Billy Graham Center

Interviews with Merry Elizabeth Dalton Long - Collection 465

[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 Merry Elizabeth Dalton Long

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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection

Brief Description.
Two oral history interviews in which Long describes her childhood, education at Wheaton College, marriage, missionary work in the former Belgian Congo (Zaire) and Brazil, the 1960 Congo Rebellion, and rearing and educating children on the mission field.
Vol: 2 Reels of Audio Tape

Collection 465
[March 16, 2010]
Long, Merry Elizabeth Dalton; 1925-2010
Interview; 1986

2 Reels of Audio Tape


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Mary [later changed to Merry] Elizabeth Dalton was born November 6, 1925, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, to Spencer and Dorothy Boehmer Dalton. She attended a Baptist church in Galt, Ontario, heard Bible stories from her grandmother, and was converted at the age of nine. She graduated from high school in 1944 and then attended Kitchener-Waterloo Nurses' Training Hospital until 1948. Merry attended Wheaton College for one year beginning in the summer of 1948, but did not finish her degree. It was at Wheaton that she met Paul Long and they were married in June 1949. In 1950, the Longs had their first child.

After Paul attended seminary, the Longs went as missionaries under the Southern Presbyterian Mission Board to Bibanga, Bakwanga, in the Belgian Congo (now Zaire), where Merry worked as a nurse in the hospital and Paul became the director of regional schools and engaged in evangelistic work. In addition to the work in the primitive hospital, Merry made time to teach her children as well as to teach medical subjects in the Chiluba language at the hospital. During the 1960-61 Rebellion in the Congo, the Longs were forced to leave.

In 1963, the Longs were assigned to do pioneer church planting work along an eight hundred mile stretch of the Brasilia-Belem highway in North Goias, Brazil. After eleven years in that area, Paul was assigned to an area on the Trans-Amazon Highway. While in Brazil, Merry started public health clinics, with help from a German baroness, taught Sunday school, and worked in the nursery of the Brazilian churches the Longs attended, as well as cared for her own children.

After the children were grown and Paul received his PhD degree at Fuller Theological Seminary and began teaching in Jackson, MS, Merry returned to college to complete her BA degree at Mississippi College. The Longs had five children, all of whom graduated from Wheaton College: Paul Brown II (BA '72), Mary Elizabeth (BA '74), Virginia Ann (BA '76), Stephen Dalton (BA '79), and Charles Alexander (BA '82).

Merry Dalton passed away on March 15, 2010.

Scope and Content

Merry Dalton Long was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on October 22, 1986, at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. The dates of the events covered by the interview were 1939-1977. The boldfaced entries are intended to highlight the topics covered in the interview. The index is keyed to the cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

Tape T1 - Side 1

00:00 Beginning of tape
00:30 Introduction to the interview with Merry D. Long
00:45 Growing up in Galt, Ontario, Canada; hearing Bible stories from grandmother; attending a Baptist church; guilt at going to movies; conversion when she realized she was a sinner at age nine; nurses training during WW II
05:00 Entering Wheaton College in 1948 in order to get a BA and a Christian husband; influence of roommate [Geneva Burkland, BA '50]; faculty; working in the infirmary; dating; social aspects, meeting Paul Long after her first summer, not liking him because he seemed rather disapproving
14:45 Marriage to Paul Long in June 1949 after being in school one year; breaking up with him while dating for a period of time because of not wanting to go to the mission field; experiencing God's call to missions and changing her mind about marrying Paul; having first baby in 1950; assignment to the Belgian Congo (Zaire); going to Mississippi College to finish her BA degree after children were grown and husband had doctorate
19:45 Images beforehand of African people; primitive hospital, medical care; lack of preparation for cultural adjustments; frustration in first term; cultural blunders; living in old, colonial-type compound; difficulty accepting the gulf between living standards of the Africans and the missionaries
26:00 A typical day on the mission; teaching her own children, then working as nurse in the hospital; difficulty in working with elderly deaf doctor; being overloaded with family and hospital work because the doctor did not take night calls
30:45 Impressions of spiritism (animism), non-Christian influences; example of evil influence
34:30 Going out with Bible women once a week, but not being able to be with the native people very much; people reverting back to witchcraft if medicine didn't work
37:15 Being named after an African Christian woman; African names of all the family members; primitiveness and dirtiness of medical facilities; making a lot of the equipment themselves and making own medicines in hospital pharmacy
41:45 The rebellion in the Congo; station's preparation for evacuation; fear of possible torture of her children; trying to evacuate by caravan in the middle of the night
45:15 End of tape

Tape T1 - Side 2

00:00 Start of tape
00:05 Overlap from side 1
00:15 Evacuation from the Congo (continued); being turned back; flying out while eight months pregnant; being put in a hotel which was under siege; Belgium liberation of the airstrip; children's enjoyment at seeing all the guns and people; departure to South Africa, leaving Paul behind (he joined them later)
05:00 Learning that the entire mission area was spared; not fearing for her husband; believing they would eventually go back to Africa; best aspects of African culture: the singing and village life; relief that African part of missionary life was over
09:00 Reasons for going to Brazil; pastorate in between missionary terms; reluctance to go to Brazil and eventual fulfillment in going; preconceived notions of Brazil; starting public health clinics with help from a German baroness; services held during the clinics; developing relationships with the Brazilians
16:15 Difficulty at being separated from her children; schooling of children; roles of the children in the church
21:15 End of tape

Tape T2

00:00 Start of tape
00:30 Education of the children in Brazil; learning Portuguese; responsibilities in the Brazilian church (teaching Sunday school, working in the nursery, Bible studies, women's groups)
04:00 Contact with spiritism; non-Christian's attitude toward converted Christians; family persecution of converts; changed lifestyles of converted Christians; importance of church discipline
09:15 Effect of mission life on marriage; dangers of mission life to marriage
13:45 Conflicts on the field between missionaries and methods used for handling them; examples of conflict in Brazil and Africa; creation of personnel committees to handle conflicts
19:30 Flexibility with her husband; Paul's personality; changes in the role of women in missions; Brazilian intolerance for women in positions of authority in the church; lack of women at the executive level of mission boards; bad memory of anger at her children's baby-sitter in Africa for being late, having to apologize for it in public
26:15 Good memory of going with women in Brazil to a house in the country one day and having a service there for a dying woman; Brazilians' opinion of her; other missionaries' opinion of her; trying to fit the role of missionary wife in Africa
34:30 Parts of Brazil she misses: church services, shopping for food in native markets, extra leisure time, scenery, accessibility of the people
36:45 End of tape


The materials for this collection were received by the Billy Graham Center Archives in October, 1989, from Merry D. Long.

Acc. #86-118
September 14, 1993
Janyce H. Nasgowitz
B. Phillips

Accession #86-117
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approx. 65 minutes. Interview with Merry D. Long by Paul A. Ericksen on October 22, 1986. Topics discussed include her childhood, nursing education, coming to Wheaton College and meeting Paul Long, their courtship and marriage, missionary service in the Belgian Congo (Zaire) Africa, the 1960 Rebellion, going to Brazil, rearing and education children while in Brazil.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, approx. 40 minutes. Continuation of interview with Merry D. Long on October 22, 1986. Topics discussed include learning Portuguese, education of children in Brazil, responsibilities in the Brazilian church, conflicts between husbands and wives and between missionaries, status of women in the Brazilian church.

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Last Revised: 3/15/2010
Expiration: indefinite