's alcoholism caused the family great suffering and Bessie eventually had to leave him. Because of the family's poverty, Silas went to live with a Baptist preacher uncle.

He attended school from the age of four-and-a-half until 1904. When he was twelve, his family was reunited and moved to Toronto, where his sixteen year old brother Paul had a job working for the railroad. Silas began working as a riveter in a piano factory in 1905. He went on to jobs with other companies as errand boy and store clerk. At the age of nineteen, after being involved in church activities for many years, he gave his life to Christ. He now desired to go into Christian work. In 1915, he enrolled in the Toronto Bible College. While attending the school, Fox became acquainted with an English missionary from the Ceylon and India General Mission and was influenced by him to apply to that mission; he was accepted as one of their workers. Fox graduated from TBC on April 28, 1916, and on November 23 of the same year he married Emma Grau, his childhood sweetheart. Two days later the newlyweds left Toronto for Vancouver and from there they sailed to India, where they arrived in 1917.

For their first term, they were at first assigned to Hindupur, but the illness of another missionary caused them to be based in the town of Madakasira in West Madras. Much of their time was spent learning the Telugu language. Fox also visited some 300 villages around Madakasira, preaching to crowds in the village squares. One of his major co-workers was the Indian evangelist S. K. Agrippa. Toward the end of their first term, the couple went to Bangalore to recover after a serious bout of enteric fever. Around 1921, Fox started a little newspaper called Kalyandrug Sathyadootha, which translates as Kalyandrug Message of Truth. It was printed every month in the Telugu language and filled a need for Christian literature. It consisted of a sermon, anecdotes, questions and answers about Christianity, and notices of meetings. Fox continued for years to edit this paper, which was eventually renamed Kristava Nirikshina or Christian Hope. When the Foxes' first term ended in 1924, they returned to Canada on furlough.

Fox had begun to feel restricted by mission policy during his first term and this led, after discussion with mission leaders during his furlough, to his resignation in 1925, shortly after he had returned to India with his family. Thereafter he was an independent missionary who raised his own support. Fox continued to work in Telugu-speaking India. At various times he was based in Kuppam, Ootacamund, Anantapur, and Bangalore. In addition to editing the paper, he continued to evangelize and established harmonious relations with Brethren, Baptist, Mennonite, Lutheran, and Anglican missions. He was especially known for his willingness to use all kinds of flamboyant methods, from magic lantern slides to sandwich boards, to attract attention for the Gospel. In February of 1968, he left India for the last time and returned to Canada.

The Foxes had six children: Ruth Emma, Donald Silas, John Brainerd, Mary Anna, David Paul, and George Hudson.

Scope and Content

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

The documents in this collection consist of diaries, notebooks, correspondence in English and Telugu, a Telugu Bible and dictionary, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, financial statements, magic lantern slides, photographs, and home movies. The arrangement was created by the archivist and is alphabetical by document type.

The bulk of the collection consists of Fox's personal diaries. These diaries present an interesting picture of the daily life of a missionary. The entries for each day are rather short. They describe his travels, impressions of various churches, daily expenses, etc.

The films in the collection are described on one of the Location Records of this guide. They are home movies which contain many scenes of travel and the Indian landscape and animals as well as a visit to the Taj Mahal. Also included are scenes of worship and baptism. The newspaper clippings in folder 2-4 seem to consist of stories and anecdotes that would make appropriate sermon illustrations. Similarly, the notes and notebooks in folders 2-5 and 2-6 contain notes and outlines for sermons on various topics, such as the Dragon, worship, the ascension of Christ, etc. The six pamphlets by Fox in folder 2-7 give an idea of his preaching style and cover such topics as the gift of tongues, the millennium, missions, and Fox's criticism of the doctrines of Seventh Day Adventism.

The English correspondence in folder 2-3 is of minor consequence except for a very interesting 1961 letter from the India Gospel Team in which they describe their travels in north and south India.


The materials in this collection were given to the Archives by Donald Fox in September 1983.

Accession #83-102
June 19, 1985
Robert Shuster
T. Reihmer
J. Nasgowitz

Accession # 83-102
Type of Material: Books
The following items have been given to the BGC LIBRARY unless otherwise noted:

Fox, Donald S. The White Fox of Andhra (Philadelphia and Ardmore, PA: Dorrance and Company, 1977).


Accession # 83-102
Type of Material: Films
The films listed below are located in the FILM FILE:

The descriptions of these films were taken from the boxes that contained them.

F1 - Home movie by Silas Fox. An old Syrian church, Keith and wife, J. M. Davies, Silas Fox preaching in Kerala. Vepery Gospel Hall, HBI, and footage of India and its people and culture; n.d. 8mm, color, 7 minutes ('), 25 seconds (").

F2 - Home movie by Silas Fox. Donald and Barbara at Bangalore, baptisms in Kerala, Travella nurses, ducks at Writingon Hill, Sikomany and wife, Miss Hooper, Buhhocks birthday party, Secunderbad, marriage of New Brunswick couple in Bangalore; n.d. 8mm, color, 12' 43".

F3 - Home move by Silas Fox. Baptizing in Rilivendla? Mennonite Church School, Alechububnagdr?, Leopold, Emma Horton, Mr. Redwood, Mr. Flack?, Hinupar--Mrs. Fox, Bombay--parrot, pigs, dogs, crows, cows, S.S. treat outside Madras. Anatapur--Gospel Hall, Miss Mosley, Hindu Dwarf--Fakir; n.d. 8mm, color,     14' 42".

F4 - Home movie by Silas Fox. Pictures of friends, K. P. Agrippa (the Black Fox) baptizing, Indian gas station, elephant, hippos, tigers, rhino, oxen, people in a park, Silas Fox and people, train, lady in a wagon, venders pounding grain; n.d. 8mm, color, 9' 30".

F5 - Home movie by Silas Fox. People, monkeys, train, church, book stand, school children, Shrinagar? Lake and surrounding area, Mrs. Fox on a horse, bears fighting, camels, the Taj Mahal, Mrs. Fox in a porter's chair, shepherd and sheep, suffering Moses, papier-mache maker and woodcarvers, horse and buggy; n.d. 8mm, color, 9' 57".

F6 - Home movie by Silas Fox. Silas Fox and men from a church, flowering trees, women at the Mukti Mission, baptisms by Silas Fox at Kirkee, Kashmir--Dal? Lake, flowers, Silas Fox diving off a diving board and swimming; n.d. 8mm, color, 12' 42".


Accession # 83-102
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:

FOX, SILAS FOWLER. Includes photos of Mrs. Emma Fox, a family of missionaries of the Christian Radio Fellowship of the South Africa Mission, the household gods of a Sudra home in Bangalore, and the Foxes with an unidentified Indian. 5 b&w.

INDIA GOSPEL TEAM. India Gospel Team. See 1961 letter in folder 2-3. Includes scenes of a baptism, the team, the team meeting with jungle people. 5 b&w.


Accession # 83-102
Type of Material: Slides
The items listed below are located in the GRAHAM CENTER MUSEUM:

Eight tinted glass slides, 3-1/4" x 3-1/4". One is a picture of the Good Shepherd. The others are scenes having to do with evangelistic work in India c. 1920 to 1950. They are from the collection of Silas Fox, missionary to India. Three of the slides are cracked.


Box Folder Item
1 1 Bible. English New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs
1 2 Bible. Teluga language
1 3 Dictionary, Teluga/English
1 4 1949, 1956
1 5 1957
1 6 1958, 1960
1 7 1961, 1962
1 8 1963, 1964, 1965
1 9 1966, 1967, 1968
1 10 1969, 1970, 1971
1 11 1972, 1973
2 1 Diploma: Toronto Bible College; 1916
2 2 Financial Statements; 1962-1964
2 3 Letters; 1958-1964
2 4 Newspaper Clippings; n.d.
2 5 Notebooks; n.d.
2 6 Notes: Looseleaf; n.d.
2 7 Pamphlets; 1961, n.d.

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Last Revised: 5/30/01
Expiration: indefinite