Billy Graham Center

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Every month, this Bulletin Board will highlight a new document or set of documents that are available in the Archives. These are intended solely for the edification of our viewers and cannot be copied or otherwise reused without permission.

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May 2012: Crusade in Wheaton!


Graham speaking to the crowds on Centennial Field (later renamed graham Field). The pictures looks north. The other side of Harrison Road can be seen at the top of the photo. This area is now the site of Fisher Dorm.

In 1959, "the smallest city ever to conduct a crusade" welcomed back one of its own. In other words, Billy Graham returned to Wheaton, Illinois - home of his alma mater, Wheaton College - to lead a week's worth of events. From September 27 through October 4, Graham and his associate evangelists Leighton Ford, Grady Wilson (both also Wheaton grads), and Joe Blinco led evangelistic meetings and church services, spoke at college chapels, and were part of a laymen's evangelistic training conference.

The evangelistic campaign was aimed not just at Wheaton but all the surrounding suburbs as well as Chicago. The week was also part of the ongoing celebration of the College's centennial. The new college gymnasium was dedicated at the first of the services and Graham participated in other events. Despite cold winds and bad weather, attendance at the crusade meetings was estimated at 101,500 and there were 2182 people who came forward to give their lives to Christ or reaffirm their faith.

This month's bulletin board offers some glimpses of this page from the history of the city and the college: audio recordings of the services, photos, newspaper coverage, and other documents, including a letter on the spiritual atmosphere of the college by the school's beloved chaplain,
Evan Welsh.

Click here to visit the Wheaton Crusade

Readers of this Bulletin Board this month who live in the Chicago area can also visit the Archives Reading Room (Room 309, the Billy Graham Center at 500 College Avenue in Wheaton, Illinois). There for the month of May 2012 they can look through a scrapbook of clippings, photos and documents from the 1959 meetings.



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Last Revised: 5/01/12
Expiration: indefinite

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