Billy Graham Center
The Archives Bulletin Board
This service is intended for Wheaton College students, faculty and
staff; people who live in convenient driving range to campus; or people who
will be visiting Wheaton's campus. Every month, this Bulletin Board will
highlight a new document or set of documents that are available in the Archives.
Come on over and have a look!
To view items previously featured on the Bulletin Board,
August 2003: "An Ideal Missionary Volunteer"
William Borden, also known as "Borden of Yale," was born in 1887, into a very wealthy chicago family. Between highschool and college he spent a year visiting Japan, China, India, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey; while in London before returning to the US in 1905 he heard and was greatly influenced by evangelist R.A. Torrey, whose preaching helped Borden solidify his purpose and motivation in life, illustrated by his founding the Yale Hope Mission in New Haven, Connecticut. He was educated at Yale University and Princeton Theological Seminary. Before beginning his missionary career working among Muslims with China Inland Mission (now known as OMF International) in China, he lived in Cairo in early 1913, where he learned Arabic, under Samuel Zwemer's supervision studied Muslim literature, distributed Christian literature, and was active in the YMCA. His dream of working in China was derailed, however, when he contracted spinal meningitus in Cairo on March 21 and died on April 9, 1913, never completing the journey he had begun.
William Borden (front row, second from left) playing for the YMCA baseball team in Cairo, 1913.
Charles R. Erdman, one of his professors at Princeton, characterized Borden as "an ideal missionary volunteer" because of several "qualifications":
- His endowment with "gifts of physical and mental strength, of wealth and social position, of culture, of inspiring friendships"
- His "clear missionary vision"
- His "complete dedication to the missionary task"
- His "striking example of Christian stewardship"
- His "definite and adequate missionary message"
- His "missionary preparation"
- His "recruiting for missions"
Borden's legacy, however, extended beyond his life and example as he bequeathed
$1 million to to Christian missions, including to China Inland Mission which
he was joining, Moody Bible Institute and Moody Church, Princeton Theological
Seminary, several Presbyterian mission boards and other agencies. CIM established
and dedicated Borden Memorial Hospital to ministry in Lanzhou, Gansu Province
in northwest China, an area populated with Muslims like those Borden hoped to
||Several Archives' collections have information
on Borden's life, death, and influence, most substantially scrapbooks from
of Moody Church, on whose board Borden briefly served. These large volumes
include the photos, letters, notes, clippings, articles, pamphlets (like
the one he wrote featured upper left), eulogies, and more (created by Borden
during his life or others afterward). Click to read the full
text of the evangelistic pamphlet above What Does It Mean To Be A
Christian? You can also read an Archives presentation (with photos),
When Did We See You a Stranger?" which included a description of Borden's
founding of the Yale Hope Mission.
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Last Revised: 12/4/03
© Wheaton College 2005