Billy Graham Center

Interview with Harry Luther Cox - Collection 512

[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


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

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

Collection 512                                                                                                  

[July 5, 2007]

Cox, Harry Luther; 1906-2004

Interview; 1918-1995

Audio Tapes (0.12 cubic feet)

Brief Description:
Interview with Cox in which he describes his youth and family, conversion and spiritual growth, call to missionary work, service with Sudan Interior Mission in Nigeria, relations with and evangelism among Muslims, tribal characteristics, Kano, language study, establishing a leprosy station, medical missions, the Magazawa and Fulani peoples, raising a family on the mission field, furloughs, death of his sons, World War II, animists, children of missionaries, Evangelical Church of West Africa and its mission board, Great Britain's colonial administration of Nigeria, national church leadership and ministry, E.J. Cummins.

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Full name

Harry Luther Cox


August 26, 1906, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Death March 31, 2004




Luther E. and Esther J. Cox



Two younger brothers: Paul and Elsworth


Marital Status

Married Cornelia “Cora” Renkema, March 23, 1937, at Moody Church, Chicago



Peter (1940- ), Paul (1941-1947), Murray (1946-1994)


Public confession at age 14




Graduated from high school with a third class certificate



Graduated from a high school in Quarryville, Pennsylvania with a first class certificate



Graduated from the missionary medical course at Moody Bible Institute (MBI)



Language school


ca. 1936

Northern Baptist Seminary (one term)




Work on his father’s farm



Called to mission work


May 1933

Accepted by Sudan Interior Mission (SIM)


Dec. 1933

Sailed to Africa



Missionary with SIM to Nigeria in Kano, Katsina, and Jos doing evangelism, church planting, and teaching


1948 and 1953-1956

Interim pastor at Black Rock Congregational Church, Bridgeport, Connecticut (1953-1956 he was on furlough in the United States with non-infectious leprosy)


1975- (several years)

Minister of visitation at Black Rock Congregational Church


ca. 1980s

Moved to SIM Retirement Village in Sebring, Florida

Other significant information



First missionary to be supported by Black Rock Congregational Church



Death of son Paul, age six, by drowning in a well at Matazu, Nigeria

Scope and Content:
Harry Luther Cox was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on January 25 and 26, 1995 at his home in Sebring, Florida. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1918-1995.

T1 (75 minutes). Family background, farming with his father, desires to attend agriculture school and to do mission work in Appalachia, attends Moody Bible Institute (MBI) missionary medical course, receives call to serve in Africa, applies to Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), conversion and public confession, mother’s family background, struggles for several years about going to agriculture school or following the Lord, illnesses (infected tonsils and rheumatism), characteristics of his father and mother, family tithing and devotions, returns to high school, hears Dr. Albert Hughs (SIM missionary to Nigeria), evaluation of education at MBI, attends Northern Baptist Seminary, raises support, influential teachers at MBI and Northern Seminary, accepted by SIM, acquires a missionary outfit (supplies for four years on the mission field), financial needs met as he leaves for Africa, monthly support, language school and Mr. Trout (instructor), blunders made when using the Hausa language, orientation to the mission, Nana Trout’s strong conviction about proper clothing for missionary women, characteristics of Nigeria’s three major tribes (Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba), persecution of Nigerian Christians, future of Nigeria, advice from veteran missionary about village evangelism in Kano area.

T2 (48 minutes). Village evangelism and medical work in Kano area, houseboy Jonah’s experience at preaching, principles for village preaching, operation for duodenal ulcer, characteristics of the Gordon Beecham (senior missionary at Kano), Cora Renkema arrives at Kano, friendship with Cora, SIM rules about engages couples, Cora becomes his private nurse while he recuperates from surgery, engagement and marriage, impressions of Dr. Harry Ironside, characteristics of Gwen & Ian Hayes, remembrances of John and Sadie Hayes, work in a leper settlement in Katsina, meningitis epidemic, death of Dr. Jotcham, gift of horse from the Emir of Katsina, houseboy Nathaniel.

T3 (70 minutes). Cora’s first medical patient at Matazu, Muslim indoctrination of Nigerians, village evangelism, reaction of Muslim mullahs (teachers), clinic work, description of the Magazawa and Fulain peoples, Haruna’s (a mullah) opposition to the gospel, village work of Mr. Beecher and Mr. Hall, Palo and Laminjah [?] (native Christian evangelists), Haruna’s conversion and resulting opposition, leaves Matazu and turns the work over to local Christians, church and school work, origins of Christian work among lepers in Northern Nigeria, Peter and Paul Cox, furlough in America, contact with U.S. soldiers aboard ship, Westerville Home and School (North Carolina) for missionary children.

T4 (75 minutes). Leaving sons at Westerville Home and School and returns to Africa, experiences aboard ship, continues work at Matazu, return of children, death of Paul Cox and impact on the church and his brother, relationship of Muslims and Magazawa Christians, evangelism of Muslims, dealing with household workers who were stealing, learns to love Muslims, breakthrough in village work after thirteen years, memories of teaching Nigerian pastors a one-year Bible a course and English skills, work at Kokum [?] River, bleeding ulcer, outstanding students, native Christian pastors taught about depending on the Lord, experience with native peoples, refusing food offered by native pastors, contact with Byang Kato, being mugged.

T5 (74 minutes). Experience of begin mugged, Byang Kato, description of Panya Baba, Christian Nigerian attorney Wole Olufon, Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), custom of segregated tea time and prayer meetings, transfer of missionary authority to nationals, need of a mission organization in the SIM church, the African Missionary Society (AMS), transition from British colonialism to Nigeria, counsels Nigerian Christian attending secular colleges, interim pastor of Black Rock Church, contracts non-infectious leprosy, impressions of Dr. E. J. Cummins, education of his children at Kent Academy (Nigeria).

T6 (30 minutes). Education of his children at Kent Academy, coping with the death of sons Paul and Murray, Joanne Borgeman.


The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Harry Luther Cox in February 1995.

Accession: 95-20
December 11, 2003
Wayne D. Weber


Accession: 95-20

Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE file.

Note: Interviews were originally recorded on five audio cassettes and were later transferred to six reel-to-reel master tapes. All tapes are reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, and on one side.






75 min.

Interview of Harry Luther Cox by Paul A. Ericksen

Jan. 25, 1995


48 min.

Interview of Harry Luther Cox by Paul A. Ericksen, continuation from tape 1

Jan. 25, 1995


70 min.

Interview of Harry Luther Cox by Paul A. Ericksen

Jan. 26, 1995


75 min.

Interview of Harry Luther Cox by Paul A. Ericksen, continuation from tape 3

Jan. 26, 1995


74 min.

Interview of Harry Luther Cox by Paul A. Ericksen, continuation from tape 4

Jan. 26, 1995


30 min.

Interview of Harry Luther Cox by Paul A. Ericksen, continuation from tape 5

Jan. 26, 1995


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