Billy Graham Center
Archives

Papers of John Von Casper "Jack" Wyrtzen - Collection 446

[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. ]

Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Jack Wyrtzen

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

Lists of Audio Tapes and and Video Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)
    Audio Tapes
    Video Tapes
*****

Written transcript for T1

Audio file and written transcript for T2

Written transcript for T3

Written t ranscript for T4

Excerpt from T4 Click to listen to an excerpt from this interview. Click to visit the exhibit Web page featuring this and other excerpts with transcripts, visuals and audio links.

Audio file and written transcript for T5

Audio file and written transcript for T6

Audio file and written transcript for T7



Brief Description
Five hours of oral history interviews on seven reels. Wyrtzen talks about his parents, childhood, early influences, conversion, relations with other Christian leaders, development of the Word of Life Fellowship, radio and television work and youth work. There are also two cassette tapes of talks given by Wyrtzen at the Word of Life Bible Institute on October 10 and 11, 1991, as well as two VHS video tapes describing work at Word of Life.


Collection 446 [November 14, 2002]
Wyrtzen, John Von Casper "Jack"; 1913-1996
Papers; 1991

9 Reels of Audio Tape, 2 Video Tapes

Restrictions:

Audio tapes T8 and T9 and video tape V1 not to be copied without written permission. For permission to make copies of material in this collection, contact:

Director
Word of Life Fellowship, Inc.
Schroon Lake, NY 12870

Portions of interviews T1, T3 and T4 are restricted until December 31, 2030.


Biography

Full name: John Von Casper "Jack" Wyrtzen
Birth date: April 22, 1913
Death date: April 17, 1996
Family:
Parents: Father a foreman in a glass factory; mother involved in Republican politics
Siblings: Two brothers
Marital Status: Married Margaret Smith, April 18, 1936, who died in 1984
Married Joan Steiner, May 6, 1986
Children: Mary Ann Cox, Donnie John, David Booth, Ron, Betsy Lee Oris, Kathy Hahn, Don Steiner, David Steiner
Conversion: October 1932 after reading the Gospel of John given to him by a friend.
Education:
1929 Quit high school to support family when father lost his job
1938-ca. 1940 Attended Hawthorne Evening Bible School, Hawthorne, New Jersey; did not graduate
1943 Received honorary degree from Hawthorne Evening Bible School
Career:
1929-1933 Leader of dance band at night
1929-1940 Worked for an insurance company during the day
1933-1940 Formed, with others, XBA, Chi Beta Alpha (Christians Born Again), a Bible study and fellowship group for young men; Phi Gamma organized for women.
1940 Chi Beta Alpha and Phi Gamma merge.
1940 Group reorganized as Word of Life Fellowship
1940-1941 Preached on radio broadcast, WBBC, which went out of business
1941 Began Word of Life program over WHN; held rallies and Word of Life Fellowship Bible Conference
1941-1991 Director of Word of Life Ministries
1942 Began Word of Life Bible School
ca. 1946 Purchased Schroon Lake for Word of Life Camp, opened camps in other cities in the U.S. and in countries around the world


Scope and Content

Jack Wyrtzen was interviewed by Robert Shuster on October 5, 1991, at Word of Life Fellowship in Schroon Lake, New York. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1913-1991. This collection also contains two video tapes (see Location Record) that tell about the work of Word of Life Fellowship.

T1 (70 minutes). (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)Wyrtzen's parents, remembrances of youthful experiences; conversion, Ma and Billy Sunday, conversion of parents, death of father and mother, further remembrances of youth, being in the Boy Scouts, brothers Harry and James, music appreciation class in school, playing in a band, theft of Boy Scout money being saved for a trip to England, influence of Dr. Harry Ironside, conversion and life of Bill Wiley, Wyrtzen's first convert; work with Stanley Kline and Percy Crawford; formed, with others, XBA, Chi Beta Alpha (Christians Born Again); meeting future wife, Margaret, and her conversion; grandson's illness and recovery; constitution for the group of new converts; further information about Wyrtzen's conversion; joining the National Guard to play in band

T2 (30 minutes). (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)Conversion continued from T1. Street meetings in New York City; dedication of lives to Christian service; Percy Crawford; Ralph Davis, Peter Stam, Pinebrook camp; Gil Dodds; Word of Life radio program begun; discussion of Christian radio; people converted under Paul Rader; Billy Graham and Youth for Christ and the 1949 Crusade meetings; churches organized as a result of Word of Life work; Carl McIntire, Donald Barnhouse; beginning of Kings College; Brant Reed and the Plymouth Brethren.

T3 (74 minutes). (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)Work with Cameron Townsend; effect of Brethren on family; lunch time meetings in New York; missionary Sophie Mueller (sp?); reactions of people in crowds toward preaching; meetings of the Pocket Testament League with the Civilian Conservation Corps; beginning of prison work; preaching texts; Times Square broadcasts, growth of audiences; Dawson Trotman and beginning follow-up work; start of Mission Aviation Fellowship; meetings at Madison Square Garden; opposition; lack of change in youth meetings; George Beverly Shea and WMBI; Youth for Christ in Chicago; Student Volunteer Movement; communists picketed meetings because of anticommunist statements; moving into Eastern Europe areas, e.g. Hungary and Romania; accused of spying

T4 (25 minutes). (Click to link to the transcript of this tape) Opposition to Evangelistic Christian broadcasting by World Council of Churches and others; television services begin on Saturday nights, many saved; comments on television evangelists; use of Gospel of John for leading people to Christ; organization of Word of Life clubs; Word of Life Bible College, camp counseling; Christian leadership

T5 (70 minutes). (Click to link to the transcript of this tape) Communist suspicions of Paul Bubar; accused of being with the CIA; principles for leadership: board of 23, councils; Harry Bollback expert on financial planning; quiet time necessary for every leader; handling of conflict; work in Brazil; leadership conferences; best way to train leadership; incorporating nationals in work; importance of maintaining enthusiasm; Word of Life in Germany supports work in Africa and Eastern Europe; Donald Barnhouse as Bible teacher, taught verse by verse; Ed Darling; Ralph Davis; Peter Deyneka Sr; Word of Life work in Poland; discussion about various Evangelical leaders: Charles Fuller; Will Houghton; Torrey Johnson; Bob Jones I, II and III; Bob Ketcham; R. G. LeTourneau; Bill McCarrell; Carl McIntire; Madelyn Murray O'Hair debate with Wyrtzen on radio-four hours, over 11,000 calls; Brant Reed and the high school Born Again Clubs; George Beverly Shea; Tom Skinner

T6 (30 minutes). (Click to link to the transcript of this tape) Charles Dawson and tour of Africa; Charles Templeton; Cameron Townsend; Dawson Trotman and the Navigators, death of Trotman; Lorne Sanny; Glen Wagener; J. Elwin Wright; differences with Billy Graham, the New York Billy Graham Crusade in 1957

T7 (40 minutes). (Click to link to the transcript of this tape) Discussions of Norman Vincent Peale, the Protestant Council, opposition to Catholic participation in Graham's crusades, abortion issues; things he admires about Billy Graham, relationships with the Roman Catholic Church, opinions concerning Pentecostalism; preaching; the books Christ our Sufficiency, XVI by Owen McQuaid, books by James Dobson; support of inner city Bible clubs; conversion of Jim Carrington, now pastor in Milwaukee; putting teams into inner cities; prison work; rescue missions; Bible Institute; Christian camping, including sports and music; work in Hungary, Romania; use of Gospel of John for evangelism; marriage to second wife, Joan

*****

Provenance

The materials in this collection were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by Jack Wyrtzen in October 1991.

Accession 91-91, 91-100, 91-108
June 23, 1999
Janyce H. Nasgowitz


LOCATION RECORD
Accession: 91-91, 91-100
Type of Material: Audio Tapes
The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 70 minutes. One side only. Interview of John "Jack" Von Casper Wyrtzen by Robert Shuster, recorded at Schroon Lake on October 5, 1991.

T2 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 30 minutes. One side only. Continuation of interview with Jack Wyrtzen by Robert Shuster, recorded at Schroon Lake on October 5, 1991.

T3 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 74 minutes. One side only. Continuation of interview with Jack Wyrtzen by Robert Shuster, recorded at Schroon Lake on October 5, 1991.

T4 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 25 minutes. One side only. Continuation of interview with Jack Wyrtzen by Robert Shuster, recorded at Schroon Lake on October 5, 1991.

T5 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 70 minutes. One side only. Continuation of interview with Jack Wyrtzen by Robert Shuster, recorded at Schroon Lake on October 5, 1991.

T6 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 30 minutes. One side only. Continuation of interview with Jack Wyrtzen by Robert Shuster, recorded at Schroon Lake on October 5, 1991.

T7 - Reel, 3-3/4 ips, 40 minutes. One side only. Continuation of interview with Jack Wyrtzen by Robert Shuster, recorded at Schroon Lake on October 5, 1991.

T8 - Cassette, 3-3/4 ips, 30 minutes. Unidentified male soloist singing "Here We Are." Talk given on "Love, Courtship, and Marriage" by Jack Wyrtzen at the Word of Life Bible Institute; October 10, 1991. Includes a couple of minutes on side 2.

T9 - Cassette, 3-3/4 ips, 30 minutes. One side only. Talk given on "Love, Courtship, and Marriage by Jack Wyrtzen at the Word of Life Bible Institute; October 11, 1991.

*****

LOCATION RECORD
Accession 91-108
Type of Material: Video tapes
The material listed below has been filed in the VIDEO TAPE FILE:

V1 - Word of Life Fellowship Presents "Word of Life 'Experience.'" Color, " VHS, approximately 20 minutes long; 1991. Filmed by Industrial Video Source.

V2 - "Jack Wyrtzen - History of Word of Life." Color, " VHS, approximately 65 minutes long; October 21, 1991. Opening with music, an address by Jack Wyrtzen to a group of young people.



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