Billy Graham Center
Archives


For Immediate Release

October 1997

DOCUMENTS TELL THE STORY OF AN AMERICAN EVANGELIST

American evangelist Grady Wilson (1919-1987) was one of the leaders of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) from its earliest days and a man who preached in every part of the world. His papers tell an important part of the story of the post-World War II church in America and they are now available to researchers at the Billy Graham Center Archives, in Wheaton Illinois.

Wilson gave his life to Christ at the same 1934 meetings where the teenage Billy Graham was saved. He was a member of Graham's evangelistic team from the late 1940s on, in addition to holding his own meetings. He served of the board of trustees of the BGEA from its founding in 1950, was president of its publishing arm and he was an active leader in his Southern Baptist denomination. All of these activities and more are reflected in his papers (Collection 544), according to archivist Robert Shuster. "These records, which cover the period from about 1952 until Rev. Wilson's death, not only tell his story. They also show how the BGEA grew over the years into an important center form Christian evangelism on an international basis and a trainer and encourager of other ministries. They also contain hundreds upon hundreds of reports from other evangelists which Rev. Wilson received regularly and information on the development of Protestant fundamentalism and evangelicalism in the United States and other countries. And then there are the letters and reports about different Baptist denominations and Baptist mission, work, especially Southern Baptist, outside of America. These 67 boxes of records are a very rich lode of material for Christian workers, scholars and laypeople interested in evangelism and religious history."

Over 90 percent of the collection is open to users now, with the rest of the folders being opened over time. A guide to the collection can be found on the World Wide Web at this address:
http://www2.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/guides/544.htm

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 Wilson's papers, and should contact the reference archivist of the BGC Archives.

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: bgcarc@wheaton.edu


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