Last year evangelist Franklin Graham moved the papers of his father, Billy Graham, from the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. We commented here and here and here.
Despite the transfer of the Billy Graham papers, the Billy Graham Center Archives continue to be the country’s most important repository for the study of American evangelicalism. Here is a taste of archivist Katherine Graber‘s recent piece at Christianity Today:
What makes the BGC Archives unique is its focus on collecting records that have traditionally been overlooked by other research libraries.
While church denominations collect their own records, many nondenominational and parachurch organizations simply do not have the resources to preserve their history, let alone make it available to outside researchers.
Often, these records are lost or destroyed, and with them invaluable pieces of American evangelical history. The BGC Archives exists to preserve those materials that might otherwise fall through the documentary cracks. After more than40 years of collecting, the BGC Archives now holds records documenting a broad range of missions and evangelism efforts.
Organizations like the Lausanne Movement and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship are perennially popular. More recently, we have witnessed renewed interest in role of American evangelicals in 20th-century global missions.
Records from organizations like Africa Inland Mission, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, or Latin America Mission are frequently requested by both scholars and laypeople. While documenting evangelical missions and evangelism is the core of the BGC Archives’ collecting focus, we also hold records that chronicle American evangelicalism more broadly, such as the records of Moody Memorial Church, the Fellowship Foundation, and Evangelicals for Social Action, as well as papers from figures like missiologist Donald McGavran, theologian Harold Lindsell, and even hymn-writer Fanny Crosby.
In addition to making our current collections available to researchers, the BGC Archives is continually receiving new materials, usually faster than we can open them for research. Some new and noteworthy collections donated in 2019 include a treasure trove of Elisabeth Elliot materials, such as recordings from her Gateway to Joy radio program, lecture notes from her many speaking engagements, and years of correspondence between her and Jim Elliot written during their courtship.
We also gathered new materials from a longtime missionary to Kenya that document the growth of evangelical missions efforts in East Africa and supplement our extensive Africa Inland Mission records.
Read the entire piece here.