Franklin Graham Wants to Transfer the Billy Graham Papers from Wheaton to Charlotte

Billy Graham Library

Here is the official Wheaton College statement:

Wheaton College has received a request from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) to transfer Dr. Billy Graham’s papers and the BGEA’s organizational records from the Billy Graham Center Archives on the campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., in order to consolidate Dr. Graham’s historical records.

College leaders are in communication with the BGEA regarding its planned consolidation. Wheaton College affirms its longstanding respect for the BGEA and looks forward to continuing the positive relationship that the College and the BGEA have enjoyed for decades.

Wheaton College is grateful for the life and legacy of Dr. Graham, who graduated from Wheaton in 1943 and received an honorary doctorate in 1956. His relationship with the College spanned eight decades, including 27 years as a member of the Board of Trustees, after which he was a Trustee Emeritus for the rest of his life. His vision for global evangelism continues through events, initiatives and academic programs of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.

Forty years ago, Dr. Graham entrusted his papers and other materials to Wheaton College. Since then, Wheaton’s Billy Graham Center Archives has had the honor of curating and making available primary sources regarding Dr. Graham and the BGEA, as well as organizational records, personal papers, and oral histories from other sources documenting the history of evangelism and missionary activity of North American nondenominational Protestants. More than 19,000 scholars, journalist and other researchers have spent 67,000 hours in the Billy Graham Center Archives since it opened, producing dozens of books, articles and papers annually.

Wheaton College remains committed to the vision that Dr. Graham articulated at the dedication of the Center in 1980: “I hope and pray that the Billy Graham Center will be a world hub of inspiration, research, and training that will glorify Christ and serve every church and organization in preaching and teaching the Gospel to the world.”

The Billy Graham Center will continue to house the archives of numerous organizations and individuals central to American evangelism and missionary work worldwide, including InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Lausanne Movement, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, R. A. Torrey, Billy Sunday, and Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, in the building that bears Billy Graham’s name.

Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois) is a coeducational Christian liberal arts college noted for its rigorous academics, integration of faith and learning, and consistent ranking among the top liberal arts colleges in the country. For more information, visit wheaton.edu.

I don’t have horse in this race, but I do hope that scholars will have the same access to the Graham papers now that they are with Franklin.  Will the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte have a professional archivist to care for the papers? What kind of research facilities do they have? How will the papers be managed?

Right now, it appears that the “Billy Graham Library” in Charlotte is little more than a museum, Christian bookstore, snack shop, and prayer garden. The website says nothing about research.  Meanwhile, the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College has the most extensive archive collection in the country devoted to American evangelicalism.

9 thoughts on “Franklin Graham Wants to Transfer the Billy Graham Papers from Wheaton to Charlotte

  1. Unicorn,
    I am fairly confident that anything in the Graham Papers incompatible with Franklin’s worldview would have come to light by now. Your conspiratorial view this move is unfounded.

    James

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  2. Wheaton is a highly respected educational facility. I believe they have the resources to keep Rev. Billy’s papers in a much more “secure” manner than “The Barn” in Charlotte. I have no idea what the arrangement is between Franklin Graham and Wheaton, if any. However, I think the papers should stay put as they will have less likelihood of being “compromised” at Wheaton. Possibly working out a way to send parts of Rev. Billy’s archives “on loan” for a specified reason could be worked out. Personally, I think Franklin Graham has already had enough influence on his father’s good name…

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  3. I could see if they want something specific to put on display. Otherwise, I am not sure why they would want it.

    To keep it all out of the reach of the Unholy?
    (And in doing so, hide anything “embarrassing” that might conflict with Franklin’s Official Line?)

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  4. “little more than a museum, Christian bookstore, snack shop, and prayer garden.”

    Inside the Christianese Bubble, that IS a Prestigious Research Library/Archive.

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  5. I live in North Carolina and have been to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. It essentially is “little more than a museum, Christian bookstore, snack shop, and prayer garden.” That is accurate. There are a lot of historical items from his life and the life of his family on display. I could see if they want something specific to put on display. Otherwise, I am not sure why they would want it.

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