Billy Graham Center

Ephemera of Charles Oliver "Dick" Springer - Collection 417

[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

Biography of Charles Oliver "Dick" Springer

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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

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


Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Transcript 3

Transcript 4

Transcript 5

Brief Description.
Interview in which Springer describes his family, conversion, education at Whitman, Princeton, and Moody Bible Institute, involvement in the Student Volunteer Movement, impressions of Samuel Zwemer and Charles Erdmann, his missionary work in China and Taiwan with China Inland Mission/OMF, his literature distribution work with Pocket Testament League, recollections of Herbert and Winifred Kane, Henry Frost, his wife Marion, the Japanese occupation of China during World War II and the Chinese civil war afterward, evangelistic ministry in the US and literature production in Taiwan. Also includes a prayer letter from the Springers while stationed at Hwaining (new spelling, Huaining) in the province of Anhwei (new spelling, Anhui) for language school. This letter includes a brief account of their arrival in Shanghai and preparation to move inland; travel to Huaining via the Yangtze Kiang (new spelling, Chang Jiang); and an average daily schedule.

Collection 417
[November 29, 2004]
Springer, Charles Oliver "Dick"; 1909-1995
Ephemera; 1937, 1989

1 Box (DC, .2 cubic feet), Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Full name: Charles Oliver Springer

Birth date: January 30, 1909 in Montpelier, VT

Parents: Isaac Elihu Springer and Mildred (Bishop) Springer Barber

Conversion: During teen years, ca. 1922-1927

Marital Status: Married Marion Elizabeth Tucker on August 1, 1935


    Mary Olive Harriet (1937)
    Charles Henry Thomas (1940)
    John (1942)--died and buried in Taiho, Anhwei, China
    Harriet Johanna (1945)
    Joseph Tucker (1949)
    Ruth Ernestine (1951)


    Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA: B.A.(?), history, 1931(?)
    Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ: B.Th., 1935
    Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, IL


    1936 Ordained by Walla Walla Presbytery Synod of Washington
    Accepted into China Inland Mission
    Language school in Anking
    1937 Fowyang, Anhwei: first assignment
    1939-1940 Kanhsien, Kiangsi and then Fowyang, Anhwei
    1941-1944 Taiho, Anhwei
    1945 Los Angeles
    1947 Shanghai, Kaifeng, Honan, worked with Pocket Testament League
    1948-1950 Loping, Kiangsi
    1951-1957 San Francisco and Seattle (pastor of Mt. View Presbyterian Church)
    1958-1960 Taiwan: Hsinying and T'ainan, worked in literature distribution
    1961 Seattle
    1962-1964 Taiwan: Hsinchu, created correspondence course while his wife taught Bible
    1965 San Francisco
    1966-1969 Taiwan: Shinju, worked with mountain people
    1970 Honolulu
    1971-1975 Taiwan: T'aipei, taught English at a church while his wife walked to the nearby university to teach
    1976 Retired

Died: February 17, 1995

Scope and Content

This collection includes a prayer/news letter for circulation from the Springers, first-term China Inland Mission (CIM) missionaries, while stationed at Hwaining (new spelling, Huaining) in the province of Anhwei (new spelling, Anhui) for language school. The letter gives a brief account of their arrival in Shanghai and preparation to move inland, their travel to Huaining via the Yangtze Kiang (new spelling, Chang Jiang), and an average daily schedule. While devotional in nature, the letter expresses the Springers' feelings about assuming new responsibilities as missionaries.

Charles Oliver Springer was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on June 19, 1989, at Calvary Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The time period covered by the interviews is 1909-1989. The index is keyed to a cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

T1 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:50 Introduction to interview
01:00 Origin of name, nickname "Dick"; birth, parents
03:00 Charles and Olive Springer, grandparents, Methodist missionaries to Japan; his grandmother's prayers for him
07:00 Missionary background of parents, uncle John McKendree Springer a Methodist bishop in Africa; relationship to parents, religious activities of family, attendance at Methodist church; deaths of brother, sister, and father
13:30 Move to Arizona for mother's health, mother's remarriage to a Methodist minister, positive effect of being a minister's son
15:00 Summer conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho when 19 years old, decision to let God run his life, change of focus from adventure to service overseas
20:45 Undergraduate work at Whitman, little spiritual influence; later schooling at Princeton, friendship with Henry W. Frost of China Inland Mission (CIM); request after graduation by Dr. Charles Erdman to be a Presbyterian missionary, monetary difficulties
27:00 Memories of Henry Frost, retired director for North America of CIM; stories of Hudson Taylor, CIM history
32:45 Interest in Muslims beginning at Princeton through professor and pastor Dr. Samuel Zwemer; memories of Zwemer, spiritual environment at Princeton, relationships between professors, memories of Charles Erdman
38:45 Choice of Princeton based on monetary concerns
40:15 Application to CIM senior year at Princeton; Student Volunteers Movement
43:45 End of tape

T2 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:45 Continuation of interview
01:00 Comparison of Inter-Varsity to Student Volunteer Movement, C&MA missionary Dr. [Robert] Glover [Sr.], reasons for transfer to Moody
05:15 Story of how he met his wife: hitch-hiking home, befriended a man, later met his daughter, Marion Tucker, led her to salvation, then married her
19:15 Marion's language skill, school at Moody, impact of visiting missionaries and professors, advantage of pastoring a church before going to mission field
25:45 Boat trip to China, first impressions of Shanghai and CIM headquarters
29:15 Move to Anking; change of selection process for missionaries, tent-making missions; tie-ins with John and Betty Stam
35:00 Constant language study, different dialects in every town, language school as an opportunity to learn to live with other cultures, dressing and looking like the Chinese
40:30 Selection of specific mission field, Fowyang
41:45 End of tape

T3 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:15 Impressions of Fowyang, large Fowyang church; move to Taiho to protect women from Japanese; living conditions, learning and using the language
06:30 Children Mary Olive and Charles Henry Thomas born, son John McKendree III died suddenly at 9 months; raising a family in another culture
11:15 Return to the U.S. because of war in 1945, family togetherness, decision to return to China in 1947, trusting God to provide for son Tom's schooling and housing after their departure
18:15 Supply shortages in Taiho, massive evacuation to Nanyung (?) before Japanese attack, cared for by churches on the way
35:15 Relocated to Chichung (?) for language study; stories about trip out of China, helping with an emergency surgery
41:00 End of tape

T4 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:15 Introduction to interview
00:25 Return to U.S. in 1951, pastoring a church in Seattle, re-application to CIM after six years
03:30 Work in Taiwan as magazine editor, move to Shinju to teach at a Presbyterian Bible school, difficulties with editing and selling magazines
09:30 Chinese prejudice against mountain people, Springer's intentional work with them, alienation of a Chinese pastor by mistake, care for their physical needs, reaction of mountain people against prejudice, rapport with the natives from living like them, reaction from other missionaries
22:00 Authoring a correspondence course, negative results of trying to charge students, move to Taipei because of heart problems, pastor of an English church, closeness to the nationals based on listening
26:45 Comparisons of Taiwanese and Chinese, effects of spiritism and cults
28:45 Kanes at Moody and Fowyang, conflicts between missionaries, Springer's ministry of listening and counseling
34:00 Pocket Testament League in Kaifeng, distributing Gospels to soldiers, close call with communist attack in Taifung (Kaifeng?)
38:45 Evacuation from Kaifeng
40:30 End of tape

T5 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:10 Continuation of interview
01:00 CIM missionaries transferred to Japan
04:45 Problems with communists, standing trial in communist court, danger of death, prison conditions, benevolent judge
16:30 Varying reactions of missionaries to communist oppression, conflict caused by these differences, conflict between American and British missionaries
21:00 Importance of teamwork and unity, good attitudes for missionaries
26:15 Happiest time while preaching at English-speaking church in Taipei, outreach through English conversation, wife teaching English at universities
31:00 Characteristics of missionary retirement, new call to pray for missionaries, living in CIM retirement complex, kinds of events people remember
35:45 End of tape



The materials for this collection were received by the Center in April 1982 from Overseas Missionary Fellowship and in June 1989 from Charles Oliver Springer.

Accession 82-60, 89-63
June 9, 1995
Mark Congdon
J. Nasgowitz

Accession 89-63
Type of material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 44 minutes. One side. Interview with Charles Oliver Springer by Paul Ericksen, June 19, 1989. Discussion of childhood, early missionary influences, schooling at Princeton, Henry Frost, Samuel Zwemer, Charles Erdman, application to China Inland Mission.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 42 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T1. Discussion of meeting his wife, trip to China, cultural assimilation, language study.

T3 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 41 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T2. Discussion of tasks on the field, children, furlough, Japanese invasion.

T4 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 41 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T3. Discussion of six-year return to the States, magazine editing, work with Chinese outcasts, missionary conflicts, Pocket Testament League.

T5 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips speed, approximately 36 minutes. One side. Continuation of interview on T4. Discussion of communist persecution, importance of unity among missionaries, favorite time in China, importance of prayer.

Box Folder Item
1 1 Letter of Springer, Charles Oliver and Marion Elizabeth; 1937

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Last Revised: 5/11/04
Expiration: indefinite