Billy Graham Center

Witness... newsletter, May 1999

Below, very slightly edited because of the different context, are the text and photographs from the most recent issue of Witness....

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Archival Midwifery

Wayne Weber of the Archives explaining to Irene the procedures for accessioning a new addition to the Archives.

The BGC Archives has been privileged in the first half of 1999 to assist in the birth of another archives half a world away. Since January Irene Wong, a librarian on the staff of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), has been receiving training from our staff in the principles and practice of archivescraft.

In 1996 HKBU established the Archives on the History of Christianity in China to collect, “...materials relevant to the study of Christianity in China, regardless of denomination, or nationality. These may be concerning Chinese Christians, or missionaries, and will include biographies, letters, diaries, Church histories, in English or Chinese. Both primary and secondary source materials, centering on (but not exclusively) pre-1950 will be collected.” No other archives in China was attempting this.

The next step was to develop a professional archival staff. After receiving funding from Henry Luce Foundation and the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, HKBU selected Ms. Wong from the library staff to head the University’s special collections and asked us to provide a five-month training practicum in archival fundamentals. Why come to Wheaton for that training? “Because we don’t have proper training opportunities for archivists in Hong Kong,” said Wong. “And because the Billy Graham Center Archives is an established religious archives with an interest in the documents of missions to China, it’s a natural place to look for training to develop our archives.”

Together with Ms. Shirley Leung, director of the HKBU library, we identified what elements would make up this training: arranging and describing materials, collection policy development, oral history, archival reference, outreach, disaster planning. Wong’s training has also been beneficial to the Archives. Two collections have been updated and two others have been processed from scratch. However, Irene has not been cloistered at the Archives. She has given presentations to Wheaton College’s library staff and a class in Chinese history, is taking a course in archives at Dominican University, visiting other archives to develop a broader picture of the implementation of archival principles, and has conducted oral history interviews to add to the HKBU archives.

Before coming, Wong’s top priority was to learn how to process collections and appraise materials . “Over the past two years, we haven’t had appraisal. We've taken whatever we were given. But appraisal is essential because it affects the quality of the collection. I don’t want the archives to be a dumping ground.” Wong added that she has also become aware of the importance of outreach. “Success of an archives depends on the quality of the collection AND the use of it. Even if we have a good collection, if nobody uses it, what’s the use of collecting? But use also helps us strengthen the collection. If I can publicize the collection, it provides a way for us to get new materials and improve its quality.”

When Irene returns to Hong Kong in June, she won’t just be developing the archives and processing collections. She also hopes to help Hong Kong churches in developing their own archives. Already plans have been made to conduct a workshop on archives for church librarians and she has been asked to assist in the Hong Kong Methodist church.

As with a newborn child, there are many hopes surrounding this venture. According to BGC Archives director Robert Shuster, “we see this as a chance to be of service to Christ’s church. We believe that the development of an archives in Hong Kong for the history of the church will be a continuing resource for the training, enlightenment, encouragement and warning of the Christian community of faith in China.”
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Research in the Archives: A Look at the People in Moody's Pews

A scene from the 1908 Moody Church Sunday School picnic

In the last months of 1998 and at the beginning of 1999, Barbara L Dobschuetz, a graduate student from the University of Chicago, spent a great deal of time working with Collection 330, the records of Moody Church of Chicago. The church, an independent congregation, grew out of the Sunday school started by Dwight L. Moody in 1857 and for most of this century has been one of the leading churches in the fundamentalist/evangelical movement. Dobschuetz’s dissertation is a social history analysis of the organization, membership, and influence of the Moody Church in its first sixty years. (It was formally organized in 1864.)

Here is a report from Ms. Dobschuetz on the types of questions she hopes to answer and the kinds of materials she has found: “The church started by D. L. Moody and others in 1864 has gotten rather a short shrift whenever researchers have looked at Moody himself, revivalism, and/or the rise of fundamentalism. Therefore, I thought it would be an important contribution to find out more of who the people were in the pews. I am also interested in who made up the local leadership of the church in light of the fact that Moody after 1873 did not live for any length of time in Chicago.”

“Two important things that I have begun to look at are the extensive membership documents contained in the collection. A surprise find was a ledger that recorded members from the beginning in 1864 until 1887. This valuable source includes names, marital status, how they came into the church either by letter or profession of faith, and a follow-up set of remarks that told when the person was dismissed, dropped, died, or excommunicated. Other membership documents include alphabetical files that contain membership applications that offer a variety of details including address, ethnic and racial information (so far I have found a number of black members of the church before WWI), occupation and a variety of information about their faith, conversion etc. I am hoping this information will be able to tell us something about the race, class, gender, and ethnic dynamics of the church over its first sixty years.”

“A second valuable source of information is the collection of church minutes that are a bit sporadic at first but later entries are quite full of details about issues of importance to the church. These minutes also give more insight into who was really doing the work of the church. Church discipline was taken very seriously by the church and is also reflected in great detail in the church minutes as well as the membership ledger.”

“I have simultaneously been looking at the Moody correspondence at the Moody Bible Institute and have found Moody regularly corresponding with various individuals from the church. His correspondence files work nicely in tandem with the minutes giving one a sense of the complex relationship between the membership of the church and their famous absentee founder....”

“I anticipate only treating the first sixty years of the church’s history because of the volume of material. Some of the questions I hope to address include the church’s relationship to revivalism and emerging fundamentalism in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. This includes looking at its participation in Moody’s Chicago revival in 1876 and the 1893 Colombian exhibition in Chicago. How did the church adjust to the death of Moody after 1899? Who were subsequent leaders and what direction did the church take after Moody’s death? Another area that has never been treated is the role of women in the Moody Church. More than half of the membership was made up of women and assessing their involvement both as participants and leaders will be a real challenge. The collection only lists two or three folders on women. Locating women leaders seems obscured at first glance but I am sure as I get further into the material these individuals will become apparent. Moody Bible Institute has a small collection of information on Emma Dryer, one of the most notable women leaders in the early years of the church and the institute.”

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"Singing Some of Those Dear Songs"

Music has always been an essential part of evangelism in America, so basic that at times it is almost unrecognized. Two recently processed collections place primary emphasis on the place of the human voice raised in song in evangelism and music:

Collection 194, the Papers of William Howard Doane, consists of odds and ends from the papers of Doane, a prominent American hymnwriter at the turn of the century. The collection has just been reprocessed to include additional items the Archives has received of Doane’s. Among these additions are such things as correspondence with hymn writers and publishers such as Ira Sankey, Fanny Crosby, Philip Bliss, and Dwight L. Moody’s daughter-in-law. One letter, dated November 28, 1900, came from James Little, a new convert, who wrote:

“I am just starting out to live and work for the Master, and oh how I love to sing such beautiful hymns as Hide Me, Safe in the Arms of Jesus, Precious Name, and Every Day Every Hour, and oh how much encouragement and help I get from them. When things go against us and it seems so dark, nothing can drive the clouds away like singing some of those dear songs.... I am just 18, and the temptations and trials are many, but oh how glad I am that when temptations “round me gather, I can breathe that Holy Name in Prayer.” Dear Mr. Doane, you will never know the good you have done until you get Home to Glory. May the Lord continue to bless you, and may he keep you safely with Him until the end.


Cliff Barrows has been one of the most significant leaders of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association since its formation and been especially associated with its music ministries. In hundreds of cities around the globe he has organized the choirs of volunteers which sing at Billy Graham’s evangelistic meetings. In 1992 he sat down for a brief interview (Collection 463 in the Archives) with music student Kerry Cox to record some reflections on his work:

“One of my great joys through the years has been working with volunteers.... Many don’t sing as well, some of them don’t read music. But when you get them in a section together, they can and they follow. I have always felt that one of the great parts of any meeting (and I think there are good Biblical foundations for this) is the worship and praise in music, which prepares the heart and offers a dimension of worship and praise to God which is beyond the spoken word. I think that it has been true historically in the life of the church.... The great hymn book of the Bible is the Psalms and they were sung antiphonally and otherwise. The music that God has put into the heart of man and the gift to bring it out and to express it is a gift from God to bring glory and praise to His name. It is one of the most effective ways of communicating spiritual and Scriptural truths, as well as lifting the heart in worship. I think it brings joy and gladness to the Father’s heart as He listens to the...the offering presented by the children that He’s created, through the melodies that He’s given them and they are giving back to Him. And so one of my great delights has been encouraging volunteers, because most of your church choirs, with very few exceptions, are volunteers. And the measure of devotion and dedication they bring to that responsibility... determines the effectiveness of their own abilities and the opportunities they have to lead that congregation in worship and praise. And I think that a crusade gives us an opportunity to extend that, to get them a little more excited, because there are so many and they’ll take back then to their own choir a new enthusiasm, a new commitment, a new determination, a new understanding what music can mean and in some cases a new repertoire.”

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Russian Visitor

On February 8th, Natalia Loginova, an archivist with the Russian Foreign office, who was visiting the Center to help the Institute for east/west Christian Studies with a project. While here, she was able to stop in at the BGC Archives to talk a little shop and get a tour of the facilities. Pictured here are Sharyl Corrado of IEWCS, Bob Shuster of the Archives, Loginova, and Mark Elliott, director of IEWCS
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Schools for Evangelism

From its very beginning, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has been a teaching organization as well as a preaching organization. From the very first meetings, a large part of every city campaign was training local church members in how to share their faith and how to counsel people who came forward at the meetings to give their lives to Christ. Starting in the early 1960s, encouraged and partly financed by businessman Lowell Berry, the staff of the Association had begun another type of educational activity, the Schools of Evangelism. The Archives staff has just finished the processing the files, audio tapes and videos of the SOEs in Collection 527 and these materials are now available for public use.

The first experimental school was held during the 1962 El Paso Crusade to provide seminary students with the training, experience and enthusiasm to involve their future congregations in different outreach efforts in their own communities. Besides attending lectures, students also served as counselors during the crusade and were otherwise closely involved in the work of the campaign. Over time, the plan of the schools changed, so that students were less tied to a particular crusade, but the emphasis continued to be on giving pastors and future pastors practical evangelistic training. (Interested laypeople could also attend.)

The collection contains over seven hundred tapes of various schools. This includes Billy Graham’s addresses to the schools, as well as the presentations by BGEA staff and outside evangelists, writers, and pastors such as Ralph Bell, Kenneth Chafin, Robert Coleman, Nicky Cruz, Lewis Drummond, Roy Fish, Leighton Ford, E. V. Hill, Oswald Hoffman, Howard Jones, James Kennedy, Billy Kim, Festo Kivengere, Harold J. Ockenga, Stephen Olford, Gottfried Osei-Mensah, Stephen Paine, Lorne Sanny, Timothy L. Smith, Wilbur M. Smith, Joni Eareckson Tada, C. Peter Wagner, John Wesley White, Grady Wilson, Ronald Youngblood and Thomas Zimmerman. Among the topics covered on the tapes are: the importance of prayer, music in evangelism, training the laity, the biblical basis of evangelism, history of evangelism, psychology of conversion, evangelism in the inner city, some of the characteristics of those who came forward at Billy Graham meetings, the social impact of evangelism, the Holy Spirit, church renewal, the Great Commission, the family, the minister’s devotional life, and criteria for church growth.

The collection also contains several boxes of paper records. These document the organization and goals of the various schools. They also contain hundreds of questionnaires filled out by the attendees in which they describe their understanding of what they have learned, critique the school they attended and describe some of their own understanding of the purpose and methods of witnessing to others that the Father sent His Son to be the savior of the world. These questionnaires provide insight into the beliefs and hopes of the clergy who attended the school.

This is a collection that documents a relatively quiet work of many years and which has played a great part in shaping the faith and character of a significant portion of contemporary American Evangelicalism.


Guides on the Web

Guides to all the collections mentioned in this newsletter can be found on the World Wide Web at the Archives' home page.

The address (or URL) for a list of collection guides in collection number order is:

The address for a list of collection guides in alphabetical order, according to the name of the creator of the documents, is:
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Editorial block

Witness... Volume 8, Number 2, May 1999

The Archives of the Billy Graham Center is a department of Wheaton College which collects and makes available documents on the part nondenominational Protestant efforts have played in the spread of the Christian Gospel.
Robert Shuster, Director
Paul A. Ericksen, Associate Director
Janyce Nasgowitz, Reference Archivist
Wayne D. Weber, Archival Coordinator

For further information or to subscribe to the newsletter free of charge, send your name and address to: Archives of the Billy Graham Center
Wheaton College
Wheaton, IL 60187
or call (630) 752-5910

Home Page: http:/

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Last Revised: 6/1/99
Expiration: indefinite

© Wheaton College 2005