Billy Graham Center
Collection 417 - Charles Oliver Springer. T1 Transcript
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the first part of the oral history interview of Charles
Oliver “Dick” Springer (CN 417, T1) 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 which 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.
Chinese place names are spelled in the transcript in the old or new transliteration form according
to how the speaker pronounced them. Thus, "Peking" is used instead of "Beijing," if that is how
the interviewee pronounced it. Chinese terms and phrases which would be understood were
spelled as they were pronounced with some attempt made to identify the accepted transliteration
form to which it corresponds.
... 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 transcript was made by Bob Shuster and Jeff Aernie and was completed in February 2004.
Collection 417, T1. Interview of Charles Oliver “Dick” Springer by Paul Ericksen, June 19,
ERICKSEN: This is an oral history interview of Charles Oliver Springer by Paul Ericksen from
the Archives of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. This interview took place at 9:45
a.m on June 19, 1989, at Calvary Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Well, Reverend Springer, I
think the first thing I would like to know is how you came to be called Richard.
SPRINGER: My...I’m named, really, after my mother’s parents Charles and Olive Bishop and
they were missionaries in Japan. My dad (who was a big ox of a fellow) played football at
Northwestern and so on, he called me big...he called me “little Dick” and my mother “big Dick.”
But the big and little soon were dropped and it stuck. And all through school I’ve been called
“Dick,” although it’s not my name. When I wanted to go to China, I had to get a birth certificate
and a passport and it had to have a right name. Had to have a birth certificate. So Charles Oliver
is my name.
ERICKSEN: Well, for a moment when I started checking you in my files and it said Charles
Oliver over and over again and I knew I was interviewing “Dick” Springer and I thought, “Are
these the same people?” [Springer laughs]. Could you tell me when and where you were born?
SPRINGER: I am...I was a red-headed green mountain boy from Vermont. I was born in
Vermont because my mother was there. The only reason she was there was to visit her in-laws.
And that’s where it happened. In 1909.
ERICKSEN: And what did your parents do?
SPRINGER: Well, my dad worked with a granite business...a marble business in Vermont.
Helped his dad, who was there as a farmer at times.
ERICKSEN: How would you discuss...describe the religious environment of your...your home?
SPRINGER: Well, it wasn’t anything special. But I think one of the big influences on my life
was my mother’s mother. She was a pioneer in Japan. And I came across a letter just before I
went to college that was from her to her daughter, my mother, when my mother was large with
child. And not knowing the gender or anything, my grandmother Olive (from whom I get the
name Oliver) was praying that I would have my mind turned toward righteous things. That was
the burden of her prayer. And I met this grandmother once. She died in 1914. She was a great
woman. And...I got a lot of influence from that prayer, I’m sure.
ERICKSEN: Do you remember anything of that meeting with her?
SPRINGER: Oh yeah.
ERICKSEN: Can you tell me about it?
SPRINGER: [laughs] Well, she was a gentle lady. A “gentle lady” in all the best sense there.
She had grown up in New York State. She was very good in language. And I met later one of
her profs [professors], a Latin teacher. And he said that she was just about the best. And she
went from Herkimer, New York (that...that’s where she met my granddad Charles) and she felt
led to go to Japan and went out as a real pioneer. The country hadn’t been opened for twenty
years yet. And she learned the language so well that the people in another room wouldn’t know
it was a foreigner [speaking]. And...it was a problem about Charles. He was working his way
through the Methodist Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. And it’s kind of hard on the money
business. Well, she was going to offer him money and he wouldn’t take it because they weren’t
married. And so she said, “Okay, we’ll get married.” So the afternoon she left for Japan they got
married and she left right after. [chuckles] There was no consummation of the wedding. So he
felt comfortable in taking money from her [Springer laughs] to work her...his way through this
Methodist Seminary in Evanston. Each child thereafter, as they came of age, were told a certain
story of the secret marriage. But one...he [Charles] arrived in 1879 in Yokohama. She came
running up the gang plank and hugged him and kissed him right in front of everybody, about
bowled him over, a very dignified young man. But they within in a year or so...I mean less than
that, they got married and everything was official. He became the treasurer of the Methodist
mission for fifty years over there. He could take four fingers and go down four columns of
figures and get the right answer. He was unusual. I never got a drop of that. [chuckles] He was
good. So that was one of my early exposures to missions.
ERICKSEN: And your grandmother was working with the Methodist mission as well?
SPRINGER: Yes. Wesleyan Methodist.
ERICKSEN: Do you remember your folks talking about stories that they had heard about the
mission work in Japan?
SPRINGER: Well, my mother was a missionary kid born in Tokyo, so I heard quite a bit about
her life out there. And one of the reasons why she was never a good cook was that the Japanese
would never tolerate her in the kitchen. So that was a casualty of being a missionary kid in
Japan. I’d heard that. But my father had an older brother who wanted to go to China. In 1900 he
graduated from Evanston (that’s a Methodist town). And he couldn’t go to China - the Boxer
Rebellion [Chinese reform and protest movement that ended in 1900 with full scale war between
Boxer forces and an expeditionary force made up of contingents from United States, Japan and
several European countries]. So somebody said, “Well, why don’t you be secretary for Bishop
[Joseph C.] Hartzell. He...he needs help out in Africa. You go out there until this other thing
blows over.” So he went out there and stayed there for his life and he became a bishop of Africa,
ERICKSEN: And what was his name?
SPRINGER: John McKendree Springer II. Kind of a hero for me. I’d always get to see him
when he came home on furloughs.
ERICKSEN: So you were talking about the religious environment at home.
SPRINGER: My...my dad was a good fellow but he didn’t...he could have taught Bible or
things like that. But he didn’t. He was away a great deal of the time in sales, traveling salesman
for granite and marble in those days. So I didn’t get to see him too much. And my mother was a
missionary kid and she would read me Bible stories and that was about.... And then once in a
while, we’d get off to church on Sunday. And that would have been a...quite a run. If you went
to White River Junction, it was a whole hour in...in a sleigh. And there in town was a Methodist
church and I went to it. But it...it was no influence on me.
ERICKSEN: How many siblings did you have?
SPRINGER: I had a sister that was...that died just weeks before I was born, had a leakage of the
heart. The next was a boy named John McKendree III, and he one day fell down a stairs and
developed a tumor on his brain. Those days there wasn’t many people who knew about the brain
business. So they went to Boston to Cushing. That’s [Roman Catholic] Cardinal...Cardinal
[Richard James] Cushing’s brother Harvey. And he operated. And he could see but
inadvertently he’d disturbed parts of the brain whereby he would be hungry but he couldn’t
tolerate the food. He couldn’t assimilate it. And he literally starved to death. There was no such
thing as feeding by blood vessels in those days. Intravenous ministry [sic] was not yet
developed. And eight years younger than I was a sister born just before my dad went in the army
in the First World War. And when she was six months old, he left for the army. He had wanted
to be a aviator. He thought that he had licked it because they put him through all kinds of
convolutions and said, “Now, Springer walk in a straight line,” and he did. And, “That won’t
work.” Said, “You...you have to depend on a sense of balance because our instruments are kind
of crude and not well developed and so we can’t use you in there.” So he did the next best thing
in mechanics. He went into what was called in those days “tanks.” It was a new thing. But
he...he became a...a tanker. And studied for it and left for France. And he died of influenza,
double pneumonia on the way to France. We didn’t know it until the war was over.
ERICKSEN: Never got to....
SPRINGER: No. Buried at sea. October 4, 1918. So I was nine years old and he was thirty-six. And I always had a kind of hole in my character because I didn’t have my dad.
ERICKSEN: Was there any uncles or...?
SPRINGER: Well, this Uncle John that went to Africa, I’d see him for a week now and...you
know, when they were on furlough. And others lived in the Dakota territory. That’s
where...that’s where my granddad went as a missionary, to the Dakota territory in 1882. And I
didn’t meet many of them. It’s a long distance from Vermont to South Dakota. So most of my
influence came from, I feel, my grandmother’s prayers that I’d be turned toward righteousness,
righteous things. And this Uncle John was kind of a hero. I had an Uncle Harry, my dad’s kid
brother. Six foot four and he...he didn’t know much on the spiritual line. He was a big.... He
was a fireman on a...on the railroad in New England. So most of my help came later.
ERICKSEN: Can you talk about the process of your conversion and commitment to the Lord?
SPRINGER: We moved.... My mother nearly died of flu at the same time. [coughs] That was
1918. And the doc said, “You wanna raise these two kids? You’ve got to go out to Arizona
where it’s dry and you can throw this thing off.” So we moved lock, stock and barrel to Arizona.
To me, that was a tremendous letdown from the green of Vermont to the sagebrush and sand of
Arizona, but it saved her life. And she could see that I needed a dad, so she married a...a
Methodist missionary whose wife had died of malaria in Arizona. So I had a step-dad who was a
Methodist minister. And that helped me a great deal as a kid because everything I did as a kid I
would screen it. I would think ahead, “Now what I’m doing,” would it hurt my step-father’s
business? Or his testimony? His church? And that helped me tremendously. I got along better
with him than his children did. And it just worked real well. So that was a great help. So I was
in church every Sunday. A preacher’s kid and trying to walk circumspectfully [sic] and it
worked. The Lord knew what I needed. But the greatest spiritual help that I got was a...was
summer conference. I was in a place called Walla Walla, Washington. That’s Cayuse [the
Native American people who originally lived in the area] language for Marsh. “Walla” is
“water.” “Water Water” meant “a lot of water.” And that’s the early history of that city. There
in the First Presbyterian Church the ladies somehow were lead to think it smart to send me to a
summer conference which was held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. There we had a David Brown, a
pastor from Omak. Presbyterian [unclear]...Presbyterian. And that whole week he thumped a
doctrine that I’d never heard. “And, what! Know ye not that your body is the body of the Lord
Jesus Christ and not your own. You’re bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body
and in your mind and in your spirit.” [Paraphrase of I Corinthians 6: 19-20] And this idea that
my body wasn’t just mine to play football with and have a lot of fun, it isn’t a toy. It’s Christ
tool. And this changed my whole concept of life, that there was purpose in being here, that I
wasn’t here just to enjoy things. And as soon as I believed in Jesus and had the proper attitude
and concept, if that was all it was, then He would [Springer makes whooshing noise] take me
off to heaven. But He didn’t. He has me here to be used by Him, to be a demonstration to all my
contacts of what Christ can do in a dedicated personality. So come rough things or tough things
or easy things, whatever, in all those things that the world has to go through I’m to be a living,
constant, consistent testimony of what Christ can do in me. “Not I, Christ” as Paul would say
[paraphrase of Galations 2:20]. And that just when I was nineteen years old and going into
college was a tremendous boon to me. So all this gal and pal business that goes on in college, I
could screen it all out because of that concept. It was a tremendous boom to me, which, of
course, I wanted to pass on to my children one day.
ERICKSEN: How long a process was that first hearing this minister talking about it and your
SPRINGER: Well, I began immediately to apply it to myself. And the last night at Lake Coeur
d’Alene when we had testimonies, I got up and said that I hadn’t heard this doctrine before
although I come from about eight generations of Methodist ministers. I hadn’t heard this. And I
felt it was very valuable and I realized that the Lord was to run my life. So from now on I
wanted Jesus Christ to be my quarterback. That’s what I called it because I was playing football
in those days. [Ericksen chuckles] And I wanted Him to call the signals. My only concern was
to know did He call it or not. That was the only...I didn’t care what it was, if it was off-tackle or
round-end, if it was easy or difficult, it didn’t matter to me as long as it was He. He was my
quarterback. So that really helped my life all the way. I got it right then just before I went to
ERICKSEN: Now prior to...to that time what were you thinking about doing with your...with
SPRINGER: Well, one very attractive thing, I wanted to be something like an uncle of mine my
mother’s brother...older brother. He was a explorer in the Gobi desert and places like that. He
found an ancient city that hadn’t been found and that kind of stuff. That seemed kind of
attractive. The idea of teaching was interesting to me. But once I got this idea of Christ as my
quarterback, I wasn’t interested in world travel anymore in that way. Going around to just to
look at things as a tourist or explorer didn’t appeal to me.
ERICKSEN: [Pauses] What did?
SPRINGER: Well, the fact that there were great needs out on the field and we were learning the
answers and we better get out where we’re needed. We’re only going to live here once so we
should spend that time where we’re needed most. That would be good stewardship of
opportunities and abilities.
ERICKSEN: Were you thinking at that time in terms of being a missionary?
SPRINGER: That concept came in the latter part of my college years, I think. I told the Lord
that when I went to seminary I’d be willing to help in any way I could. Prior to that I would be
willing to be a Sunday school superintendent or something, but once I got to Princeton and got to
know Dr. Sam Zwemer as my prof and Dr. [Charles] Erdman as my prof these men helped me to
realize the needs and what to do about it. And Samuel Zwemer was my major prof for three
years. That was a tremendous experience for me.
ERICKSEN: I’d like to come back to that a little bit later but maybe you could back up just a
step and talk briefly about your undergraduate years. You went to Whitman [College] is that
SPRINGER: That’s correct. That’s...Whitman was a...I was a missionary out there. And the
football players were called missionaries but actually I was about the only one in my generation
that was a missionary. It was school scholastically tops and fine. But spiritually I didn’t get
much help there.
ERICKSEN: Was it a Methodist school?
SPRINGER: No, it had been a Presbyterian one. Had been. Now one time when I had got to
learn the way of salvation and all that, I was a traveling companion for the president of the
college. His name was Stephen Beasely Linnard Penrose of the famous Penrose family of
Philadelphia who graduated from Williams and went out to the Northwest at the...earlier than this
century. I would go for walks with him or I would drive the car for him and I’d tell him about
the way of salvation. And his answer was, “Well, that’s...that’s your opinion.” That’s all it did
for him. But I didn’t get spiritual help from the school much. I did have a prof in history, my
major prof there, who had graduated from Princeton in 1915, and it was he who encouraged me
to go to Princeton. I had selected...I want to go to Westminster [Seminary in Philadelphia]. It
was a new school and on the beam and everything. No question about doctrine. The Lord didn’t
open the way that way. But by going to Princeton there were things there that I needed to get that
I couldn’t have gotten at Westminster.
ERICKSEN: Such as?
SPRINGER: I got there to know the man who brought China Inland Mission to North America.
His name was Henry W. Frost. And every Thursday afternoon my latter...last year and some of
the next-to-last year we’d go for walks through the lanes and trees of Princeton and he would
reminisce on what it was like in the CIM in the early days. Told me a lot about Doctor Taylor,
James Hudson Taylor, whom he had brought there to speak and helped in conferences. And he
gave me a whole rundown of experiences that he had of, “God can provide,” “This idea of
trusting God to finance things was ridiculous. People had never tried that out and we did.” For
instance he one time told me, “You know, Mr. Springer, I was going to cut down on the rations
for the meals of all the candidates that were coming in one time in Toronto. (We were up there
in those days.) And I...I went to my wife Abby and said, ‘I think I’ll start rationing the food a
little sharply and...’cause we’re running low and I think I should start in the next meal.’” And he
said “You know, Mr. Springer, my wife said one word that changed the whole thing.” And I
said, “What was that?” She said, “Henry. [uttered in a reproachful tone]’” [Springer laughs].
And so we went on and got fed...this life of faith for all things. I was impressionable and
learning that God is lean-on-able. You can lean on Him. He will come through. He will make
good on his promises. And these are things that I needed to know in the future. Dr. Erdman was
then President of Board of Foreign Missions [of the Presbyterian Church] and I graduated in ‘35.
That year he...he would liked to have had me become a Presbyterian missionary but there was
one problem and that was money. The mission that year (that’s the Presbyterian USA) were
retrenching (that’s the word they used), calling people off the field. Cutting down. So Dr.
Erdman said, “Well, you’re interested in work with Muhammadans and we don’t have that type
of work. Why don’t you see about going out with the CIM, China Inland Mission. They work up
in the northwest [of China] with Muhammadans.” In fact, Dr. Erdman had been very close to
[William] Borden of Yale. There’s a book Borden of Yale ‘09 [written by Mary G. G. Taylor,
published in 1926]. And Walter Erdman was his brother, took him around the world. So they
were close. He recommended that I apply to the CIM. They sent out that year...the Presbyterian
sent out eight. The China Inland Mission sent out eighty-one. It was all by faith. And it was
ERICKSEN: Now going back to Henry Frost. What...what was his position in CIM at the time
you got to know him?
SPRINGER: When I got to know him he had just recently come from Princeton...to Princeton,
retired from being the director for North America of the China Inland Mission. [Frost retired in
1929.] He had introduced it against the will almost of Hudson Taylor. He...he tried to encourage
him to have Americans join that Mission. Well, they were British. But he [Taylor] came over to
visit and to speak....
ERICKSEN: Taylor did? Or Frost?
SPRINGER: Frost had Taylor come over. And, to the astonishment of Taylor, Frost had gotten
together a whole group of young people with bills guaranteed by backers ready to go there.
[Chuckles] He couldn’t turn them down. It was like something that God had done and he...he
had to go along with it. So that’s how we got started. And it was a thrill to hear these stories.
ERICKSEN: Do you remember other stories he told to you?
SPRINGER: Oh yeah. He...one time in Toronto it was very cold and they were down to two
scuttles [containers] of coal (one hard and one soft) and shivering around. And a...a member of
the board of the CIM in Toronto came in and blew the breeze [chatted]. In fact, he interrupted a
prayer meeting where they were praying for coal. And then he left. Then he came back. “Oh, I
forgot,” he said. “I run a coal business here and I have a cart...cartload of coal, hard and soft,
that are available to you. Just let me know anytime you might need it.” And the secretary
jumped up and down and said, “I need it right now.” [laughs]. That was quite impressive for all
concerned. That was one of his stories.
ERICKSEN: [Pauses] What kind of man was Frost?
SPRINGER: He was a good businessman. He had been successful as a businessman in New
York State. And he was spiritual and he had heard of a...of a Bible conference that was on the
lake there near Toronto. And he came to the Bible conference and there were several strange
fellows there. They were dressed like Chinese. And he called them [pauses] the Cambridge
Seven [well known group of seven Cambridge University students who became missionaries to
China in 1885]. And he...he met them and listened to their stories and what they were doing.
And some of them are wealthy. They had...like C.T. Studd, they just walked away from it to do
this. And...and Frost was very much impressed that young men thought that much of serving the
Lord and it encouraged him to do this type of work. So he was prepared to let down anything to
serve the Lord like these fellas and it was a great blessing to him.
ERICKSEN: Was he a big man? Small man?
SPRINGER: Oh, he was not tall, probably five foot seven, something like that. Not heavy set
but...and not much hair. Very seldom [sic]. He had a good sense of humor. And he was
articulate and able to talk about the Lord’s business very well.
ERICKSEN: Was he a quiet man? Jovial? What kind of personality did he have?
SPRINGER: He wasn’t the type that joked a lot. He wasn’t like that. He wasn’t like my dad
[Springer laughs]. But what he said was worth listening to. And in a quiet way he said very
helpful things that could be used later and he was a great blessing to me. Thursdays I’d come
over to their house and he’d stand at the bottom of the stairs in his house and say, “Abby dear, we
have guests here.” And we would have tea together.
ERICKSEN: So how long of a time period did you have when you were meeting with him?
SPRINGER: Oh, about fifty percent of my time at Princeton. The Lord knew I needed it and he
provided it. It was a real blessing.
ERICKSEN: Now you mentioned that...I guess it was Erdman....
SPRINGER: Charles Erdman was my prof. Walter was a missionary in Korea and his son
[Willard] Winn [Erdman] was a schoolmate of mine. We were in the same eating club together.
ERICKSEN: You mentioned that...I’m not sure which one of them said it...that you were
interested in working with the Muhammadans and that they didn’t have work....
SPRINGER: No. Charles who was president of...of the denomination’s missions made that
ERICKSEN: When did you become interested in working with Muslims?
SPRINGER: What attracted [sic] to me by Charles Erdman about in my first week of
seminary...seminary. He loaned me this book, Borden of Yale, ‘09. I suppose he went home and
prayed that, “This might help Springer.” So he loaned it to me and I read it and was quite
influenced that a millionaire would be willing to set aside all these things to go work with
Muhammadans. He did go up to Princeton...he was in Yale ‘09 and Princeton ‘12. And then he
went to Egypt to learn Arabic. He wanted to do it right...or rightly. And he died there from
meningitis. And Zwemer, my prof, was the pastor, local missionary that took care of the funeral.
So there was that tie-in. And there were times when Borden’s mother, I believe, stayed one
summer in...in (I was gonna say the town) the city of Princeton and got to know the people, so
ERICKSEN: Can you tell me about Samuel Zwemer?
SPRINGER: Samuel Zwemer was a prolific writer. Very articulate, very able. And he could
speak several languages. Some of his.... Well, I used to go in the Princeton library [and look in
the card catalog] and he had about three inches of cards for his books in fifty languages. He was
just prolific in writing and able in writing...very attractive. I wanted to steal autograph books
from him. Very precious.
ERICKSEN: Was he a personable man? Did you have the same kind of...?
SPRINGER: Are you talking about Erdman?
ERICKSEN: No. Zwemer.
SPRINGER: Zwemer. He was a no nonsense person. Not jovial. But he knew his business.
He was able to give it out clearly. Very articulate. And his wife was a real mother and for me
she was Mother Zwemer. And one of the last letters she ever wrote, I guess, was to me to come
and have tea with them in New York when I got back from the mission field. A real mother. So
I always felt welcome there.
ERICKSEN: What was the spiritual environment at Princeton like?
SPRINGER: Well... The...they had just had a break up with [John Gresham] Machen. He had
left in ‘29. I went there in ‘32 and for me most of the profs were on the beam for doctrine and
very helpful. There came to be and were even in my time students that were off beam. Maybe a
teacher or two who didn’t thump the things we felt were important. So there was a little change
there, but it didn’t bother me, because I knew what I wanted. I was a preacher’s kid that knew
the doctrine enough to know I wanted it as much as possible. So that was no bother to me that
there might be a little mixture in what was dished out. But the main, big leading men were right
on beam. [Springer is referring to the belief of conservative Presbyterians that Princeton
Seminary was becoming liberal in its theology.]
ERICKSEN: What was the feeling at the school with the departure of Machen and the founding
SPRINGER: The attitude of the faculty was that Machen was a great scholar. And his
command on Greek...which...(he had a book on Greek) was flawless. And they used it. And we
felt he was...had a natural gift of teaching and respected him highly. That he had personality
problems and probably was better serving elsewhere, well, that was up to him. But we...we
respected him. We were sorry he had to leave. But...but he and Erdman...he didn’t like working
with Erdman. When they had to say something to one another why he would drop something on
the floor and mumble around and pick it up and be going elsewhere, that type of thing. But
Erdman in those days...I was there when it was still quite tight. He was a real gentlemen.
Erdman was so much a gentlemen that when he went out to visit his brother Walter in Korea, he
was more polite than the Koreans. [Chuckles] He made a real impression on the people. Erdman
was a real gentleman.
ERICKSEN: Now you say that you had intended to go to Westminster but that didn’t work out.
What...did you apply to Westminster?
SPRINGER: I didn’t get to that. I didn’t have the money. But by helping bring 42,000 head of
sheep to Chicago I worked my way that far to Princeton. And my aunt bought me a bus ticket.
For the first Monday I was in Princeton, I think I had twenty cents. But I just had to trust the
Lord on it. He was opening the way. And I was able to work in an eating club. That helped.
And then money came from the [Presbyterian] Board of Education to pay my bills. That offer
had never been...I’d never had that bother...that offer given to me from Westminster. And in
these Depression days you went where you could get help. But the Lord knew that I needed the
help that could come from Frost and Erdman and Zwemer and I couldn’t get that any other place.
And the Lord knew. And I got the help and I’m very thankful.
ERICKSEN: Now [pauses] Erdman suggested that you apply at CIM. How long after he put
that idea forth did you go ahead and do that?
SPRINGER: Almost immediately. It was senior year. And the...the CIM was in Germantown,
Philadelphia fifty miles or so away and it was no great difficulty to get over there. So I went and
visited and met Dr. [Robert] Glover who then was head of the mission and things got started. I
invited Dr. Glover to come up to Princeton to come and speak. I was president of the Student
Volunteers [a group of students interested in becoming missionaries] at Princeton that year and
had him come up and be a speaker. And I remember as he came to speak, Charles Erdman came
to the meeting and he had a bit of criticism that the CIM bragged about living by faith but they
wrote all these books and these books were influencing people to give money. [laughs] There
was a bit of tension there for a moment but then Dr. Glover said, “We have...we have no
monopoly on this. You...you can write books too.” [laughs]. And the Lord just used the books.
They weren’t just for money raising. They were informative.
ERICKSEN: Tell me about the SVM [Student Volunteer Movement] group.
SPRINGER: Student Volunteers. My senior year (that would be ‘35) things were not going
good. The...I mean the leaders of the Student Volunteers were liberal and the whole thing was
kind of coming to a stop. I had Robert Wilder come to speak one noon at Princeton and went
and got him and rode with him. Robert Wilder was one of the founders of the Student
Volunteers. One of those few boys that got it going. And I thought it would be wonderful to
have our group meet with him. At which time during this ride up, he told me that he no longer
pushing Student Volunteers although he had founded it, because of its kind of a fuzzy concept
of...of the important doctrines of the Bible. He was in another one.
END OF TAPE