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This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the fourth oral history interview of Miss Elizabeth Morrell Evans (CN 279, #T4) in the archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words which were recorded have been omitted. In a very few cases, words were too unclear to be distinguished, in which cases "[unclear]" or "[?]" were inserted. Also, grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. This is a transcription of spoken English, which of course follows a different rhythm and even rule than spoken English.
... 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 by Robert Shuster and Elisabeth Browne and was completed on February 1990.
Collection 279, Tape #T4, Interview of Miss Elizabeth Morrell Evans, Interviewed by Robert Shuster, August 26, 1985.
SHUSTER: This is an interview with Miss Elizabeth Evans, a continuation of the interview started this morning by Robert Shuster for the Archives of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. The date is August 26 and it's 11:35, 1985 and it takes place at the Billy Graham Center Offices. When Dr. Evans...when Dr. Wright became secretary of the WEF [World Evangelical Fellowship], did he resign as head of the New England Fellowship?
EVANS: No, Dr. Wright was the president of the New England Fellowship until 1951, when he became an honorary president of it. He had been, continuously, from 1924, before the New England Fellowship was started and throughout that whole period.
SHUSTER: And why did he resign in '51?
EVANS: Well, he had turned the work over to younger people and he himself was very busy with the World Evangelical Fellowship and he thought that it was advisable to have a president that was there all the time, in the...in the New England area, and particularly interested in the New England Fellowship work.
SHUSTER: What were his main activities as secretary for WEF? What kind of things was he involved in?
EVANS: He was involved in everything that concerned it. He was the one that first got them started at...at relief work in Germany and finding these young people, I think there were about nineteen of them eventually, that came to America for training, some of them have gone back to do very good work in the countries where they are.
SHUSTER: You mentioned one man, the man from Greece. Are there any others that have come to mind as...?
EVANS: There was a girl from Greece. I told about Dr. [George A.] Hadjiantoniou, but he was in America studying, but, of course, he was on the board of the commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship for many years. But this girl was just a young girl who very much wanted training for the Lord's work, Elpitah [?] Markaglou. Dr. Wright had her go to Providence Bible Institute and got a scholarship for her there. And she finished her work and then she took training with Child Evangelism Fellowship and she was in charge of all the Fell...China...all the Child Evangelism work of Greece now, and has been for a good many years.
SHUSTER: How is her last name spelled?
EVANS: Markaglou, M-A-R-K-A-G-L-O-U. Most of them seem to end with OU.
SHUSTER: Do you recall any of the other people?
EVANS: Yes. There was a young man from Germany that showed great promise and Dr. Wright wanted that he would have an opportunity, his father also. One of the men that was used in the...the work of the World Evangelical Fellowship was Dr. [F.] Heitmuller, and he had particularly recommended this young man. And so Dr. Wright got a scholarship for him also at Providence Bible Institute.
SHUSTER: What were the [unclear] men's names?
EVANS: But he also wanted to take further training and so he came and graduated, I think, or took a Master's here.
SHUSTER: At Wheaton?
EVANS: At Wheaton. And went back and he's done a tremendous work. He had to teach high school to make a living all these years. He married a girl, his name was Najoks, N-A-J-O-K-S. He married an American girl and they had six children. He taught high school out there, but he is...has done a tremendous amount of work the whole time. He was in charge of a Bible school for a time. They buy even brand new, huge vans and fill them up with...with medical supplies and relief clothing and things of that sort and take them over to Poland because there's been a great deal of suffering among the Christians of Poland. Then he has gone to Rumania many times. He went so many times, himself, that he had to stop going because they knew him at all the different points. He would sometimes go six hundred miles out of his way to make a different entrance so that he could get it through without it being all confiscated. One time with some men that he took out there they were...it was completely taken, the whole brand new, large van and all that was in it was confiscated by the guards at the gate. Rumania at the present time is in very bad condition and is very repressive to the Christians. Has razed churches, burned down churches and has put many in prison. The present situation is very bad. But, it...nevertheless, even this summer, he was able to do some of that kind of work.
SHUSTER: Has Dr. Wright ever traveled to any of communist countries for contacting the chu...church there?
EVANS: I don't remember that he ever was in the communist countries. He went to about all the other countries and to a very many of those in various parts of the world. I don't think he felt that he had to go to say that he had been [laughs] across the border. And he was very desirous of having East Germany especially have it, but that he ever went into East Germany, I do not know that. But he did...they did encourage some to come out to their World Evangelical Fellowship conferences and hear about it and they are, Christians are, uniting in a wonderful way for tremendous meetings in East Germany at the present time.
SHUSTER: Did Dr. Wright ever travel in South America?
EVANS: Yes, but not too much. Clyde Taylor had been a missionary in South America and so he felt it was much more worthwhile to have Clyde Taylor go down there into South America and he knew the language, of course, too, so that he could talk to all the nationals as well, without any interpreter. And so he would encourage Clyde to go down every so often. And they did establish quite a good consolium[?], but there was some opposition, for instance, to this one strong mission that said, "No, we don't want to join because we are the boss and we don't want to...to put the nationals on a par with our mission...missionaries."
SHUSTER: So that was a problem they got with a number of different missions feeling that way?
EVANS: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: There was a problem that the WEF had with a number of different missions...
EVANS: I presume, yes.
SHUSTER: ...feeling that way?
EVANS: Because I can remember a miss...missionary saying that in Taiwan as a reason for him not wanting to join at all.
SHUSTER: When did you go to Taiwan?
EVANS: I went to Taiwan...I reached Taiwan in '56. I started in 5...December '55.
SHUSTER: The reason I ask is I wanted to find out when you stopped working for Dr. Wright.
SHUSTER: Was that in '56?
EVANS: Yes. '55.
EVANS: The end of '55.
SHUSTER: So you were really with him until shortly before he retired from the WEF?
EVANS: I was supposed to do more or less exten...extension work of World Evangelical Fellowship. The reason that I was sent was to work with India...in India...with the Evangelical Fellowship of India. And work in their office with Dr. [Everest] Cattell who was their president for quite a few years. And I was also to help reorganize the women's work all over India. And also teach Christian Education, which was my specialty in...at Yeotmal where they had already established the...the graduate seminary. But I couldn't go because [Pandit Jawarharlal] Nehru's...Nehru's government said that I was too old. But the excuse really was...the reason was, they were angry with us at that time for our stand on Pakistan and they wouldn't let even doctors or nurses come in. And Amerett Karr[?] who was the only Christian, and the only woman on Nehru's cabinet, was one of those that signed. And the Bishop of south India signed.
SHUSTER: Signed what?
EVANS: The request for me to come, knowing that they needed that help very much for both of those areas. And wanting that I should come. So they sent a second request, many of them signed it, as well as Dr. Cattell and Ben Wati and the others for me to get there. In the meantime, God had been calling me to Taiwan more in my interest, so that I wasn't unduly disappointed. And since one vi...visa request had been turned down, I sent a trunk to...to Taiwan, thinking that the Lord would have me go there, and left the rest of my things in the basement of the Alliance. I had to have a mission that had been in India at least years to nominally sponsor me and right away the Christian Alliance said that they would like to. And the Women's [Union] Missionary Society said they wanted to too. I'd known the president for many years.
SHUSTER: So, since you...you left in 1955 to go to Taiwan, you had been working with Dr. Wright for about twenty years at that point, is that....?
EVANS: Longer than that. Yes, I had worked with Dr. Wright for six years in Orlando. He was...he was spending quite a bit of his time in real estate and he had never taken any salary at all. All the work he had done with the New England Fellowship or its predecessor and Christian work of any sort, anywhere, he had al...always paid his own salary. It was very difficult for him to give that up and take a salary, very difficult.
SHUSTER: When did he first do that?
EVANS: About 1931.
SHUSTER: Based on all those years of working with him, how would you describe his personality? What were the main features of it?
EVANS: Dr. Ockenga has described it quite well in a fairly long word that he gave at his funeral, I think, which I can give to you. He was a man of great vision. From the time he was just a small boy he was full of ambition. His father had been a rather remarkable man. Without much education, he had educated himself with Webster's dictionary and the Bible. And he was....
SHUSTER: His father had?
EVANS: Yes. He was a good preacher and a good expositor. He had his own original ideas once in a while on exposition but I couldn't find that there was...that it basically differed from what I had been taught all my life in Christian doctrine. And he...the son was a combination of his father and his mother. His mother was a quiet, peaceable sort of a woman that would...would want peace at any price, just about. It was only when the father and the son differed that she would ever agr...agree to disagree with the father. And he inherited quite a bit of that peaceful nature, and the quiet, calm way. He was...he had a great deal of drive....
SHUSTER: That he inherited from his father?
EVANS: Yes, he inherited that from his father.
SHUSTER: The drive.
EVANS: Yes. And...and his father was the sort that always was further looking. For instance, in their family, long before there was electricity, why, they had one of those delta.... I don't remember what it's called...
SHUSTER: A generator?
EVANS: ...but it generates it in the basement and puts it through the house--he had that. Now they tried hard to get that...the town to have electricity, but it was going to cost something to bring it in to...from the nearest point, and they weren't interested. So he went ahead and had it himself. He had the first automobile in the town. He had a nice house. It was very interesting, the story about the grandfather because all the folks in bad weather used to hang their clothes on their front porches and somebody made some remark about...about it. There was a speaker coming to speak at the conference grounds and immediately the father built a...a shed in which they...they hung their clothes. Never open to the public again, an open sort of a shed that would quickly dry it without rain, any need for air. He was that type of man, and his son was even more so. When he was fifteen he earned his first five hundred dollars. He saw a farm that he thought was good, and he decided that he would speculate with that. He borrowed twenty-five dollars and went and put it on as a first payment and got a sale for it that earned him five hundred dollars, when he was fifteen. And he began to see....he went to the legislature. He was very interested...
SHUSTER: In Florida?
EVANS: ...in politics and other things. No, no, no, all this was in New Hampshire.
SHUSTER: So all the [unclear] property and....
EVANS: Oh, yes, he was.... Oh yes, oh yes. He was...he was born in...in Corinth [?], Vermont and when his father was a pastor at Websterville and East Barre and other little towns there and built churches there: Baptist, Free Baptist, Free Methodist. And then he came over into New Hampshire and built a church and had a church and then...then came to Rumney and felt that that was the place that they should start a conference, the father had. And...and so they had their home, a nice home. Always they had the first automobile and the first electricity, the first washing machine, I presume, or anything like that always. And they did well in their business and Elwin Wright had a great deal of business ability. Very, very good salesman in his quiet way. He was...he never was inclined to go around asking people for money, but he would talk about the work. He didn't try to over persuade people by persisting. Like I told you his connection with Sir Arthur Smith was the...the way he preferred to...to get his point across. But he did have a way of going...if he believed a man should be helping in the work, why, he had a way of going back another time if he had said, "No," and ask him later about it because he felt so strongly that that was of the Lord. That was the thing to do. Then he would persist at it in that quiet way. He...there's no reason why he couldn't have been a millionaire. About anyone that knew him said...or he could have done very well in politics. And he enjoyed going into the legislature and being interested in whatever was the issue at the time. So that he was well known in the New Hampshire legislature as just a young boy. And then later in Washington, they felt something needed to be presented to the Senator, why, he'd be likely to go there. And when he was at very young he became interested in...in...in the cases of children that were abused at home. Very much, much concerned about it. And took it on his heart tremendously. He tried at times to get them.... (Do you want me to go on?) He tried to get me to...he tried to do what he could to...to help them even if it came to taking the children away from the parents that were very greatly mistreating them at the point of a gun, if necessary. But he had permission from the government to do...to do anything that he needed to do in a crisis time with children's lives in danger.
SHUSTER: Was he some kind of, then, staff person from some state agency or...?
EVANS: No, no, it was...it was just his interest in them. And he was able to get a bill through the legislature that he felt the Lord outlined for him, on the foster-home care that they had not...knew nothing of it in any of the states, but he said the Lord gave him the outline of a bill. And he got up in...in the morning and wrote it out and presented it to the state legislature and they passed it. And...and it was so...was such a good bill that many of the other states came to talk about it and to find out what...how good it had done and so forth. We know that at the present time foster care sometimes gets a bad name but it did...it did do a very great deal for needy children that needed another home
SHUSTER: Why do you think he was such an effective salesman?
EVANS: Because he really believed in the thing that he was promoting and he believed in it with all his heart and he prayed and...and he went about it in a quiet but effective way. As I say, he was not one that would...that would exude with emotion, but quietly present in an earnest, earnest way present the thing that was on his heart, and it would be so much on his heart that it was persuasive. You know, if a man is really, deeply sincere and really means...means what he's saying and really believes in it, then...then he can influence others.
SHUSTER: Paul Rees has described Dr. Wright's dominant characteristic as "constructive tenacity." What did he mean by that?
EVANS: Well, just that, that if he believed in a thing why, he...he try to find out how it could be worked out. If it seemed impossible in one way, then he would think and pray for another way to have it worked out and he would try to see into the future enough to see possibilities. One difficulty would be with any man that does that, that sometimes they think they will be able to persuade people to part with their money for the thing when sometimes they don't. Now sometimes the man would say he wasn't interested the first time, for instance. I can remember, Clarence Roddy. Did you happen to know him? He ended up, finally, at Fuller Seminary for a good many years, but at the time he was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Portland, Maine and Dr. Wright knew he was a fine preacher and a very persuasive preacher, and eloquent, and asked him to come as a speaker at Rumney for the summer conference and he refused. But every so often he'd ask him again 'til finally he got him there. Once he was there, then he was tremendously interested. He and his wife both were very much interested in the New England Fellowship work and in the Rumney conferences and ever after would do about anything, that they were asked. Well, Dr. Wright had that way of letting it rest a little and then trying again and perhaps making a str...strong appeal of the need of that particular talent that the man might have. And he was able to accomplish a great deal in that way. And his heart, you see, was so on unity, the unity of the body of Christ, that he saw it first in New England and he worked that out until it was a tremendous growing concern and was going in a very, very fine way, it was really remarkable, the growth of the work, and then projected it, you see, into the national sphere. And then again he's the one that would go to these leaders. He did not promote himself, if he could get another man to do a job, he would...especially a man that was good, would be a good one for it, like Dr. Ockenga. Dr. Ockenga didn't care anything about the establishment of NAE, it was all new to him. He wasn't particularly concerned or interested, but...but with Dr. Wright talking with him about it and with him com...having him speak, at Rumney, for instance, and...and bringing speakers continually to the church. There was a business-women's council there, for instance. And Dr. Wright over and again would suggest these good speakers at the business-women's council which was always held at Park Street Church. And if they were good enough speakers to draw people, why, they'd have it in a large auditorium and perhaps have a full house. And that way Dr. Ockenga, of course, was getting more and more acquainted with all kinds of speakers from outside and all kinds of leaders and Christian work. And he himself was such a fine speaker that he was being asked a great deal now to go out among people so that when Dr. Wright was talking about the NAE, he persuaded him to go with him that first year between St. Louis and the first constitutional congress. He persuaded him to go with him on a trip through the Northwest". And they had a lot of services and he saw for himself the interests of the people, that the people had and himself was an excellent speaker for that purpose and did well and stood by him.
SHUSTER: What kind of speaker was Dr. Wright?
EVANS: Dr. Wright was a good Bible teacher but he was not.... He...the trouble was with Dr. Wright, we enjoyed hearing him speak so much and he was such a good Bible teacher, but he was a qui...rather quiet speaker. But...but for, especially for Christians, he would open the Word and do very well, but Dr. Wright would always get somebody else to do the speaking all the time. So he did less and less of it. Now I did a great deal of speaking when I first was in the work. I was asked to speak here and there and elsewhere and was so busy, but, as time went on, and I was so busy and didn't do as much speaking, it was more difficult for me to think that I would...would like to speak. I think Dr. Wright for Christians.... He had a real message to give, but for so long he promoted everybody else instead of himself. But he had a way of speaking on a special subject. For a general open meeting he kept putting in other people, but I have...I have an article that tells about him going to India, for instance. It was his message that persuaded them and turned the table when there was a real difference of opinion in India. And they give him credit for being the one that enabled them to...to vote for the...for the Evangelical Fellowship of India.
SHUSTER: Did...? Well, what about his more personal side? Did he have a humorous side to his nature?
EVANS: Very. Very. But people didn't realize it on a whole, you know. He...he...his father was excellent at telling stories. His father always had a story for every occasion and they were very often humorous stories. Although his father was a very serious man, a stern man in some ways. Dr. Wright, I would say, wasn't...wasn't inclined to tell stories, but he had a humorous way of turning a thing off or speaking of a thing. And if he would permit himself, he could be very humorous, like this...this letter that he wrote his family. He has little things in the...in these letters that he's written his family. You see, I have the family letters, that he wrote on his trips: where he went and what he saw and what he did. And to the family he put in these little personalities which his daughter doesn't want to have given to the public, particularly, but they are nice. You know, he had a good humor.
SHUSTER: Do you recall any examples?
EVANS: No, I don't recall any examples.
SHUSTER: Well, was there anything else that...?
EVANS: It's the way he would say it, you see. It wasn't that he was so inclined to tell stories, like some men are always full of jokes. It wasn't that. It was his sort of a dry humor that would...would enter into a situation. He was a very bad bedfellow.
SHUSTER: [Laughs] Why was that?
EVANS: Oh, he snored so that his...he's renowned for it.
SHUSTER: He was a loud snorer?
EVANS: Yes. And if men went around and they had to sleep in the same room, they...they would speak about it. [laughs]
SHUSTER: Any other characteristics you wanted to mention about?
EVANS: Well, he had a...he had a humility that was very manifest. He never, as I say, he never sold himself. He never acted as though he was of important. It was always the work. It was always somebody else that was important. He never promoted himself. You never heard him say, "I, I, I, I," except as he was reporting a...a trip or something: "They...we went from this village...from this village to the other." In fact, for most of his trips he took someone along because he wanted them to get the vision and have...often to have them as the speaker in every place. And he would tell...he would also speak, but his was telling how they could unite and...and...in their organization and that sort of thing. The other man would give the inspirational talk, like when he took Dr. Rees around, you see. He gave a tremendous thing that would warm their hearts, but it would be Dr. Wright that would talk and tell them what was going on in other countries and...and...and urge them, and he was very good at that.
EVANS: He was quick on his feet, and quick motioned and he was quick in decisions, and usually they were the right decisions, they were good decisions. And he knew immediately, usually, whether a thing was good or whether it wasn't. And he was a reasonably good judge of character. I think it's impossible for any person to be perfect in judging character and many times a man is blamed, or a woman, for...for poor judgement or not working out well, it's very difficult, I think, always, on short acquaintance, or even with the testimonials that other people give, when they're not true...true, to always judge, to always tell. But he was a very good judge of character.
SHUSTER: How would you describe him as an administrator?
EVANS: Very good, as an administrator, except that he had to have people to do...to...to carry out his vision. He always had a big vision, and he had to have people that were able to see that vision and able to...to do a great deal of the detail work. He could not have done too much that he did, if he hadn't had some that would do that.
SHUSTER: Why do you say that?
EVANS: Well, I think that's true of almost any man that's able and has a big vision. He's got to have people that carry it out, people that care for the details. For instance, he had me trained so that if he told me that he wanted a certain speaker and he wanted him to go around to so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so, he could go off to India and...and I would know what letters to write and how to write and so on and where to write and who to write to and how to do it and how to get the...write the news articles and how...what articles should be written and the promotional work and so on. I could just do it in his name. [laughs]
SHUSTER: Sounds like he knew how to delegate authority.
EVANS: Yes, he did, yes. But he did a lot of spade work himself.
SHUSTER: Now, when did he resign as executive secretary of WEF?
EVANS: Around '65. I would have the exact amount, if I had...the exact time if I had known that....
SHUSTER: Let's see, here it says, 1950 to 1958, is that....?
EVANS: [laughs] Well, that was when he...when.... [Pauses] I think it's more nearly right than I am.
EVANS: A good deal. Yes, he still was around in the east and he still was helping and...in an advisory capacity, when he went out to California and worked out there at other things. Yes...
EVANS: ...that's more nearly correct.
SHUSTER: ...was Larry Love also working with him at that time?
EVANS: Not...not very much officially.
SHUSTER: Who was his successor at....?
EVANS: Oh, don't ask me all those questions! [laughs]
SHUSTER: Because you were no longer working with him?
EVANS: I was out in Taiwan and I didn't know everything that was going on.
SHUSTER: What did he do after he resigned or he retired as...?
EVANS: Well, he...he needed to retire. He was old enough and he...he would...he caught cold some. He was very much interested in the development of a retirement place out there.
EVANS: He took a tremendous interest in a place that was very very promising. And I heard that he was somewhat interested in an oil well, but I don't know that that is true. I wouldn't speculate as to just what he did, but I know that he...he had a promotional thing that seemed like a very good thing.
SHUSTER: What was the name of the retirement home?
EVANS: It wasn't a retirement home. It was a great big property. He put down a down payment on it and there were...there was at least one organization that was very much interested in having it for a...a big retirement place. His idea was to have a...a conference grounds out there in that area because there wasn't one in that parti...in that quite an area there. And he was going to have quite a retirement place on there for retired people, retired missionaries and so on, but also conference grounds and probably a home for children and so on which he had started out with as a young man.
SHUSTER: What was the name of the conference grounds?
EVANS: "Paradise" or something, I think they called it. See, I was in Taiwan.
EVANS: And I...he...he showed it to me on a furlough but I knew very little about it. I just saw it one afternoon. But he showed it to Dr. Ockenga, and he thought it was quite a good place. I noticed that in a letter Dr. Ockenga wrote at...at...at the funeral service, he said he tried to get him to come out there, and head it up, you know, and do it. Well, he was an older man by then, you know, considerably. So, at any rate, it didn't work out. That organization, I guess, didn't have the money to finance it. It was a...it was a good, very good, denomination, and an evangelical denomination, and...and they really needed someplace, but it was going to take considerable money.
SHUSTER: Which denomination was it?
EVANS: It was the Covenant church. The Covenant denomination.
SHUSTER: When was the last...?
EVANS: I'm fairly sure of that, not quite sure.
SHUSTER: When was the last time you saw Dr. Wright?
EVANS: He was very poorly. He had had several strokes and...and just was lying around.
SHUSTER: In California?
EVANS: His wife would urge me to stop to see him. I don't know if he knew me.
SHUSTER: He was in California?
EVANS: Yes, yes. Yes, he had moved to California and he had a nice home there in Tahunga [?]. It was off the beaten track but it wasn't too long. He now had had one or two slight strokes before that and that may be one of the reasons why he...he did resign and go west. But, you know, he was...he was pretty well along by that time. And he was cared for by his wife and daughter. His wife would urge me to come and see him, but I wasn't sure, until the last minute I saw in his eyes a sudden recollection and he knew who I was just for a moment. But he was...he just gradually faded away.
SHUSTER: How would you describe Mrs. Wright?
EVANS: A...a homebody. She...she loved a very nice house, good, clean house. She hated dirt. [laughs] And she hated bugs! I remember when she went south and they bought a nice home that they built. They built...had it built. She insisted on a molding around the edge that the cement on the floor...they...they would cement the floor, the men put a rug or something over it. It would come up a little bit on the sides. And I brought some friends, well, Rumney friends, one of them was Elizabeth who married...who married a fellow in my chur...in my class, Elizabeth Murray [Sears]. I brought her and her sister to the house. And Mrs. Wright was just telling us how she'd never have a cockroach and never have an ant in the house when the biggest one I ever saw flew across the room, flew! The wing...I'm sure the wingspread is that much. It was the biggest...
SHUSTER: Oh, you have you fingers about nine inches apart.
EVANS: ...I ever saw in my life! Yeah, but just...why, it was like that. Flew across onto the wall on the other side and I pitied Mrs. Wright, she was so disappointed. [laughs] When he was in Orlando (about six years) and we went to the tourist camps and had services. We had evening service in one camp and then, Sunday, and used the preachers from the town. He was always getting the churches doing things, you know, working together. They had a great, big mass meeting Sunday afternoons during the main part of the winter and another year and he'd bring these fine preachers, I remember he'd bring...How...Howard from...from John Hopkins University. And...and he...he brought Bible teachers like Dr. [H. A.] Ironside, you know, to get these Bible messages at these afternoon meetings that he had at the Municipal Auditorium. They had a full house during the height of the tourist season. But he also had these Sunday night meetings in the tourist camps. It had one hundred and fifty children and a lot of parents. And he played the saxophone and Mrs. Wright played the violin and I played the little folding organ. And we had...we trained a choir to do some singing. Kathryn and I...no, my oldest sister, Anne and I, would have Sunday School in the morning there and then go over to another tourist camp that had seventy five children for the afternoon there in Orlando. And...and he hired my sister full time so that she could go and teach them how to play and....
SHUSTER: Who was this?
EVANS: Atkinson. She was the next one lower than I, another graduate of Wheaton. We had eleven in our family that had graduated from Wheaton. And one that was supposed to go this year but she applied too late. She applied, and was accepted, and then changed her mind so then she couldn't go when she wanted to. But probably will next year.
SHUSTER: What was Mrs. Wright's first name?
EVANS: Florence...Daisy, it was, Daisy Florence, but they called her Florence. She liked that better. Good housekeeper and a good homebody. A rather good looking woman. They had the one child, Muriel, and she loved her family.
SHUSTER: Did she ever travel with him on any...
SHUSTER: ...of his world tours?
EVANS: Oh no. No, not on any of them except if he had a reason, he might take her to...as far as Europe, for her to visit some of her relatives that were over there. He took her also, on a vacation, and other members of the family, when he was supposed to have a vacation. Of course, he paid their way in all those cases. But, there...it was only twice, al...altogether, that he took her as far as Europe.
SHUSTER: I...I have here a list you've made up of some of the speakers at...at the Bible Conference. What if I would just ask you about some of them and you can give me your impression of them. The first one on the list is W. Bell Riley. How would you describe him as a speaker?
EVANS: Oh, excellent, just excellent! He had a shock of white hair and was dignified, straight. And he would come onto that platform, and just, oh, a way that you could believe in what he said by his very way of saying it. 'Course he was an outstanding speaker for the Fundamentalists, a leader of the Fundamentalists for many years. And that's why God...Dr. Wright chose him for the first New England Fellowship Conference. Because they knew...he knew just as soon as they saw that name why, they would know what the Conference was all about. He had me address between six and seven hundred envelopes to every pastor that was cataloged in their own yearbooks, so that every pastor of...of every denomination of all New England would get that notice and he made a great big fine looking program. And he had Dr. Kenneth MacKenzie, an Episcopal rector from Westport, Connecticut, who also taught at Nyack [Missionary Institute, Nyack, New York], that he knew would be a quiet man and a different type of speaker. Then he had Dr. Palmer who was a quite popular speaker in Boston. You see, people seeing that would know that it was going to be an Evangelical conference that was going to start. And there was no Evangelical conference of any sort in New England that was Evangelical at that time, an interdenominational one, in all New England. Northfield had entirely gone liberal so that there were two or three denominational...small conferences. But this was to be something that would be a great...a great help to the evangelicals. So Dr. Riley was very good for that. And he had a daytime Bible study and then he wanted to address the young people especially in a 6:30 meeting on evolution. And he had it on the authenticity of the first two chapters of Genesis. And the young people were thrilled with it and there was one young boy who took notes on the whole thing, all the way through and understood everything so clearly that a little later when his teacher started to talk about evolution, he refuted everything he had to say. He'd, say "Dr. Riley said," [laughs] and he quoted it all and the teacher had no answer for it. And Dr. Riley was that kind of man. Then we'd had him at...for an evangelistic campaign in...in...
EVANS: Worcester, Mass. in forty...'43, I think it was. We had a tremendous campaign there for that and filled Mechanics Hall, for the first of it. We did a video of the spade-work for it. Dr. Edman, at that time, was a pastor in Worcester of a small church, while he was getting his doctorate. And he was in charge of the personal work. Then he had all of the different committees at work to work up a fine campaign. I remember my part was to...to prepare about twenty-five thousand little Gospels of John. I had to get the simple ones, I couldn't get the Scripture Gift Missions' 'cause it cost too much. We got plain ones and we organized the women to come and underlined six of the most important verses on salvation through that. We did almost twenty-five thousand of them. And then...then on Sunday afternoon, they were all organized for the men, too, to come. We had made little packets for the different areas and they went everywhere in all directions. Dr. Riley was a tremendous speaker for that whole series. And then we had a debate at the end of it, on Monday night, and the place was just crowded. And he's so dignified. He was debating with A.A.A. Smith, the anti-comm...you know, anti-Christ...anti-Christian organization. A.A.A. Smith, we used to call him. He had debated with him one time earlier when he brought a chimpanzee onto the platform.
SHUSTER: Who did?
EVANS: Dr. Riley was debating him. And this A. A. A. Smith man brought this chimpanzee, dressed in clothes. And he was going to sit in a chair and he was going to eat with a knife and fork. And so Dr. Riley, in his very dignified way, said, "Well," he said, "I expected that I would meet Mr. Smith, but I didn't know I was to meet the Smith brother." And everybody just howled, you know. And A.A.A. Smith was so disgusted that he kicked that chimpanzee practically out of...off of the platform ...and never used him in the debate. Well, this night he was debating him again, and...and he won handily. And he was talking about four million years ago, and five million years ago, and three million years ago, when a Swede called out, "Were you there, Charlie?" And everybody laughed, of course. And every time that man would start to say, "so many years ago" why...why, of course, everybody would laugh. He couldn't say it. He got quite confused. Now, he brought in little digs all the time, that were entirely off the subject. And Dr. Riley wouldn't answer them. He stuck to...he was a good debater and he stuck right to his debate. And won handily. They were not supposed to have a vote on it, but everybody knew that he won, handily. But I felt very badly that he couldn't answer two or three of those digs.
SHUSTER: Such as? What were some of the...?
EVANS: Well, "Where did Cain get his wife?" and...and...and so-called "errors" in the Bible. The common "errors" that you' hear. And Dr. Riley, see, he stuck to this debate and did a terrific job on it. But I was fearful for some of those young people that would still have those questions in their minds. And if I'd ever had a chance to know that Dr. Riley was ever going to debate again on any subject, I would have mentioned it. We had Dr. Rimmer debating in Bangor [Maine] and he was of a different type. If you want me to tell about him...
SHUSTER: Sure, what kind of type was he?
EVANS: ...sometime, I will.
SHUSTER: And after that I think maybe we'll conclude.
EVANS: We had Dr. Rimmer quite a few times. We had him for a series of meetings and then we also sent him along from place to place for one day meetings. And he would always draw an excellent crowd. It...it...even at Park Street Church on week nights he would draw a very good, very good attendance. He was tremendous on bringing these difficult questions of the Bible in such a practical way that people could understand them. For instance, to talk on...on Jonah and the whale, he went out in the whaling boat for a long time, for a month or two, and did whaling himself to study them. Because it said that the Mediterranean whale has too small a throat to swallow a man and live. He would crush the man. And he would find out the...the facts about a thing. In the...in the Literary Digest, I don't know if you ever remember that, but that was the informational magazine of my day. It told along in 1898 or somewhere right around there of a man who fell overboard from a whaling vessel and was swallowed by a whale, and, of course, they never ex...they didn't know that he was swallowed by a whale, but they tried to rescue him and couldn't. And eventually they caught that whale that they had been trying to get when he went overboard and found him alive in the belly of that whale. All that was the matter was that he was so frightened that he got unconscious every so often and his skin was a little rough from the acid of the stomach, but otherwise perfectly alright. And they exhibited that whale in Wanamaker's store. They had to take out panels. Well, in the city of Orlando I saw a whale that had just been caught that was plenty long enough to have swallowed a man and they had fish that they had taken out of his stomach that were...that were bigger than a man, and the whole fish! Wasn't that something...
EVANS: ...to put in a store of Orlando?
SHUSTER: A great illustration.
EVANS: Yes, and Dr. Rimmer had that sort of thing down so well that he could be so convincing.
SHUSTER: Well, I think that this might be a good time...chance for us to leave here. We've covered a lot of territory.
END OF TAPE