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Handbill promoting the Chicago Convention Campaign, 1952.
Fifty-two years ago, the Republican Party nominated Dwight D. Eisenhower as its presidential candidate at their convention in Chicago's International Amphitheatre (July 7-11, 1952), along with their vice-presidential choice, Richard M. Nixon. Two weeks later (July 21-26) in the same Amphitheatre, the Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman as their party's candidates. (It was in this election year that political campaign commercials, now common and criticized, were for the first time aired on the young television medium.) At the crossroads of these two campaigns, a group of Chicago Christians seized the opportunity to convene their own campaign to raise spiritual questions and offer answers. Held in a series of meetings throughout the Upper Midwest during July 1952, the final rally took place in the Chicago Amphitheatre where the Democratic National Convention had just concluded the day before. Torrey Johnson, an area pastor and evangelist, was at the center of the planning and the meetings of the "campaign." Jim Vaus, converted during Billy Graham's 1949 Christ for Greater Los Angeles meetings and a newly ordained minister, was also a featured speaker during the meetings held in the hall on Sunday, July 27th.
The item above and those featured on an extended page with more Campaign samples (photos, clippings, and more) illustrate this third campaign that talked about spiritual values in the midst of the country's political process. The documents and photographs featured here come from Collection 285, the papers of Torrey Johnson, soon to be opened for use by researchers.