Billy Graham Center

Colson Papers Press Release


May, 1997


The papers of Charles Colson, a presidential aide who gave his life to Jesus Christ during the darkest hours of the Watergate crisis, served time in prison, and then went on to found one of the country's leading prison ministries and to become an evangelical writer and speaker, are now open to researchers at the Archives of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. Colson gave these materials to the Archives at various times between 1984 and 1991.

The collection consists of 143 boxes of records including correspondence, memos, transcripts of court and committee testimony, draft of books written by Colson, newspaper and magazine clippings, audio tapes and photographs. It document Colson's service to President Nixon as special counsel, his "born again" experience, his involvement as a witness and defendant in various Watergate investigations and trials, his life in prison and his life of ministry (particularly as an author) since prison.

This collection contains much that will be of interest for historians of Watergate and America in the 1970s. "But for Christians, it is especially interesting for the way it shows how Mr. Colson began to grapple with the meaning of his faith," said Robert Shuster, director of the BGC Archives, "and for the impact of the story of his conversion, as shown in the numerous letters he received, most from total strangers, and in the wide range of friendly and hostile media coverage his story provoked. The many boxes of material containing manuscripts and correspondence related to his published books, articles and speeches also reflect a range of Christian opinion, hopes and fears on the some of the major social and moral issues of the day."

Except for two folders containing transcripts of closed Congressional testimony, and two others of personal correspondence, the entire collection is open and available for use.

The Archives of the Billy Graham Center collects material on nondenominational North American Protestant efforts to spread the Christian Gospel. Its hundreds of collections include the records of mission agencies, evangelistic organizations and service associations; the private papers of missionaries and preachers; oral history interviews and the files of congresses and conferences. Anyone can use the processed collections of the Archives including Colson's papers, and should contact the reference archives of the BGC Archives. A guide to the Colson collection is accessible over the World Wide Web at:

The Billy Graham Center is located at 500 College Avenue in Wheaton, Illinois. For further information about the Archives can call (630) 752-5910 or use the following e-mail address: at:


Send us a message

Return to Wheaton College Home Page

Return to BGC Home Page

Return to BGC Archives Home Page

Last Revised: 8/11/1998
Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2005