Billy Graham Center

Papers of Bernard Leonard Jack Litchman -
Collection 451

[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

Biography of Bernard Leonard Jack Litchman

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

Lists of Books, Negatives, Photo Albums, Photographs, and Slides in This Collection (Location Records)
    Photo Albums
List of the Contents of Boxes of Paper Records in This Collection (Container List)

Brief Description.
Diaries, negatives, photographs, photo albums, slides, and a script of a radio program presented on UNSHACKLED by the Pacific Garden Mission detail the missionary work of Jack Litchman, who worked in the former Belgian Congo in and around the Linga mission station and was involved in setting up Sunday Schools, churches, itinerant preaching, and other mission activities as well as working as a health officer for the Belgian government. For more information, please see guide. Vol: 2 boxes (DC), Negatives, Photographs, Slides

Collection 451 [October 12, 2000]
Litchman, Bernard Leonard Jack; 1890-1972
Papers; 1917-1971

2 Boxes (DC, 1 cubic foot), Negatives, Photographs, Slides


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Bernard Leonard Jack Litchman (originally Lichtman) was born on January 15, 1890. His father was Hirsh "Harry" Lichtman, a Lithuanian Jew who lived just off the Bowery in New York City. When Litchman was five, his mother died in childbirth and his father, unable to care for him and his younger sister Mary, placed them in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. When Litchman's father remarried, the asylum insisted he remove the children. Bernard did not get along with his step-mother and spent more and more time away from home. At fourteen he was arrested at Coney Island and sent to the New York Juvenile Asylum, a Christian organization. There he had to attend church services and Sunday School. When he returned home, the situation was no better and his step-mother drove him from the house. He worked as a telegraph messenger for a while and then at sixteen he put himself under the care of the Children's Aid Society and was sent to work on a ranch in Texas.

Litchman stayed in Texas for about a year and then began a period of drifting from place to place working at a variety of menial jobs. He ended up in Los Angeles, without money and hungry. On March 24, 1912, Bill Mullin, a Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) street preacher, invited Litchman to follow him with the promise of supper. He went with Mullen to a meeting where Dr. Reuben A. Torrey preached and after the meeting Litchman accepted Christ as his Savior. He then found work as a construction laborer, clearing away old buildings to make way for new BIOLA buildings. He also began speaking at meetings, giving his testimony. At a missionary conference, he heard a man speak about working with people who lived a thousand miles up the Congo River at that time and he felt called to go to Africa as a missionary.

After taking classes at BIOLA, he sailed aboard the City of Calcutta on August 20, 1917, bound for Durban, South Africa, together with twenty-five other missionaries of the Africa Inland Mission. Traveling by steamer, train, truck, and finally on foot, Litchman reached Bogoro, a town in the Belgian Congo (now Zaire) on an escarpment almost three thousand feet above Lake Albert. He stayed in Bogoro for several months, learning languages and helping build a mission house before moving on to his first assignment in the area inhabited by the Balendu, a tribe known for its fierceness, where he worked until his first furlough in 1925.

After his furlough, before he returned to Africa, Litchman went to Belgium, where he studied tropical medicine. Upon completion of the course, the Belgian government gave him the position of Health Officer. When he returned to the Congo, the government required him to provide vaccination against an outbreak of dysentery (In a period of six weeks, he gave thirty-two thousand injections). During the following years, "Bwana Jack," as he was known, led the way in providing better disease control as well as teaching agriculture, establishing schools, and evangelism and leading thousands to Christ. Litchman worked in the Congo until 1961, when he was ordered out because of the unrest and revolution. He and many other missionaries were escorted to the border of Kenya by United Nations Ethiopian solders. From there he returned to the United States and went to live at Media, the AIM retirement home in Clermont, FL. Litchman died at Media on January 16, 1972.

[NOTE: In the Scope & Content section, the notation "folder 2-5" means box 2, folder 5.]

Scope and Content

This collection consists of diaries, negatives, photographs, and slides created by Bernard "Jack" Litchman about his work in the former Belgian Congo (now Zaire), mostly among the Balendu people. There is also a script, titled "The Barney Litchman Story," produced for the Pacific Garden Mission radio program Unshackled. It was written by Jack Odell and recorded on December 19, 1964, and January 2, 1965 (folder 2-7).

The diaries begin on July 11, 1917, and run on and off until 1971. They contain brief daily entries about Litchman's health, the weather, and daily activities, e.g., "Sunday Nov 17 [1918] - Mr. Grings and I had prayer together. We prayed for rain...." "Monday. Nov 18 - It rained this morning. Praise God for answering prayer...." (Folder 1-1). He describes briefly holding various services, Sunday School meetings, prayer meetings, language study, building his house, planting gardens, traveling about the area, meetings with other missionaries, the state of his health, vaccinations (folder 1-4) evacuation from the Congo (folder 2-3), and life at the Media retirement center in Clermont, FL (folder 2-4 and 5).

Some of the gaps in the diaries and reasons for them are listed in the 1959 diary contained in folder 2-2. The first gap runs from October 1925 to January 1932, which covers Litchman's first furlough and his studies in Belgium and also includes about five years of work in Rethy and Linga for which the diaries were lost. Another gap occurs from December 1932 to January 1936, at which time he was again in the United States. Diaries are missing from January 1962 until December 1965 and January 1968 to December 1969.

The collection contains about 60 negatives, over 900 photographs, and over 500 slides of African scenes that Litchman had taken to illustrate his talks about the work of Africa Inland Mission. There are two photographic scrapbooks that contain pictures of Litchman and his family and friends from the time he was a boy. Many of the photographic negatives were on nitrate film and were disposed of. The photographs and slides were selected from many more on the basis of identification and topic and the others were eliminated. Additional information about Litchman may be found in Collection 81, Records of Africa Inland Mission.



The materials in this collection were received by the Center in October 1982 from Africa Inland Mission and in April 1992 from Mr. Donald Dix.

Accession 82-149, 92-40

May 25, 1993
Janyce H. Nasgowitz
E. Diaz
B. Phillips

Revised, August 30, 1994
Janyce H. Nasgowitz

Accession 82-149
Type of Material: Book
The following item is in the REFERENCE ARCHIVIST'S OFFICE:

The Holy Bible. The Scofield Reference Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1917. Inscribed: "This Bible was presented to Barney Litchman by the Men's Bible Class of the First Presbyterian Church in Seattle Wash. Jan 1st, 1926."


Accession 82-149
Type of Material: Negatives
The following items are filed in the NEGATIVE FILE; request by Folder Titles at the beginning of each entry below:

MISSIONS--ZAIRE (LINGA). Outdoor evangelistic meetings and other mission activities at Linga station. 23 b/w, n.d.

MISSIONS--AFRICA. Negatives depict African scenery, open-air evangelistic meetings, and other mission activities in Africa. 38 b/w, n.d.


Accession 82-149
Type of Material: Photographs
The following items are filed in the PHOTO FILE; request by Folder Titles at the beginning of each entry below:

BARNEY, JOHN AND JESSIE. A.I.M. missionaries from Kijabe, Kenya. 1 b/w, 1962.

BRASHLER, PETER AND EDYTH. A.I.M. missionaries in Zaire; he served as Field Director from 1963 to 1970. 1 b/w, n.d.

LITCHMAN, BERNARD LEONARD JACK. Photos include Litchman and his sister as children; postcards of Litchman and others in delivery van pulled by horses, lumberjacks, as a cowboy; in Africa; with his sister as adults; nephew Mark Litchman and family (he was a representative in Washington State). 91 b/w, 8 color, 1948, 1968, n.d.

MISSIONS--AFRICA. Photographs of mission activities in Africa, such as conference groups, baptisms, buildings, missionaries, house construction, etc. 231 b/w, n.d.

MISSIONS--ZAIRE (BLUKWA). Photos of Koli and Pitsolo, evangelists; Blukwa station, 1920; evangelist Pilipili, his wife, and baby. 3 b/w. 1920, n.d.

MISSIONS--ZAIRE (LINGA). Photos include groups of Africans working, in large groups at services and conferences, baptisms, Litchman with other missionaries, and other mission activities. 69 b\w, 1952, n.d.

MISSIONS--ZAIRE (RETHY). Photos include groups of Africans working, in large groups at services and conferences, baptisms, Litchman with other missionaries, and other mission activities. 126 b\w, n.d.


Accession 82-149
Type of Material: Photo Albums
The following items are filed in the PHOTO ALBUM FILE; request by Folder Titles at the beginning of each entry below:

LITCHMAN, BERNARD LEONARD JACK. PHOTO ALBUM I. Unidentified photographs of family members, activities, and places, many of which include Litchman in the photos. 198 b/w, n.d.

LITCHMAN, BERNARD LEONARD JACK. PHOTO ALBUM II. Mostly unidentified photographs taken probably by Litchman (although he is included in some of them), some from his time in California; includes shots of BIOLA. 421 b/w, n.d.


Accession 82-149
Type of Material: Slides
The following items are filed in the SLIDE FILE:

S1:1-20 - Slides of Sudan; Linga and Blukwa stations in Zaire (formerly Belgian Congo); Linga leaders; native groups; graduates at Blukwa.

S2:1-3 - Slides of a safari.

S2:4-20 - Slides of a safari; pygmies; public address system; Litchman with "Bea" and "Nellie" [perhaps Beatrice King and Nellie Schmitt, other AIM missionaries]; triplets; natives; Alur clerks; Alur leaders; map of Africa; mountain named "Mt. Jack."

S3:1-20 - Slides of a women's meeting; baptism; boys in Linga school; cornetists; transportation by bicycle; tatoo; native costume; AIM passengers next to Sabena airplane.

S4:1-20 - Slides of a women's conference; map of Africa; bus transportation; Evangelical Hill [area used for open air meetings]; inoculation for bubonic plague; shots of Africans; an African tribunal; outdoor gatherings.

S5:1-20 Slides of Africans; evangelical houses; medical staff; AIM founder Peter Cameron Scott's picture on a map of Africa; Litchman with pygmies (cracked); Linga station; an outschool.

S6:1-20 Slides of Africans, leaders of Rethy and Linga, burned woman, various groups and activities; celebrating Christmas; Linga conference; public address truck.

S7:1-20 Slides include Adi (Zaire) Bible School; Africans dancing, gambling, in groups; African evangelists, leaders from Rethy and Linga; Litchman's birthday; school house; Kasengu church (Zaire); baptism.

S8:1-20 Slides of Babindi "Pioneers"; buffalo; Litchman with Libi (African chief); inside school house; Buba school; reroofing Litchman's house; Pygmies; a Pygmy albino.

S9:1-20 Slides of African activities; a revival; song leaders; women's conference at Linga; Linga market; Linga building addition; outdoor service; soldiers.

S10:1-20 Slides of African sunset, triplets, lepers, medical staff, nurses (Blukwa?); mission map; eight-foot sedan.

S11:1-20 Slides of African people and activities; girls conference; medical visit; country leaders; Rethy school house; horn blowers.

S12:1-20 Slides of African people and activities; baptism; Bible school at Linga; public address system enroute, with Litchman; organ being played outdoors; Litchman with African soldiers; Litchman with a Mr. Ward; natives transporting Caucasian man with poles.

S13:1-20 Slides of Litchman speaking to Africans; an African village; a missionary woman with Africans; missionary woman with African children; map of Africa and one of central Africa.

S14:1-15 Slides of Africans around a bonfire; in a field; standing in front of a building; women and girls with baskets on their heads; children with jars on their heads; a missionary woman with children and with adults.

S14:16-20 African family, women carrying children on their backs, etc.

S15:1-20 Slides of Africans in western suits; missionary woman with groups of African children and/or adults; huts; African family; unloading a public address system from a truck; Litchman and an AIM group in front of monuments in Egypt; a sailboat; a Congolese soldier.

S16:1-20 Slides of African woman making food; various groupings of Africans; African hairdos; [John] Gration house evacuation; dancers; baboon; villages; door to Libi prison.

S17:1-20 Slides of a school house; elephant; dead hippopotamus; buffalo; a volcano; dancers; converted snake woman and her son; African villages; hospital laundry; delegates to conference on bicycles; Chief Libi.

S18:1-20 Slides of Africans playing cornets; on safari; baptisms; Africans dancing; Balendu tribesmen; graduation.

S19:1-20 Slides of the coastline with boats in the water; African group gathered around a speaker; a farewell; a park; making a new hut; an African with a spear and shield; elephants; ants and locusts; boa constrictor wrapped around an antelope; Litchman and three unidentified people; Sabena 4 airplane.

S20:1-20 Slides of headmen evangelists; groups of Africans in outdoor meeting, standing in front of a house, and standing on a road; African children gathered around a speaker; a pygmy who had been burned; an African artist; preparing food; forest houses; a medicine man; patient with a hernia; fishing in Lake Albert; Wamba market.

S21:1-20 Slides of the reroofing of Litchman's house; a ferry barge; village and camp; repairing motor bike; prison school; conference at Uma (?); African scenery; "Love at sight," missionary children embracing; ferry; Africans; a revival get together; canoes.

S22:1-20 Slides of the "Bible Book Room" building, BIOLA; Africans in various groups; huts; beer drinking; Leopoldville monument; Blukwa mission station; African landscape; baptism at Blukwa station; the "Queen Astrid" ship.

S23:1-20 Slides of African men; various African groups: children, boys with spears, families, soldiers, sitting in a circle, preparing food; sunset; Nioka market; Blukwa mission station; a train bridge. Many of these slides have two images per slide.

S24:1-20 Slides, most of them containing two images per slide, of a dead leopard, a dead cow (?); buildings; groups of Africans; an Africa Inland Mission map of central Africa; leopard skin; bones and a cemetery; dancers; scenery.

S25:1-20 Slides, some of them containing two images per slide, of using a public address system; an addition being built onto a hut; a large ship; buildings; a person being carried by others; groups of Africans; outdoor services; Litchman bent over a bush [his garden?]; Christmas at Linga; Christian clerks; buffalo.

S26:1-9 Slides of the market at Libi; Christmas, 1958; Christmas at Linga; groups of Africans.

Box Folder Item
1 1 Jul 11, 1917-Nov 23, 1918; Feb 18, 1919-Feb 22, 1920
1 2 Feb 23, 1920-Jul 30, 1921; Jul 31, 1921-Dec 31, 1923
1 3 Jan 1, 1924-Oct 20, 1925; Jan 1, 1932-Dec 31, 1932
1 5 Jan 1, 1945-Mar 31, 1946; Apr 1, 1946-Feb 4, 1948
1 6 Feb 13, 1948-Dec 31, 1948; Jan 1, 1950-Dec 31, 1950
2 1 Jan 1, 1951-Dec 31, 1952; Jan 1, 1953-Aug 14, 1956
2 2 Jan 1, 1959-Dec 31, 1959
2 3 Jan 1, 1960-Dec 31, 1961
2 4 Jan 1, 1966-Dec 30, 1966; Jan 1, 1967-Dec 31, 1967
2 5 Jan 1, 1970-Dec 31, 1970; Jan 1, 1971-Dec 30, 1971
2 6 Letters, notes, cards, and notes taken from Litchman's Bible; 1921-1972, n.d.
2 7 Script: "Unshackled," parts I, II, III; Pacific Garden Mission. Recorded Dec 19, 1964, and Jan 2, 1965

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Last Revised: 10/1/01
Expiration: indefinite