billy graham center archives
2008 annual report

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Paul and Bob visited Montreat, North Carolina, in June to prepare an extensive inventory of Billy Graham's papers at the BGEA's Montreat Office there.

In a year of the election of a new American president, the falling of the international economy, wars and storms, these world events can dominate our perspective. But the words of Scripture point to a greater reality. The prophet Isaiah called out, "I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." These words of hope and vocation to the nation of Israel were fulfilled by Jesus the Messiah, and following him his apostles, the saints throughout the centuries and the church today. The psalmist adds "Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all the peoples." And in Revelation 7:9, we see a great gathering beyond number "from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." Jesus commissioning of his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 sends them out into the world to "make disciples of all nations."

The Billy Graham Center, whose purpose is "to stimulate global evangelism," joins in this global spread of the Gospel to end with the ultimate gathering from all nations before the throne of Christ the Lamb. In this context, the BGC Archives collects and makes available for use materials that tell a small part of this ongoing story of Christian witness - people testifying to others throughout the world about the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Archives collections show that it is a message spoken and lived by humble and fallen believers, obedient, struggling and triumphant. We apply our archival skills with the historical fragments in our care in the belief that these documents can still be means of the ongoing spread of the Gospel, the making of disciples and the glory of God.

With this in mind, we offer this account of our work in 2008 in the following pages. The following are a few highlights, some accompanied by links to further information in other parts of the 2008 report on our Web site.

    Paul and Bob trip to Montreat (see photo and description above).

    The Archives hosted its first Annual Archives Lecture, featuring historian Joel Carpenter (see photo and description below).

    The ongoing stream of materials collected by the Archives continued in 2008, including BGEA crusade scrapbooks (1982-2003, completing the series that had previously spanned 1945-1982), Billy Graham home movies on DVD, and records of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). While the BGEA scrapbooks have already been processed into Collection 360 for use by researchers, it will be some time before the other materials will be available.

    The staff completed its formulation of a strategic acquisition plan to selectively add to the collection during the coming decade, and selected missions in Latin America as the focus area for collecting in 2009.

    As part of the College's renovation of the Graham Center fifth floor, the Archives storage cage was replaced with a more secure, hard-wall area shared with the Center Museum.

    Bob conducted oral history interviews with a Slavic Gospel Association administrator, a missionary working among the Caxa and Elani people in Siberia, and a Kenyan pastor with the Africa Inland Church.

    The Archives opened or added to 22 collections. Among these were the newly opened small collection of the papers of Carl F.H. Henry from when he was a professor at Wheaton College and later a leader in the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies (IFACS), and the papers of William Nowack, missionary to China and rural Tennessee (1903-1945). New materials were added to already-available collections, such as the extensive records of the regional offices of Mission Aviation Fellowship records, and BGEA scrapbooks (1982-2003) that were added to the already-extensive series (1945-1982) in the BGEA Clippings File. The staff indexed 12.25 hours of oral history interviews to comprise seven newly opened collections, including with Chilean student worker Nancy Duarte-Gomez about her ministry with university students and the poor, Nigerian Felix Erondu about the Biafran civil war and his evangelism in southern Nigeria, and Dan Crawford about his parents Percy and Ruth Crawford and their evangelistic ministry on radio, television and in camps. Staff also transcribed 16.3 hours of oral interviews with twelve individuals, adding these to the Archives' always-growing Web site resources.

    Staff provided services to 512 researchers as they came to the Reading Room to use the Archives collections, provided hands-on orientation with documents to twenty classes, provided information from the Archives collections in response to 928 reference requests (76% by e-mail and 34 requests from the BGEA), and provided information, highlighted documents and exhibits through our Web site to over 400,000 individuals in their 759,000 visits.

    The Archives received more than $17,900 ($9,300 in fees and $8,600 in gifts), with special thanks to ongoing donors, the Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation and Carlton & Miriam Ericksen. These funds help offset the costs of operating the Archives and providing services to patrons.

    Paul and Bob (along with Christian Sawyer, coordinator of the Center Museum) visited the BGEA headquarters and Billy Graham Library in late March, while Don Jaspar, Director of the Library, returned the visit a few days later in early April. David Eades, a member of the BGEA's TV & Events Department came to the Archives in search of archival footage and to discuss further the possible opening of access for the Archives to the BGEA's extensive film and video database.

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Joel Carpenter (standing third from left) was the featured speaker for the first Annual Archives Lecture in December. Carpenter had done extensive research at the Archives as the basis for one of his books. The series is intended to offer presentations for the College and local communities on researchers' topics of their study that used Archives sources. An exhibit of Archives documents, the audience that filled the Archival Seminar Room, as well as conversation among audience members afterward provided an enriched context for Carpenter's talk.
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