Billy Graham Center

Andrew and Martha Ruch - Collection 60

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent.]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions


An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description.
Letters written by the Ruchs to family and other correspondents about their experiences in Kenya as missionaries. Topics include descriptions of the Kikuyu people; David Livingstone; and their work in education, evangelism, and medicine at their mission station. For more information, please see guide.
Vol: 1 Box (DC)

Collection 60
[January 22, 2001]
Ruch, Martha and Andrew
Papers; 1921-1936

1 Box (DC)


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Andrew and Martha Ruch were missionaries to Kenya, then a British colony, particularly to the Kikuyu tribes of the Kikuyu reserve. They were sponsored by Mrs. Margaret Thorne Tjader, a devout Christian and a philanthropist who, with her husband, founded their own International Missionary Society.

Andrew was born and reared in New Jersey, while Martha's home state was Ohio. They met while attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, and later were married. In addition to training at Moody, Martha had finished nurses' training. On December 16, 1922, they sailed from New York to Africa via London.

On the Kikuyu reserve in Kenya, Andrew and Martha ran a mission station. Here they taught school to the native children, conducted church services, and did medical work. They continued to do this until Martha's health deteriorated and they had to return to the United States. As much as they wanted to return to Kenya, the doctors advised against it.

In the States, Andrew was pastor of the Church of the Sea and Land in New York City while attending school at the Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. In 1927, Andrew became pastor of the Temple Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where he served for thirty-nine years until his sudden death on June 15, 1966. Andrew and Martha had one child, a daughter named E. Louise. In 1979, Mrs. Ruch made her home in Fort Wayne, PA.

Scope and Content

This collection contains a typed manuscript consisting of quotations from letters written from Ruiru, Kenya Colony, by Andrew and Martha Ruch to their families and correspondents while they were serving as pioneer missionaries among the Kikuyu people. Their mission station was named Gathugu and was located in the Kikuyu reserve in Kenya.

The letters quoted from date from December 16, 1921, to March 31, 1936, and contain accounts of their departure from the United States and their first experiences in Africa in 1922. Succeeding letters told of their African experiences relating to language study, adjustments to the new culture and people, and of their work in education, evangelism, and medicine at their mission station.

There are descriptions of the Kikuyu people--their way of life, their values and aspirations, and many of the superstitious and witchcraft practices which were a part of their daily lives. Of particular interest is the account relating to Dr. David Livingstone. Andrew and Martha were able to talk to Matthew Wellington, the last living porter who was responsible for locating and transporting the body of Livingstone from the heartland of Africa on to the coast of Zanzibar and finally to London.

There are one or two letters included which were written by natives to the Ruchs. A preface and an appendix, written by Martha Ruch, are included, as this was an attempt to create a book about the Ruch's African experiences. In the preface, Martha mentions an article she wrote entitled "The Night of Witchcraft."

These letters were retyped by Martha Ruch. In a June 15, 1979, letter to the Archives, she stated, "The enclosed copy is verbatim from our letters with repetitions and personal family matters deleted."


The manuscript in this collection was given to the Archives by Mrs. Ruch in June, 1979.

Accession: 79-63

Robert Shuster
A. Labiano
G. Gallup

Retyped, December 30, 1986
J. Nasgowitz

1 1 Correspondence: Manuscript containing letters from Andrew and Martha Ruch; December, 1921 - March, 1936
1 2 Correspondence: Manuscript containing letters from Andrew and Martha Ruch; December, 1921 - March, 1936 (Copy)

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Last Revised: 1/9/01
Expiration: indefinite