Billy Graham Center

Interview with Ruth Margaret (Hollander) Long - Collection 347

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Ruth Margaret (Hollander) Long

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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

Brief Description.

Tapes of interviews in which Long discusses her conversion, education at Wheaton College, work as a missionary for the Sudan Interior Mission tohgether with her husband Burt) in Niger and Nigeria from 1950 through 1984.

Collection 347 [April 13, 2000]
Long, Ruth Margaret (Hollander); 1921-
Interviews; 1986

Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Ruth Margaret Hollander was born August 5, 1921 in Evanston, IL, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Hollander and the youngest of four children. Her father was a fireman and engineer on the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. The family moved to the northwest side of Chicago when she was six. When she was eleven, she was saved while attending a Saturday afternoon girl's club sponsored by the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. After graduating from Carl Schurz High School in Chicago in 1938, she attended night school courses at Moody Bible Institute while working at various jobs in the city, including one at Scripture Press. She was also attending and active in the programs of the North side Gospel Center, where Lance Latham was pastor. Among her friends there was Burt Elmer Long, a student at Wheaton College. In 1941 Ruth enrolled at Wheaton and graduated from the school in 1945 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology. She and Burt were married at this time.

The couple spent some time in St. Louis, where Long was senior surgical resident at the Missouri Baptist Hospital. After Burt's stint of Army service at a hospital in Alaska, he and Ruth joined the Sudan Interior Mission in 1949 and went, along with their children Roland Vance and Lance Vaughn (born 1946 and 1949) to Niger in 1950.

The Longs were assigned to the SIM station near the village of Galmi among the Hausa people, where they started a hospital in a building built the year before their arrival. For sixteen years, Burt was the only doctor on the staff of what quickly became a very busy facility. Ruth, besides taking care of her family and helping occasionally at the hospital, had a visitation ministry with women of the Hausa tribe and started an Awana youth program, first for the local boys and then for the girls as well. (The Awana clubs in the United States had been started by Lance Latham and providedChristian activities and education for children.) In 1965, for example, the hospital had a capacity of 120 beds and activities for children included four weekly clubs, three daily vacation Bible schools, a short term Bible School, Bible reading programs and Sunday school classes, in addition to the church meeting on the compound. During their years of service in Niger they had four more children (Cheryl Michelle, born 1951; John Richard, born 1952; Suzanne Jeanne, born 1955; and Pamela Marjorie, born 1959). Cheryl, John and Pamela were all delivered by their father. The Longs took furloughs to the United States in 1955, 1960-61, 1965-66 and 1970-1971.

In 1975, partly because of mission policy and partly because of disagreements with the new SIM regional director, the Longs went to Jos, Nigeria. Ruth taught Biblical knowledge in the government schools and prepared Sunday school curriculum for junior high school age children and Burt was one of the doctors of SIM's Evangel Hospital. They returned to the United States on furloughs in 1976, 1978, 1981. In 1977, the Nigerian government took over Evangel Hospital, but it returned it to the control of the Evangelical Churches of West Africa (the denomination that grew out of congregations started by SIM) in 1979. Burt continued to practice there through these changes, while staying on the staff of SIM. Both Burt and Ruth retired in 1984 and in October of that year returned to Wheaton to live. They continued to be involved in various short term missionary projects, such as working at ELWA hospital in Liberia in 1986, returning to Galmi for three months in 1989-90 and working in Chad in 1991.

Scope and Content

Ruth Long was interviewed by Wheaton College student Betty Smartt on November 11 and December 3, 1986. The time period covered by the interviews is from ca. 1932 until 1984. 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 Start of tape
01:20 Introduction
01:35 Accepted Christ as savior at age 11; influence of Paul Rader, Lance and Virginia Latham; the North side Gospel Center in Chicago; working for Mr. Victor Coray at Scripture Press after graduating high school
05:30 Gladys and Marian Siegfried; encouraged to go to Wheaton College by her future husband Burt Long; jobs worked while attending Wheaton; partial scholarship; the social functions of the literary societies; work as a writer in college
10:45 Anthropology as missions preparation; desire to be a missionary; Dr. Alexander Grigolia; effect of her courses on her world view; memorable professors at Wheaton; influence of World War II on life on campus; activities of the war board
16:45 Married Burt Long in 1945; options for mission work; Sudan Interior Mission orientation; Burt's desire to serve in a difficult place; Ruth's hesitation about going to Niger; the Longs' lack of knowledge about Muslim culture when they first went out; hesitancy of the Hausa people to visit the SIM hospital at first; perpetual short-handedness of hospital; heavy load for Burt as the only doctor
25:15 Life of the Long family on the hospital compound; perceptions and realities of raising a family in Niger; chores done by the servants; advantage of children being able to play outside all year long; flying from Paris to Niamey, Niger; arrival in Niger
34:00 Difficulty encountered in saying goodbye to friends and family; severe weight loss of the Longs because of the diet; intense heat and dryness in Niger and indigenous means of adaptation to weather; prevalent diseases around Galmi; missionary has to have compassion and objectivity in working with the sick
41:00 Ruth's work with the village children and starting an Awana's club for boys in the early 1960s; activities in the club; translation of some of the Awana material into the Hausa language; development of an Awana program for boys and girls; evangelism among the children; children who became Christians had to hide the fact from their Muslim families
44:45 End of side 1

T1 - side 2
00:00 Start of side
00:05 Repeat of end of side 1
01:35 Opposition by Muslim parents to the Awana program; Ruth's typical daily schedule at Galmi; description of the work involved in cooking the family's mid-day and evening meal; typical market days in Galmi
09:15 Division of work between the doctors at the hospital; openness of the women and village leaders of the Hausa to Ruth's visits and Bible teaching; openness of the Muslim elder to Christian teachings; great interest in the doctrine of Christ's Second Coming; reasons for the growing acceptance of the Western missionaries at Galmi by the Hausa; friendship between African children and the Longs' boys
16:00 Ruth's friendship with local women; difficulty in making converts among Muslims; expansion of the hospital over the years; reasons for sending her children to boarding school; description of the boarding school, Kent Academy
21:00 Language school in Minna, Niger; frustration of trying to provide medical treatment to people through an interpreter; languages the Longs commonly used; need of SIM missionaries to raise their own support; visiting supporters on furlough; noticed during furlough the increasing materialism of Christians and people in general in the United States
28:15 End of tape T1

T2 - side 1
00:00 Start of tape
00:06 Introduction; Niger as part of French colonial system; indigenous leaders proved harsher rulers than the French; greater government control at hospital after independence; increase in wages; the medal and other recognition Burt received for his medical work; description of Hamami Diori, president of the country; the coup against him in 1974
10:30 Changes in the relationship between the government and the hospital after 1974; the Longs' service at the eye hospital in Kano, Nigeria in 1967; conflict between the Hausa and the Ibos in Kano in 1967; slaughter of the Ibos; political roots of the conflict
19:30 Importance of the peanuts and cotton crops in Niger; other important crops; development of uranium and salt mines; elimination of the head tax because of uranium income
24:30 Customs, clothes and diet of the average Hausa family that visited the hospital; layout of a typical village compound; the Christian elementary school in Tsibiri, Niger; description of the SIM Bible schools around the Niger
34:45 Average person's educational aspirations in Niger; the educational system in the country; popular folk medicine such as amulets or charms; severe and periodic problem of famine; poor distribution of relief supplies sent by the United States and other countries; improvement in food supply since the 1970s; farming habits of the people
42:30 Small size of the church in Galmi; methods of church discipline for marital problems; polygamy among Christians
46:15 End of side 1 of tape

T2 - side 2
00:00 Start of tape
00:06 Repeat of end of side 1
02:30 Training of leaders and helpers for the Galmi church; educational background of the church's first pastor; content of sermons; description of worship services; singing at services; renewal of the church at the time of the interview (1986); size of the SIM staff in Niger in 1986; more on the renewal and growth of the church
09:45 The Longs' move to Jos, Nigeria in 1975; first impressions of Jos; Burt's responsibilities at Evangel Hospital in Jos; Nigerian government overthrown shortly after the Longs arrived in the country; expropriation of Evangel Hospital by the Nigerian government and the subsequent return of the hospital to mission control
15:30 Corruption among government officials; labor strikes very common; the process by which SIM turned over control of churches and mission stations to the Evangelical Churches of West Africa (ECWA); development of Nigerian missionaries; tensions arising from the transition to ECWA control
23:00 Ruth's teaching of Bible knowledge in government schools to Muslims and Christians; development of Sunday school curriculum for Nigerian children; comparison of work among children in Niger and Nigeria; government educational requirements included basic religious knowledge; opportunities to present the Gospel
30:30 Development of Christianity of Maguzawa people because the government said they could no longer be pagans; work among them by ECWA mission society; Christian tendencies among the Muslim tribes.
33:45 Changes in missions since when she first went to Niger in 1950; missions requires a special type of person; problems of communications between Western missionaries and national Christians
37:10 End of tape


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in November and December 1986 from Ruth Long.

Acc.: 86-132, 86-134
June 18, 1993
Robert Shuster
K. Cox

Accession : 86-132, 86-134
Type of material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 71 minutes, one side only. Interview with Ruth Margaret Long by Betty Smartt. Topics include her conversion at age 11, attendance at Wheaton College, joining the Sudan Interior Mission and going to Niger, rasing a family on the mission field, development of an Awana program for the Hausa children, evangelistic activities. Recorded on November 19, 1986.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approximately 80 minutes, one side only. Interview with Ruth Margaret Long by Betty Smartt. Topics include impressions of the French colonial system, the independence of Niger, Hamami Diori, relations between the mission and the government in Niger, conflict between the Hausa and the Ibos in Nigeria, customs of the Hausa people, SIM schools, the training of leaders for the Niger church, the transfer in Nigeria of the mission's activities to the Evangelical Churches of West Africa. Recorded December 3, 1986.

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