Billy Graham Center

Do you have any genealogical information on Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth (Bell) Graham?

The Billy Graham Center has the records of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), not Rev. Graham's personal papers, so we have relatively little genealogical information about him. Following is a select sample of some of the material we have available. If you want to do your own search through the guides to the collections in the Archives that contain information on Billy Graham or the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, click here.

Collection 74 contains various materials that we have collected about Billy Graham from sources other than the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Included in this collection are copies of several letters by Benjamin Morrow Coffey, Graham's maternal grandfather. Coffey wrote these in 1863, when he was a private in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The same folder contains a biographical sketch and obituary of Coffey.

There are many collections in the Archives that have photographs of Rev. Graham, particularly Collection 17. There are a few that have pictures of Billy Graham's mother, wife or children, including collections 1, 17, 48, 141, and 345. Click here to go to links to guides for these collections.

Billy Graham is the son of William Franklin Graham and Morrow (Coffey) Graham (both now deceased). Billy Graham's 1997 autobiography, Just As I Am, has a little genealogical information in the first few pages. You will find more in Chapter 3 of William Martin's biography, A Prophet with Honor (1991) and the first chapter of John Pollock's Billy Graham: The Authorized Biography (1966) (not Pollock's 1976 continuation, Billy Graham: Evangelist to the World) You should try your local library or bookstore to see if they have these books. If not, your local library may b able to get them through inter-library loan from the Billy Graham Center Library (630-752-5194).

There is a brief biography of Graham at the Archives' web site at this address. Click here to go to that biography.

Mrs. Ruth Graham is the daughter of Dr. L Nelson and Virginia Meyers Leftwich Bell. Click here to go to a brief biography of Dr. Bell.

Please be aware that the purpose of this page is to provide information on some of the most relevant Archives holdings relating to this often-asked question. Because of staff and time limitations, the BGC archivists can spend no more than a half-hour helping an individual researcher; we have to focus our efforts on gathering the material and making it available. In order to find all the materials in the Archives on this particular topic, you will need to personally go through the guides to the various Archives collections available at this Web site and in the Archives Reading Room in the Billy Graham Center building in Wheaton, Illinois. If your request will take longer than the half hour we can provide, you will either need to come to the Archives yourself to do the necessary research in our collections, arrange for someone to come and do the research for you, or pay to use the Archives' research services.

You can also do further independent searching of the online database to explore what the Archives has on a wide variety of subjects. You will find only a very small sampling of the Archives actual documents on this Web site. Most of our Web pages only describe what is at the Archives in Wheaton. In most cases you must visit the Archives to use our collections, unless a collection (or portion of it) is available through inter-library loan or as a short-term loan for a fee. You may also find it helpful to visit Wheaton College's online catalog to its libraries and archives (including the Billy Graham Center Archives).

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Last Revised: 3/12/04
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Wheaton College 2005