Billy Graham Center
Archives

Papers of William Alexander Deans
- Collection 586


[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.]

Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography

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

Lists of Oversize Materials and Photographs in This Collection (Location Records)
    Oversize Materials
    Photographs
List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Box List)




Collection 586
[January 13, 2004]

Deans, William Alexander; 1908-1999

Papers; 1930-1979, n.d.

3 boxes (DC), Oversize Materials, Photographs (1.17 cubic feet)



Brief Description: Papers of William Alexander Deans missionary with Christian Mission in Many Lands related to his work in northeast Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo) especially his publishing of Christian literature in African languages. Collection includes articles, clippings, correspondence, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and tracts. The bulk of the materials cover the 1930s and 1940s.


Restrictions: None



Biography


Full name

William Alexander Deans

Birth

September 23, 1908, Ancon, Canal Zone, Panama

Death

August 7, 1999, Pittsboro, North Carolina

Family

 

Parents

Robert and Christina (MacIver) Deans

 

Siblings

Ella Gunn (Deans) Spees, Robert Scott Deans

 

Marital Status

Dora Elizabeth Winsor (1898-1979), May 4, 1933

Henrietta Ruth Partridge “Betty” (1918- ), September 1980

 

Children

Margaret “Peggy” Elizabeth (Deans) Williams (1934- ), Sarah “Sally” Christina Deans (1935- ), Patrician “Pat” Ann (Deans) Blume (1939-1980)

Conversion

Before 1923

Education

 

1920s

Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA)

Career

 

1929-1980

Plymouth Brethren missionary and printer in the Belgian Congo with Christian Mission in Many Lands who worked with the Babira, Pygmy, Wabira, Wahema, Wangeti, and Walesi tribes

 

1929

Went to the Belgian Conge with his missionary parents and brother and sister at Nyankunde

 

1930-1933

Moved to Lolwa, Belgian Congo, in the Ituri forest to work with Pygmies

 

1933

Returns to Nyankunde and opens a Bible school

 

1933-1945

Involved in evangelistic outreach from Nyankunde

 

1937

First furlough

 

1942

Published first piece of Gospel literature (a tract) at Nyankunde

 

1944-1945

Army Chaplain, Belgian Colonial Troops, Belgian Congo

 

1947-1949

Second furlough

 

1945

Began publishing ministry under the name Editions Evangéliques with Neno La Imani, in the Congo Swahili language, a bi-monthly (later monthly) paper

 

1950-

Published second paper Litatoli (1950), in the Lingala and later the Bengala languages, and Bible study periodicals (Maelezo, Maana, Mafika ye Congo), tracts, and books

 

1954-1955

Furlough

 

1955

Assisted in the translation of the New Testament and Psalms into Congo Swahili

 

1960-1961

Evacuations from Congo

 

1961

Authored the book, Muffled Drumbeats in the Congo

 

1980-1991

Traveled throughout the United States and Canada stirring up interest and help for the needs at Nyankunde

 

1980s

Retired to Pittsboro Home in North Carolina

Other significant information

 

1929-1945

Bill’s parents, brother and sister were missionaries to the Belgian Congo




[Note: In the Scope & Content section, the notation “folder 2-5" means “Box 2, Folder 5"]


Scope and Content


Series: Paper records

Arrangement: Alphabetical and chronological

Date Range: 1930-1979

Volume: 1.0 cubic feet

Boxes: 1-3

Type of documents: Articles, Bible, clippings, correspondence, manuscript, maps, tracts

Notes: Most of the paper records had water and mildew damage and some were separated from original folders. The archivist placed the documents in new folders and kept them, as much as was discernable, in their original order.


Most of the collection consists of Deans’ notes arranged by subject (folders 2-9 to 3-13) containing information on missionary life and work and African people groups (Babira, Pygmy, Wabira, Wangeti, Wahema, and Walesi), culture, and life. They are a valuable resource which give insight into early missionary work in northeast Belgian Congo, in the 1930s and 1940s. These may have been used in Deans’ prayer letters Staccato Drumbeats from Congo and articles in missionary magazines. A subject and code index in folder 2-8 corresponds to the subject folders, although not all the subjects listed have corresponding folders. Folders containing more than twenty pages cover the topics, evangelism amongst Babira (folder 2-18), missionary life (folder 2-35), native customs and traditions (folder 2-36), printing and publishing (folder 3-1), safari work (folder 3-4), and schools (folder 3-5).


A manuscript containing the first four chapters of Congo Chrysalis (folder 1-21) also includes notes for additional chapters. An untitled manuscript (folder 1-22) of over one hundred typewritten pages are arranged chronologically from 1932 to 1940 and by an index code contains mostly one or two page reports on a variety of topics. Those with titles are: “History of Work,” covering the years 1925 to 1930, (index #6-a) and “Who Supports the Missionary” (index #6-b, 1933).


Correspondences in folders (1-8 to 1-15) were written mostly by William and Dora Deans to their family (mainly their daughter Peggy), and prayer and financial supporters. These describe the events of the day, missionary work they were involved in, family matters, and political situations in the country including descriptions of problems that occurred after Congo independence in 1960 (folder 1-15). Scattered throughout are letters from other relatives and friends such as Aunt “Toddie” (Alice Winsor) in folder 1-12; Paul & Betty (Pierson) Teasdale (folder 1-13, 14); Paul and Bill Stough, and Earl A. Winson in folder 1-15. One folder (1-16) contains letters which were written in other languages.


An interesting article about Billy Deans’ missionary work titled “The Conqueror of the Congo,” appeared in the June 23, 1951 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. Folder OS 35 contains the original magazine and photocopies of the article are in folder 2-4.


The Congo Swahili New Testament and Psalms, with Deans’ notes, in folder 1-4, was presented to Deans by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1956 for his assistance in preparing the it.


In folder 1-2 are articles written by Deans including the booklet, L’Evangile au Congo Belge, (The Gospel in the Belgian Congo), and a typewritten English translation.


The miscellaneous folder (2-1) contains a Wheaton College Alumni magazine, October 1960, with a brief report by the Deans’ on their missionary work. A small envelope labeled “Mr. J. R. Kapple” containing two cards tied together with a ribbon with the names “William A. Deans” and “Dora E. Winsor” printed on them which were probably from the Deans wedding.


A variety of loose tracts published by Deans are in folder 3-15. A booklet (folder 3-14) with may of the same tracts pasted into it include the name of the language it was written in and the quantity printed. Folder 2-7 contains six copies of Staccato Drumbeats from Congo, the Deans’ personal newsletter to supports. The Congo Protestant Council Minutes of Meeting 33, February 21-28, 1954 are in folder 1-7.


Sermon materials in folder 2-5 include loose pages of outlines, clippings, notes, he used in preparing his messages. A sermon notebook with outlines and loose materials is in folder 2-6. The are clippings in folder 1-6 of articles written by Deans and others which were cut from various missionary magazines and pasted onto sheet of paper.


Five maps in oversize folder 35 are of the Belgian Congo and surrounding areas. See description in the Oversize Materials Location Record.


NOTE: An almost complete set of Deans’ publications, Neno La Imani (The Word of Faith) (1945-1961), and Litatoli (The Witness) (1950-1961) was given to the Center Library. Neno La Imani was published in the Congo Swahili language and Litatoli in Bangala and Lingala. The library was also given many books Deans’ published by Editions Evangéliques mostly in the Congo Swahili language.



Provenance

The materials in this collection were given to the Archives of the Billy Graham Center by William Alexander Deans in March 1987.


Accession: 87-10

November 13, 2003

Wayne D. Weber

J. Dennison




LOCATION RECORD

Accession: 87-10

Type of material: Oversize Materials

The following items are in the OVERSIZE FILE. Request by collection number and folder location (in parentheses).


Maps; ca. 1930-1950, n.d. (OS 35).

“A Map of Territories in which are located the Stations of Africa Inland Mission - Kenya Colony, Tanganyika Territory, Belgian Congo;” Folded, printed map with cover folder signed by D. E. Winsor [Dora Deans], color, 19"x 23", published by Africa Inland Mission. Ca. 1930.


Carte du Congo Belge, Montrant les centres des Missions Protestantes [Chart of Belgian Congo, showing the centers of the Protestant missions], published black & white map, 18"x18", World Dominon Press, n.d.


Carte de la Densite de la Population Congo Belge [Chart of the density of the population, Belgian Congo], published color map with booklet, scale 1:5,000,000, 28½”x 21", 1951.


Congo Belge [Belgian Congo], published color map, scale 1:3,000,000, 31½”x37", 1950.


Territoire de Djugu [Territory of the Djugu, Belgian Congo], published black & white map, scale 1:200,000, 29"x 35½”, 1945.



SATURDAY EVENING POST (OS 35). Copy of the June 23, 1951 issues of the Saturday Evening Post, containing the article, “The Conqueror of the Congo,” describing Deans’ missionary work in the Belgian Congo.


*****

LOCATION RECORD

Accession: 87-10

Type of material: Photographs

The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.


BLANCHARD, CHARLES ALBERT. Engraved photo of Blanchard with a facsimile of his signature and inscribed: “For William and Dora Winsor Deans, Most sincerely, Frances C. Blanchard, Sep. 14, 1933.”


DEANS, WILLIAM ALEXANDER. Portrait photographs of the Deans family and of William, snapshots of Pygmies some with William or Dora Deans, Pygmies with drawn bows, riverbank at Matadi, Congo, villages in the Congo, lip-plug African women, native reading a copy of Neno La Imani. 1943, 1946, n.d. 14 b&w.




BOX LIST

Box

Folder

Item

Dates

1

1

Address and Notebook

n.d.

1

2

Articles: Deans, William A.

1935-1952, n.d.

1

3

Articles: Others

n.d.

1

4

Bible (New Testament & Psalms) in Congo Swahili in language

1955

1

5

Calendars

1955-1961

1

6

Clippings

1931-1946

1

7

Congo Protestant Council

1935, 1954

 

 

Correspondence

1

8

 

n.d.

1

9

 

1931, 1950-1952

1

10

 

1953-1956

1

11

 

1957

1

12

 

1958

1

13

 

1959

1

14

 

1960

1

15

 

1961-1963

1

16

 

Non-English

1950-1951

1

17

Deans, Dora Winsor: Eulogy

ca. 1979

1

18

Deans Family History

ca. 1936

1

19

Editions Evangeliques Letterhead

n.d.

1

20

Lists: Bangala Workers, Out Schools, Prayer, Photo Captions

1954, n.d.

1

21

Manuscript: Congo Chrysalis, Chapters 1-4 and notes

n.d.

1

22

Manuscript: No Title

1932-1940

OS 35

 

Maps

ca. 1930, 1945, 1950, n.d.

2

1

Miscellaneous

1944, 1960, n.d.

2

2

Prayer Cards

n.d.

2

3

Publications: Advertising, Forms

1959-1969, n.d.

OS 35

 

Saturday Evening Post

June 23, 1951

2

4

Saturday Evening Post article “The Conqueror of the Congo” [photocopy]

June 23, 1951

2

5

Sermon Materials (outlines, clippings, etc.)

n.d.

2

6

Sermon Notebook

n.d.

2

7

Staccato Drumbeats from Congo

1945-1954

 

 

Subjects

 

2

8

 

Index

n.d.

2

9

 

Banyali

1936-1947

2

10

 

Child Marriage

1939-1946

2

11

 

Christian Giving

1933-1943

2

12

 

Colportage Work

1934-1935

2

13

 

Conferences

1935-1946

2

14

 

Construction on Stations

1933-1946

2

15

 

Deans, Bob

1942

2

16

 

Death Items

1933-1941

2

17

 

Drought and Famine Conditions

1946

2

18

 

Evangelism Amongst Babira

1933-1943

2

19

 

Flora

1934

2

20

 

Foods in Africa

1933, 1945

2

21

 

Girls’ Work

1933-1946

2

22

 

Gospel Cars

1945

2

23

 

Grasshoppers

1941

2

24

 

Leopard Society

1940

2

25

 

Literacy and Education

1939-1941

2

26

 

Locusts

1940

2

27

 

Lolwa

1945

2

28

 

Love Gifts

1940-1942

2

29

 

Mariseri Kimereki (Elephantiasis)

1939

2

30

 

Markets

1943

2

31

 

Medical Work at Nyangkundi

1933-1946

2

32

 

Military

1933-1945

2

33

 

Mines

1945

2

34

 

Ministry to Believers

1936-1942

2

35

 

Missionary’s Life

1933-1946

2

36

 

Native Customs and Traditions

1934-1943

2

37

 

Native Evangelists

1946

2

38

 

New Tools

1946

2

39

 

No Title

1946

2

40

 

Nyangkundi

1933-1944

2

41

 

Orphans

1934

2

42

 

Personnel and Missionary Duties

1933-1946

2

43

 

Pigmy Evangelism

1939-1948

2

44

 

Pioneer Evangelism

1934-1942

2

45

 

Plague “Pulex Cheopis”

1940

2

46

 

Polygamy

1934, 1940

3

1

 

Printing and Publishing

1935-1946

3

2

 

Prison Work

1945

3

3

 

Radio

1945

3

4

 

Safari Work

1933-1945

3

5

 

Schools

1933-1946

3

6

 

Scripture Memory

1933-1941

3

7

 

Stanley

1941

3

8

 

Termites

1933

3

9

 

Tick Fever

1936, 1940

3

10

 

Translation

1934-1947

3

11

 

Trip in from the Cameroons

1939

3

12

 

Walesi

1934-1945

3

13

 

Wild Life in Congo

1933-1948

3

14

Tract Notebook

1959-1961, n.d.

3

15

Tracts

n.d.





Send us a message

Return to BGC Archives Home Page
Last Revised: 1/13/04
Expiration: indefinite