Billy Graham Center
Collection 74 - Gloria Gray Wroughton. T69 Transcript
Click here to listen to an audio file of of the unrestricted portion this interview (11 minutes)
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Grace Gray Wroughton (CN 74, T69) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English. Foreign terms or phrases which may be unfamiliar appear in italics.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Bob Shuster, Katherine Grabner, and Paul Bartow was completed in March 2014.
Collection 74, T69. Interview of Mrs. Gloria Gray Wroughton by Robert Shuster on August 25, 2010.
SHUSTER: ...Tape had stopped for some reason. So, now I’m recording this interview. Is that okay?
SHUSTER: Okay. Let me just give a brief introduction, and then I’ll ask some questions and you can answer them as longly [sic] or as shortly as you want.
WROUGHTON: You know, I never did get a list of what those questions were going to be. I guess it doesn’t matter though.
SHUSTER: Yes, I’m sorry about that. I realized that this afternoon. I sent you something this afternoon, but I guess you probably haven’t checked your e-mail recently. But, yeah I’m sorry. I should have sent those to you sooner.
WROUGHTON: That’s okay.
SHUSTER: This is an interview with Mrs. Gloria Gray Wroughton by...
SHUSTER: Robert Shuster for the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.
WROUGHTON: Could you talk a little bit more slowly please?
SHUSTER: Sure, at the moment I’m just recording an introduction for the tape.
WROUGHTON: Alright [laughs].
SHUSTER: This interview took place on August 25th, 2010 over the telephone.
SHUSTER: Mrs. Wroughton, is that correct way to pronounce your last name?
WROUGHTON: My name is Wroughton [corrects pronunciation].
SHUSTER: Wroughton. Mrs. Wroughton, why don’t we start with when and where you were born.
WROUGHTON: In Little Rock, Arkansas in...in1920.
SHUSTER: In 1920. And what years were you at Wheaton?
WROUGHTON: From the fall of 1940 to spring of 1942. I was a transfer junior.
SHUSTER: Where did you transfer from?
WROUGHTON: From Little Rock Junior College.
SHUSTER: And why did you choose to attend Wheaton?
WROUGHTON: Well, one of my sisters had gone there for three years, and I had heard a lot about it. At the time when I went there, I really didn’t know the Lord in a personal way, but I...I thought it would be a good place to go find a Christian husband.
SHUSTER: [Laughs] Okay. How...when and how did you first meet Billy Graham?
WROUGHTON: I didn’t understand you.
SHUSTER: When and how did you first meet Billy Graham?
WROUGHTON: Actually, I never actually meet Billy Graham officially. I saw him around in the campus. I think I first was aware of him, like I said, in prayer meeting, in joint prayer meeting while we would get together on Wednesday night at Pierce Memorial Service and...and pray together. And at that time, we used to get on our knees to pray. And Billy was there. And that was when I became aware, I think, more of him than at any other time.
SHUSTER: You say “we.” Who was it that was getting together?
WROUGHTON: Excuse me?
SHUSTER: Who was it who was getting together at the prayer meetings?
WROUGHTON: Well, I mean just various students who got together to pray together. And I think I mentioned before that our prayer meetings sometimes got to be kind of dull, and we got to get a little sleepy. But I remember that when Billy prayed that the place began to quicken a lot and his prayers were spirit filled and we all became attentive to what he was praying about.
SHUSTER: Was this the whole student body that was getting together on Wednesday night to pray?
WROUGHTON: I didn’t understand you, I’m very sorry.
SHUSTER: Was this the entire student body that was getting together to pray on Wed...?
WROUGHTON: Wheaton student body Wednesday night prayer meetings, where the members of the student body...various members of the student body got together to pray together. And like I say, we used to get down on our knees to pray then at Pierce Memorial [Chapel].
SHUSTER: How many people were usually there?
WROUGHTON: Oh I’d say about a hundred.
WROUGHTON: I don’t remember too well, but I would say about 100 young...students.
SHUSTER: And what kind of things were you praying for?
WROUGHTON: I can’t remember that detail. Sorry.
SHUSTER: You say that...Billy really put his heart into it when he prayed. What do you mean?
WROUGHTON: What do I mean?
WROUGHTON: Well, I just ... he really prayed at a pointed, specific, intelligent way that made us all come and get together and pray with him as he prayed.
SHUSTER: You also mentioned that you had a class with...with...?
WROUGHTON: Yes, I sat next to him a whole year in the Ethics and Theism class taught by Dr. Thiessen. Very wonderful study. My name was Gray, you see. That was before I married. And his name was Graham. And we were seated alphabetically. That’s why I happened to sit next to him.
SHUSTER: What kind of student was he?
WROUGHTON: Well, he seemed to be very ...very studious, you might say. And no nonsense.
SHUSTER: Did you talk during the class or...?
WROUGHTON: Did I talk to him?
WROUGHTON: No, we never did talk much to each other.
SHUSTER: Oh. Is there anything else you remember about that class?
WROUGHTON: Well, I just loved the study. I loved the way Dr. Thiessen taught us. Ethics and Theism.
SHUSTER: How did he teach it?
WROUGHTON: I can’t remember [laughs]. We had a book. We had a large, red book that we studied through, and he was just a very good teacher. You know, I suppose he’s with the Lord now.
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. The...did you ever go to the Union Gospel Tabernacle in Wheaton?
WROUGHTON: I think I went there once. That’s all I can remember. I believe I went there once. Uh-huh.
SHUSTER: And did you ... who was preaching there?
WROUGHTON: I think Billy was preaching the night I went there.
WROUGHTON: I usually went to the College Church, so I didn’t attend the Gospel Tabernacle regularly.
SHUSTER: Do you recall anything from the time you did go? What did it look like?
WROUGHTON: Well, it didn’t...to tell you the truth, it didn’t look like very much [laughs]. It was just a little...it wasn’t a very large congregation as I remember it. I do remember about Billy that as he moved around the campus, you could tell that he was very focused, and he was usually talking to...well I didn’t hear...see...hear him that much but I can remember one time going into Blanchard, and he was talking about something to do with the Lord, some theological problem. So his mind seemed to be very much on that kind of thing. I do remember how very much impressed I was with Ruth Bell. Like I say, I came to know the Lord in a real personal way when I...after I got to Wheaton through the evangelistic service, the Fall evangelistic service. That’s where I...I had grown up in the Presbyterian church, but I really did not know the Lord personally. So I was very much impressed by Christian girls. And men too. But I remember Ruth was very much..., I just thought she was such a lovely, beautiful lady. And she had her Bible with her. And so that was one of the things that impressed me a lot about Ruth.
SHUSTER: You say you had your...she had her Bible with her. You mean at the evangelistic meetings?
WROUGHTON: You could...you could tell that some things of the Lord were important to her, you know.
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. How could you tell that?
WROUGHTON: Well, I don’t know. Just by her demeanor. I can’t remember those details.
SHUSTER: The...yeah. You said that you attended the evangelistic services in your freshman year. Who was...
WROUGHTON: No, my junior year.
SHUSTER: Junior year. I’m sorry. Who was leading the services?
WROUGHTON: You know I can’t recall his name offhand. But his messages were...were very wonderful, and I can remember that that was where I first realized that Christ died in my place on the cross. And that’s where the light of the Gospel really shone into my heart. So I’ve always been thankful that I went to Wheaton, if for no other reason, than to come to know the Lord like that.
SHUSTER: What...what was Graham’s appearance at that time? What did he look like?
WROUGHTON: He was a good looking man. You know, tall, good looking.
SHUSTER: What made him good looking?
SHUSTER: What made him good looking?
WROUGHTON: Well, he had...[laughs] just nice features.
SHUSTER: Okay. Did he...?
WROUGHTON: I wasn’t at all attracted to him that in way, in any way. And I just...just wasn’t interested in him, and he wasn’t interested in me even though we sat next to each other, you see?
SHUSTER: Did he speak with a southern accent?
WROUGHTON: Excuse me?
SHUSTER: Did he speak with a southern accent?
WROUGHTON: Yes, yes. Uh-huh.
SHUSTER: Reverend Graham wrote in his memoirs that it was at Wheaton that he first had African Americans as classmates. Do you remember black students at Wheaton?
WROUGHTON: I’m sorry, I couldn’t understand what you said. My hearing isn’t very....
SHUSTER: No, that’s fine. I’m sorry. I’ll speak louder. Reverend Graham said in his memoirs that it was at Wheaton that he first had African Americans as classmates in school. Do you recall black students at Wheaton during your time?
WROUGHTON: The years I was there, I don’t think there was more than one black man in the whole...I don’t remember any black people being there when I was there to tell you the truth. I have a vague remembrance of one black man student, but I wouldn’t swear to that [laughs]. I just don’t remember there being any black students at Wheaton when I was there.
SHUSTER: How was Graham regarded by the other students on campus?
WROUGHTON: Very highly. I think. I really hadn’t asked others. But I really don’t...I can’t see but how they could have thought otherwise of him, because he was definitely an out and out Christian, you know?
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. Sometimes he spoke, I know Dr. Edman asked him to speak in chapel. Do you recall any of those occasions?
WROUGHTON: I don’t remember his speaking in chapel at all. I don’t think he spoke in chapel while I was there.
WROUGHTON: I think I would have noticed it...I don’t believe that...I don’t recall that. Of course my memory’s not perfect either [both laugh].
SHUSTER: Is there anything you’d want to add about your memories from that time?
WROUGHTON: About Billy Graham?
SHUSTER: Uh-huh. At Wheaton.
WROUGHTON: About what?
SHUSTER: At Wheaton yes. Billy Graham at Wheaton, yes.
WROUGHTON: I don’t believe I have anything to add to that.
SHUSTER: Okay, well I appreciate you taking the time today Mrs. Wroughton to talk to us. And we’re glad to have this tape for the archives. Thank you.
WROUGHTON: You’re most welcome. And I just hope it’ll rebound to the glory of the Lord in it all.
SHUSTER: Thank you.
END OF TAPE
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